Africanews RSShttp://www.africanews.com/feed/rssReceive free and in real-time all news published by africanews.com, by subscribing to our RSS feeds.Sat, 21 Apr 2018 18:36:42 +0000Sat, 21 Apr 2018 18:36:42 +0000Experts brainstorm on funding conflict resolution in Africahttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/21/experts-brainstorm-on-funding-conflict-resolution-in-africa/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/21/experts-brainstorm-on-funding-conflict-resolution-in-africa/Various security experts from around the world are meeting in the Ethiopian city of Bahir Dar, which has been the been the scene of deadly protests by Amhara people. Brought together by the the 7th edition of the Tana Forum, their objective is to discuss on the future of peace and security in Africa. Nigeria is one of those countries whose economy has been degraded by conflict – specifically Boko Haram insurgency and the communal conflicts in Kaduna. The question many have been asking is; if funding is such a big issue then how would more money help tackle insecurity not just in Nigeria but across Africa? It’s a matter that has been under debate for decades, the question of funding for the African Union – and now its large component of ensuring peace and security. As much as global bodies support efforts to end conflicts in Africa – additional financing is needed, especially with the new forms of violence . “Marginalized agriculturalist societies face the same poverty as pastoralist societies and the question we are asking is; what is our concept of progress for them?” former Ghanaian president, John Dramani Mahama asked during the forum. But the continent is now being haunted by herdsmen movements – new fringe pastoralism defining conflict, security and development in the horn of Africa and the Sahel. For them, it’s a fight for survival yet as the World Bank reports; only up to 20% of livestock keepers can be considered business-oriented depending on the country. “As politics gets intense in our countries people tend to create constituencies and that radicalizes them – the postures of defenders of this or that group of people and that causes a problem, “ governance expert, Barrister Akere Muna said. Beyond just financing and reforming the African Union, the 54 member states have been challenged to assess capacities of handling conflict.Sat, 21 Apr 2018 18:36:42 +0000During the two day Tana forum in Bahirdar stakeholders will discuss on the way forward for peace and security in Africa.Pope Francis tells young Cubans to 'fall in love with Jesus', help build church of tomorrowhttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/21/pope-francis-tells-young-cubans-to-fall-in-love-with-jesus-help-build-church-of/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/21/pope-francis-tells-young-cubans-to-fall-in-love-with-jesus-help-build-church-of/Pope Francis on Saturday invited young people of Cuba to have courage and to work together to build up the Cuban Church of tomorrow. In a video message, which the Vatican said had been recorded last month, the pontiff told them never to fear to hear God’s call and to work for the advancement of the Catholic Church in Cuba. “Dear young people, I encourage you to fall in love with Jesus and to have an ever more concrete commitment to the service of the Church in this concrete Cuba of today, without fear of hearing God’s call in everyday situations. Good patriots, love your land, love your country! Be generous and open your heart to the Lord! May the next World Youth Day in Panama and that of Cuba in Santiago be not the purpose of the effort you are making, but rather a step beyond that. May you discover that it is an opportunity to deepen one’s faith processes and to build the Cuban Church of today and tomorrow, the Cuban homeland of today and tomorrow; knowing that you are not alone and that we build only out of the concrete community to which we belong, where we commit or lives and carry out our vocation. I invite you to always move forward: look ahead, love your nation, love Jesus and may Our Lady watch over you. Courage!”, the Pope said. Speaking about upcoming World Youth Day gatherings that will take place in Cuba and Panama ,Francis adds that they represent an opportunity to build the Cuban Church of today and tomorrow. The leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics sent the video message after Cuba’s new president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, began his term on Thursday April, 19 as president of the Caribbean island. Diaz-Canel is the first non-Castro president in more than 40 years. ReuterSat, 21 Apr 2018 10:34:30 +0000Speaking about upcoming World Youth Day gatherings that will take place in Cuba and Panama ,Francis adds that they represent an opportunity to build the Cuban Church of today and tomorrowZimbabwe parliament sets May 9 to quiz Mugabe over $15bn missing diamondshttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/21/zimbabwe-parliament-sets-may-9-to-quiz-mugabe-over-15bn-missing-diamonds/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/21/zimbabwe-parliament-sets-may-9-to-quiz-mugabe-over-15bn-missing-diamonds/Zimbabwe’s parliament has ordered former leader Robert Mugabe to answer questions next month about whether the state was deprived of $15 billion in diamond revenue, a legislator said on Friday. It will be Mugabe’s first public appearance since last November when the army deposed him in a de facto coup after nearly four decades in power and he was replaced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa. The 94-year-old gave his first television interview last month since he lost power and said Mnangagwa had betrayed him and assumed the presidency illegally. Mugabe said in March 2016 the country was robbed of wealth by diamond companies including joint ventures between Chinese companies and the army, police and intelligence services whose operations were shielded from public scrutiny. Specifically, he said Zimbabwe lost $15 billion in revenue from Marange gem fields, more than 400 km (250 miles) east of the capital. He expelled those firms last year and replaced them with a state-owned diamond company. Themba Mliswa who heads parliament’s mining committee said the panel had interviewed former Marange mining executives as well as the police, army and intelligence services and now wanted to talk to Mugabe. “The committee resolved that the former president should appear on 9 May so that he can explain the disappearance of the $15 billion,” Mliswa said. “This is not political persecution. After gathering all evidence, it was the committee’s view that we call the former Head of State and government.” The state diamond company was set to auction 1.56 million carats of diamonds from Marange in March and April, the first time since March 2017 it has held such sales. In 2006, over 20,000 illegal diggers descended on the Marange fields, prompting the government to deploy the army to stop panning and smuggling. Rights groups say security forces committed atrocities during their crackdown. Diamond watchdog Partnership Africa Canada said in 2012 at least $2 billion of Marange diamonds were stolen by people linked to Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party. The government denied the charge. REUTERSFri, 20 Apr 2018 13:36:43 +0000The 94-year-old gave his first television interview last month since he lost power and said Mnangagwa had betrayed him and assumed the presidency illegally.U.K. strongly supports new Zimbabwe's Commonwealth re-entry planshttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/21/uk-strongly-supports-new-zimbabwe-s-commonwealth-re-entry-plans/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/21/uk-strongly-supports-new-zimbabwe-s-commonwealth-re-entry-plans/Britain said on Friday it 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. But it said Mnangagwa, who became president following a military take-over, would still have to deliver on free and fair elections in July to win over Zimbabwe’s critics at home and abroad. Zimbabwe left the Commonwealth network of 53 mostly former territories of the British Empire in 2003 after Mugabe, who had ruled Zimbabwe from its independence in 1980, came under criticism over disputed elections and land seizures from white farmers. “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. As Harare looks to rebuild its international ties, 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. Moyo – the general who went on state television in khaki fatigues last November to announce the military takeover – also met ministers from neighbouring African states and Australia at the breakfast. Mugabe cast himself as a liberation hero but opponents said he drove Zimbabwe’s economy into the ground and made the country an international pariah. He was forced to step down in November during a coup and was replaced by Mnangagwa. Johnson praised Mnangagwa’s record in office in the past 150 days but said a bellwether for the direction of a new Zimbabwe would be the election in July. “The Zimbabwe government must deliver the free and fair elections the people of Zimbabwe deserve and which it has promised,” he said. The election will pit Mnangagwa against a clutch of opponents including 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa from the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change. David Coltart, a former education minister and member of parliament from the Movement for Democratic Change, said he was shocked by the speed with which Mnangagwa has been welcomed back to the fold after an unconstitutional seizure of power. “I am utterly appalled by the @Commonwealth18 and the British Government feting the #Zimbabwe regime,” Coltart said on Twitter. The West imposed sanctions on Mugabe and members of his inner circle, accusing them of rigging a series of votes – charges they denied. Now Zimbabwe has said it will invite Western powers to monitor its national elections for the first time in more than 15 years. “President Mnangagwa has been in power for 150 days and while Zimbabwe has made impressive progress, there is still much to do,” Johnson said. “That’s why Britain, the Commonwealth and the wider international community will do everything it can in supporting Zimbabwe on its path of reform.” “The UK stands ready in friendship to support a Zimbabwe that fully embraces the rule of law, human rights and economic reform,” he said. REUTERSFri, 20 Apr 2018 13:29:07 +0000Zimbabwe left the Commonwealth network of 53 mostly former territories of the British Empire in 2003 after Mugabe, who had ruled Zimbabwe from its independence in 1980, came under criticism over dispuEx-Liberian warlord 'Jungle Jabbah' gets 30 years in U.S. prisonhttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/21/ex-liberian-warlord-jungle-jabbah-gets-30-years-in-us-prison/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/21/ex-liberian-warlord-jungle-jabbah-gets-30-years-in-us-prison/A former Liberian warlord known as “Jungle Jabbah” was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Thursday for gaining U.S. asylum by lying about his role in the civil war in his homeland and atrocities he committed, U.S. prosecutors said on Thursday. Mohammed Jabbateh, 51, who has lived in East Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, since the late 1990s, was found guilty in October on two counts of fraud in immigration documents and two counts of perjury. During the height of Liberia’s first civil war from 1992 to 1995, Jabbateh, while serving as commander of a warring group, either personally committed or ordered acts such as rapes, ritual cannibalism, mutilation, murder and the use of child soldiers, according to prosecutors. An attorney for Jabbateh, Greg Pagano of Philadelphia, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. While applying for asylum in December 1998, and then for permanent legal residency later on, Jabbateh was not truthful about his membership in the group known as the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO), and later ULIMO-K, rebel groups that battled for control of Liberia, prosecutors said. Two dozen witnesses, including 17 Liberian victims, testified in the trial. According to testimony, in one instance Jabbateh ordered that the heart of a captive be cooked and fed to his fighters. In another, fighters under his command murdered a villager, removed his heart and ordered the town chief’s wife to cook it. Jabbateh later had the town chief himself murdered and ordered his widow to cook her husband’s heart. During Jabbateh’s trial Pagano said Jabbateh had been framed by accusers who were desperate to blame anyone they could for atrocities committed during the civil war. “These are tall tales of enemies settling old scores, not because they had personal experiences with him but because of what group he’s identified with,” Pagano said at the trial, according to a posting on his website. “There is no greater motive than revenge.” The case was investigated by special agents of Homeland Security Investigations, an arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. REUTERSFri, 20 Apr 2018 18:40:04 +0000A former Liberian warlord known as “Jungle Jabbah” was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Thursday for gaining U.S. asylum by lying about his role in the civil war in his homeland and atrocities hBotswana's new president urges Congo's Kabila not to stand againhttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/21/botswana-s-new-president-urges-congo-s-kabila-not-to-stand-again/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/21/botswana-s-new-president-urges-congo-s-kabila-not-to-stand-again/Botswana’s new leader has urged President Joseph Kabila not to stand for re-election in Congo’s long delayed presidential poll, saying he had already been in power longer than expected. Botswana, one of Africa’s most stable democracies, is so far the only country in Africa to have directly criticised Kabila. Earlier this year, the government issued a statement openly blaming the president for Democratic Republic of Congo’s deteriorating humanitarian and security situation. “The president of the DRC has stayed in power longer than the time that was expected,” President Mokgweetsi Masisi, who took office this month, said during a interview with London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies streamed on its website on Thursday. “Hopefully we can get from (Kabila) a real commitment to not attempt to come back to power by whatever means.” Kabila’s opponents suspect him of seeking a referendum to change Congo’s constitution to enable him to run for more than two terms, as the leaders of neighboring Uganda, Rwanda and Congo Republic have. He has neither confirmed nor denied this, but his refusal to step down at the end of his mandate in December 2016 triggered widespread street protests. It also emboldened several armed groups, raising fears the country is sliding back into turmoil. The election, now scheduled for Dec. 23, has been repeatedly delayed. DR Congo emerged from a five-year war in 2003 during which millions were killed, mostly from hunger and disease, and militias and foreign armies exploited the country’s fabulous mineral wealth. “The DRC is potentially the richest country in Africa and arguable one of the richest in the world,” said Masisi. “The world has failed the DRC.” Other African countries have been more cautious, encouraging progress towards elections but avoiding direct criticism of Kabila. REUTERSFri, 20 Apr 2018 19:44:09 +0000Botswana’s new leader has urged President Joseph Kabila not to stand for re-election in Congo’s long delayed presidential poll, saying he had already been in power longer than expected.South Sudan army chief James Ajongo dies in Cairohttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/21/south-sudan-army-chief-james-ajongo-dies-in-cairo/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/21/south-sudan-army-chief-james-ajongo-dies-in-cairo/South Sudan’s army chief died on Friday, the government said, in a development that further complicates the running of President Salva Kiir’s administration amid a four-year-old civil war. General James Ajongo died in Cairo after a short illness at the age of 64. He had joined the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in 1983, when it was still a rebel group fighting for independence from Sudan. “It is with a heavy heart that I announce the untimely death of Gen. James Ajongo Mawut, SPLA army’s chief of defence force,” government spokesman Michael Makuei Lueth said. He was appointed to the position after his predecessor Paul Malong was sacked early last year amid resignations by some generals who alleged abuses by the military and tribal bias in the army ranks. Malong has since formed his own organisation to challenge President Salva Kiir, accusing him of looting the country’s resources and turning it into a failed state. South Sudan researcher Alan Boswell said Ajongo’s death was ill-timed for Kiir. “Kiir now has to manage the competing interests within a sidelined military even as he faces ramping external pressure from the Trump administration and increasingly fractious coalition politics in his own government,” he said. “Meanwhile, Ajongo’s predecessor is trying to start a new rebellion and still has many friends inside the military.” In March, Kiir fired his finance minister Stephen Dhieu Dau. South Sudan, which obtained independence from Sudan in 2011 and is the world’s youngest nation, has been mired in civil war since 2013 when Kiir fired his deputy Riek Machar. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in a conflict that has often been fought along ethnic lines, and much of the nation has suffered dire food shortages. The fighting has slashed oil production and driven about a third of the population of 12 million from their homes. The U.N. refugee agency estimates 3.1 million will be refugees in neighbouring countries by the end of this year. On Wednesday, the East African bloc of nations IGAD said it had postponed this month’s talks on implementing the latest proposed peace deal. The bloc said last month Machar should be released from house arrest in South Africa as soon as possible, on condition that he renounces violence. REUTERSFri, 20 Apr 2018 13:20:10 +0000General James Ajongo died in Cairo after a short illness at the age of 64. He had joined the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in 1983, when it was still a rebel group fighting for independenceDP World should rethink port deals in Somalia - foreign ministerhttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/21/dp-world-should-rethink-port-deals-in-somalia-foreign-minister/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/21/dp-world-should-rethink-port-deals-in-somalia-foreign-minister/Somalia’s foreign minister said on Friday that Dubai state-owned port operator DP World should reconsider its contract with the breakaway region of Somaliland and work with federal authorities so Somalia’s sovereignty is not violated. “We are asking DP World to reconsider these agreements, particularly the one in Berbera port since Somaliland is claiming to be a state independent from Somalia,” Ahmed Isse Awad, Somalia’s foreign minister, told Reuters in an interview. He said DP World’s agreement to develop an economic zone and port in Somaliland’s Berbera “bypassed the legitimate authority” of Somalia, triggering “misunderstanding and disagreement” that remained unresolved. Somaliland’s Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) said the deal was not up for discussion. “The government of Somalila has nothing to do with this agreement,” Ambassador Bashe Awil Omar told Reuters by phone. Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 and has acted as a de-facto state since then but is not internationally recognised. The UAE’s Dubai government owns DP World. A DP World spokesman told Reuters that construction in Somaliland and Puntland, another semi-autonomous region of Somalia where a Dubai state-owned company has a separate deal to manage a port, was on schedule and that work would start soon. “Both Puntland and Somaliland have urged DP World to expedite construction,” the spokesman said. Puntland officials could not be immediately reached for comment. Diplomatic tension The comments come amid a diplomatic row between the volatile Horn of Africa nation and the UAE. Somalia and the UAE have separately said a UAE military training programme in Somalia has ended following the seizure of millions of dollars from a UAE plane at Mogadishu airport earlier this month. The spat is related to the port issue but has escalated amid an increasingly troubled relationship between Gulf states, divided by their own disputes, and fractured Somalia, whose coastline sits close to key shipping routes and across the water from Yemen. The UAE and Saudi Arabia have strong trading links with and influence in Somalia, but that is offset by the sway of Qatar and its ally Turkey, one of Somalia’s biggest foreign investors. Analysts have said the dispute in the Gulf that erupted last year between Qatar and Turkey on the one hand and Saudi Arabia and the UAE on the other, risks exacerbating an already explosive security situation on both sides of the Gulf of Aden. Against this backdrop, Somalia’s parliament unanimously passed a resolution last month saying DP World’s contract with Somaliland was null and void because it was agreed with authorities in the breakaway region, not with the federal government. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has said the vote will have no impact on the DP World deal which includes the government of Ethiopia. Its small port of Berbera exports camels to the Middle East and imports food and other items. But DP World’s deal to expand the port is one of many investments the UAE government has made in Somaliland, from agreeing to train police and military to establishing a military base. Awad said the federal government wanted DP World to engage with Mogadishu, instead of Somaliland authorities. “After that, Somalia welcomes any investment in any part of Somalia including Berbera,” he said. He added this policy applied to any deals by foreign countries or government’s with Somalia’s federal member states, which include Puntland. The minister denied claims by UAE authorities that they had signed the Berbera port deal with a previous Somali government, saying no evidence had been produced. He said he thought relations with the Gulf state would normalize, without giving details, and said Mogadishu wanted to enter “serious, open and friendly” discussion to resolve misunderstandings. REUTERSFri, 20 Apr 2018 19:39:39 +0000Somalia’s foreign minister said on Friday that Dubai state-owned port operator DP World should reconsider its contract with the breakaway region of Somaliland and work with federal authorities so SoWhat do Swazis think of their name eSwatini?http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/21/what-do-swazis-think-of-their-name-eswatini/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/21/what-do-swazis-think-of-their-name-eswatini/Residents of the tiny African kingdom of eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) on Friday weighed up their country’s new official name after the king unexpectedly announced it would now be known as “eSwatini”. King Mswati III, one of the world’s few absolute monarchs, declared the name change at celebrations on Thursday marking 50 years since independence from British colonial rule. Meaning “place of the Swazi”, eSwatini is the local Swazi language name for the nation landlocked between South Africa and Mozambique. Critics of the king, who took the throne in 1986 aged 18, said the move was an example of his authoritarian and wasteful reign in a country that suffers dire poverty. “We see here King Mswati’s autocratic style,” said Alvit Dlamini, head of the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress, a political party which, like others, is not allowed to run in elections. “He can’t change the name of the country on his own. He was supposed to consult the nation.” Dlamini said that the change would be expensive for Swaziland, where 63 percent of the 1.3 million population live below the national poverty line, according the World Food Programme. “This will come with major cost implications, we are a broke country,” he said. “And it will affect us with organisations like the African Union and United Nations, and in international protocols and agreements.” I’m all for “eSwatini,” mind you, but I’m curious about how NatGeo is going to play this out, cartographically speaking. No other country has a leading lower case letter, so will the new maps be “ESWATINI” or “eSWATINI”?#Swaziland #eSwatini pic.twitter.com/VWMULDwpl2— Andrew Lloyd (andrewtlloyd) 20 avril 2018 The Trade Union Congress of Swaziland warned that the process was not immediate, adding it would not immediately change its own name. “When the king has made a pronouncement, due process must take its course,” acting general secretary Mduduzi Gina told AFP. No name change overnight “The legislature must initiate a process to amend the constitution. The change cannot be a knee-jerk reaction. “We will not become the Trade Union Congress of eSwatini overnight. We will consult with our affiliates.” For many Swazis, the change also raised concerns about updating paperwork and additional bureaucracy. “Some of us don’t suffer from an inferiority complex,” said Mbabane resident Hynd Shongwe, in a dig at the king. “The name change is neither here nor there. My only worry is the cost and inconvenience of official documents changing. If it was by choice, we would remain with the current documents.” Unlike some countries, Swaziland did not change its name when it gained independence in 1968 after being a British protectorate for more than 60 years. The new name had been mooted for several years, with lawmakers considering the issue in 2015, and the king has used eSwatini in previous official speeches. AFPFri, 20 Apr 2018 19:06:25 +0000Residents of the tiny African kingdom of eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) on Friday weighed up their country's new official name after the king unexpectedly announced it would now be known as "eSwatini".Illegal gold miners to Grace Mugabe: 'You no longer have the power to evict us'http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/21/illegal-gold-miners-to-grace-mugabe-you-no-longer-have-the-power-to-evict-us/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/21/illegal-gold-miners-to-grace-mugabe-you-no-longer-have-the-power-to-evict-us/A farm owned by Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace is at the centre of a legal dispute after hundreds of illegal gold miners invaded parts of the property and started mining gold. A Reuters photographer saw hundreds of illegal miners digging for gold at the Smithfield citrus farm using picks and shovels, the tools of choice for most illegal miners in Zimbabwe. Once guarded by armed police, the farm is now dotted with illegal diggers whose quest for gold has left open shafts and tunnels and uprooted some fruit trees at Smithfield, 40 km (25 miles) north of the capital Harare. Mugabe was forced to resign in November following a de facto military coup, but during his 37-year rule he and Grace and their allies forcibly grabbed several farms from white farmers under the government’s controversial land reform programme. In a sign of how the once powerful 94-year-old Mugabe and his wife have fallen, the illegal miners at Smithfield last month told Grace that she no longer had any power to evict them, the privately owned NewsDay newspaper reported. “We are not going anywhere. We are artisanal miners and we will be contributing to the survival of the economy since we will be selling our gold to (state-owned) Fidelity (Refinery and Printers),” one of the diggers told Reuters at the farm two weeks ago. “This is open pit mining and we are not damaging the environment at all,” he said, declining to be named. Grace Mugabe is on her own Fidelity Printers and Refiners is the sole buyer of all gold produced in Zimbabwe, irrespective of its origin. “We would not want to get involved in the disputes, that area is covered by the Ministry of Mines which issues mining licences,” Fidelity head of gold operations Mehluleli Dube said. “Ours is to buy gold and we have agents in that area who buy gold on our behalf. Our approach is to have agents in some areas because we cant be everywhere were gold is produced.” The Ministry of Mines has said it cannot interfere with an issue that is before the court. Neither Grace Mugabe nor her lawyer could be reached for comment. She filed a theft report last month with the police against the illegal miners but this has not stopped the miners. Two gold miners who say they own gold claims at the farm, have filed court applications against Grace Mugabe to stop her from interfering with mining operations at the farm. In December, the High Court granted the two miners the right to mine at the farm and barred Grace Mugabe from interfering. She appealed the ruling and the matter will be heard in court. On Tuesday the two men went back to court alleging that Grace Mugabe’s employees were interfering with their operations. A date has not been set for a hearing. REUTERSFri, 20 Apr 2018 17:54:06 +0000A farm owned by Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace is at the centre of a legal dispute after hundreds of illegal gold miners invaded parts of the property and started mining gold.Centre Stage: Music in the Middle East, Past & Presenthttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/inspire-middle-east-centre-stage-music-in-the-middle-east-past-and-present/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/inspire-middle-east-centre-stage-music-in-the-middle-east-past-and-present/This week we tread the boards at Dubai Opera and go behind the scenes with the European Union Youth Orchestra as they tune-up for their debut performance in the emirate. We also visit a refugee camp in Jordan where traditional music is helping Syrians reconnect with their heritage. In the wake of the 75th anniversary of composer Sergei Rachmaninov’s passing, the European Union Youth Orchestra played to packed venues in the UAE, with special performances in Abu Dhabi and at the Dubai Opera. Since it first began bridging the gap between music colleges and the professional world of the arts in 1976, the EUYO has been touring cities from New York to Shanghai. The orchestra’s members are aged just 16 to 26 and they are made up of players from 28 different EU states. This morning we moved into DubaiOpera auditorium! #EUYO #dubaiopera #residency #springtour #auditorium #timelapse pic.twitter.com/W1cScM2ZT6— EUYO (EUYOtweets) April 11, 2018 Inspire Middle East managed to sneak into their rehearsals and speak to Russian-born, award-winning conductor, Vasily Petrenko. Petrenko believes that the EUYO is a shining example of how bringing together different nations and cultures can be a fulfilling experience for both musicians and the general public. Furthermore, the maestro’s first trip to the UAE seemed to strike a positive personal note, with Petrenko acknowledging the country’s commitment to artistic diversity. “It’s very important that the growth of a country is based not only on economic growth but also on the cultural growth,” he said. “And the more international, more open to the world the country is, better are the benefits.” A fantastic performance by our young players at DubaiOpera, finished off with Flight Of The Bumblebee! ?#encore #concert #dubaiopera #EUYO #springtour pic.twitter.com/hU6GMfRU4x— EUYO (EUYOtweets) April 12, 2018 In a similar vein, Jasper Hope, the CEO of Dubai Opera, outlined that upcoming acts at the venue he curates would not only include international bands and dance troupes but also talented locals. “We’re still pretty new in terms of our Arabic programming strand, but for the next show – in a couple of weeks’ time – we have a group of five Arabic indie bands,” Hope explained. “The aim is to be able to inspire local talent, irrespective of what kind of music we have on our stage,” he said. “I really hope that the next generation of Emirati stars will start to think ‘this is somewhere I have to aspire to get to’.” One of the potential challenges faced by aspiring opera singers and composers in the region is the current lack of specialist training available. Hope explained that studying overseas in world-renowned conservatoires, before joining international companies, was the choice for many burgeoning classical music artistes. That’s not to say the chief executive wasn’t optimistic that changes were afoot: “I have no doubt, at all, that one day we’ll have our own company right here in Dubai – being able to put on our own productions, rather than importing them from elsewhere.” High Notes: A Brief History of MENA Opera The first dedicated opera space to be built in the Middle East and North Africa was Egypt’s Khedivial Opera House in 1869. It was erected to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal yet tragically, just over a century later, the opera house burnt to the ground. It was not until 1988 that the Cairo Opera House was opened in the Egyptian capital, further enriching the country’s classical music scene. In the Syrian capital Damascus, a five-level opera house and performing arts space was officially inaugurated in 2004, whilst in Oman the imposing Royal Opera House has been drawing crowds since 2011. Algeria was next to add to the list of opera houses in the region, rolling out the red carpet of the Algiers Opera House in 2016. That same year, Kuwait cut the ribbon of the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre, also known as the Kuwait Opera House. The region’s most recent opening was Dubai Opera, which was inaugurated two years ago with a performance by Spanish Tenor Placido Domingo. The venue’s architecture and design has been much lauded, not least for the concealed hydraulics system of the main stage, which allows it to create layouts suitable for plays, pop concerts and Broadway musicals. In the pipeline, is Saudi Arabia, with plans to construct its first opera house – situated in Jeddah – as part of the Kingdom’s $64bn entertainment sector budget for the coming decade. Soul Music: Traditional Taarab Music Performed for Syrian Refugees Soulful, traditional and alluring are words often used to describe the operatic Arab art form of ’taarab’. According to taarab performer Mustafa al Sagheer, the specific words, melodies, instruments and dress of the performances are meant to enthrall the listener and transport them from their current reality. Taarab ballads – each lasting up to ten minutes – are romantic and nostalgic poems adapted to music. When they play, performers always don traditional garb from the Ottoman period – including a shawl tied around the waist and a tarboosh hat. The Salateen Al Taarab (Sultans of Taarab) were formed in Syria in 1992. Since then they have performed all over the world from Germany to Canada – endeavouring to share their heritage through music. But geopolitical tensions in their homeland caused the group to disperse – and in 2012 the one remaining member, Al Sagheer, formed a new band with his fellow countrymen and Jordanians. Salateen Al Taarab were invited to the Azraq refugee camp in Jordan by the World Food Programme (WFP) to perform for those living there. “We came to contribute to the happiness of the people here and to make them feel that life is present and that from suffering we bring happiness,” said Al Sagheer. Nineteen-year-old Jameel, who lives at the camp, explained what it was like to witness Taarab music for the first time: “Today when I attended the guys’ performance, I felt something strange – truly, through the music, the sound, the tunes. Something very strange happened inside me. This music brings us back to the old days, to our childhood. Yes, I’m not old, but it brings me back to the old memories.” Social Eyes: Inspired Talent Trending Online Hilal Al Balushi and Mohammed Al Jenhani of the group ‘Amouage Ensemble’ took this snap pre-performance at Muscat’s Royal Opera House. ثنائي فرقة أمواج في حفل في الأوبرا جاليريا amouage_ensemble . amouage_ensemble dou at the Opera Galleria . #فرقة_أمواج#حفل#فعالية#الأوبرا_جاليريا#عمان#مسقط . #explore#explorer#amouage_ensemble#event#opera_galleria#oman_muscat Uma publicação compartilhada por Amouage Ensemble (amouage_ensemble) em 4 de Abr, 2018 às 11:21 PDT Algerian student Djellouli Hichem posted this photo from a night out with his colleagues at the opera house in Algiers. Après l’effort le réconfort, ? Uma publicação compartilhada por Hichoo Dj (@hichoo.dj) em 29 de Out, 2017 às 1:33 PDT And Zak Musawi took this image with his fellow bandmates, ahead of their show at Kuwait Sheikh Jaber Cultural Centre. ????? #BeautyAndTheBeasts What a Rush!!! Performing my 1st show at jacc_kw for the AMAZING production of #RiseUp : And Make A Difference ✊? by the kuwait_school_of_dance . ‘Thank you’ is not enough to express my love to all who came out & supported this show ❤ This show speaks for itself: Time for us to RISE UP & Stop this Madness of Wars! ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ Proud to share that moment with the talented officialshahadalamere ? such a beautiful person, inside & out ? ▪ My Boiz – the band bluesman81 headcrasher91 jacobcm Can’t wait to do this again with you guys ? ▪ #NoMoreWar #GivePeaceAChance #Ballet #OperaHouse #Refugees #ZakUnplugged #music #guitar #Live #Rise #Kuwait ?????#جميلة_والوحوش يا له من شعور!!! أن اعزف اول حفل لي في #مركز_الشيخ_جابر_الأحمد_الثقافي للإنتاج العظيم #انهض : واترك بصمة ✊? مع مدرسة الكويت للرقص المعاصر? كلمة ‘شكرا ‘ لا تكفي عن مدى امتناني لكل من أتى ودعم هذا الإنتاج ❤ قصة هذه المسرحية لا تحتاج لشرح: حان وقت النهوض وإيقاف #جنون_الحروب ! ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ جدا فخور أن أشارك هذه اللحظة مع المبدعة #شهد_العميري ? جميلة قلبا وقالبا – وان شاءالله نشوفك من أكبر الفنانين يارب ? ▪ حبايبي – الشباب – الوحووووش – الفرقة علي سليق، عمر سالم، و جيكوب مومجيان...على راسي والله، و ناطركم في حفلات يايه ? ▪ #لا_للارهاب #لا_للحروب #السلام #باليه #موسيقى #جيتار #مسرحية #لاجئين #حرب #اطفال #الكويت #كويت Uma publicação compartilhada por Zak Musawi زاك الموسوي (@zakmusawi) em 14 de Abr, 2018 às 9:55 PDTFri, 20 Apr 2018 14:14:58 +0000This week we tread the boards at Dubai Opera and go behind the scenes with the European Union Youth Orchestra as they tune-up for their debut performance in the emirate. We also visit a refugee camp in Jordan where traditional music is helping Syrians reconnect with their heritage.South Africa's Ramaphosa visits violence hit province after return from U.K.http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/south-africa-s-ramaphosa-visits-violence-hit-province-after-return-from-uk/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/south-africa-s-ramaphosa-visits-violence-hit-province-after-return-from-uk/South Africa’s new president Cyril Ramaphosa visited North West province on Friday to try to quell protests over poor local services that have turned violent, after cutting short a trip to the Commonwealth summit being held in London. Police Minister Bheki Cele said Ramaphosa would meet local officials from his ruling African National Congress (ANC) party at around 1000 GMT in a bid to defuse tensions. “I am here to listen more than talk,” Cele told local television. “The president, together with the deputy president, will be having a meeting in the area to see what decisions need to be taken to make the situation better.” Ramaphosa, who replaced Jacob Zuma as head of state in February, has staked his reputation on rooting out the corruption and mismanagement associated with Zuma’s nine scandal-plagued years in power. Unrest erupted on Wednesday in and around the city of Mahikeng in the province, located around 300 km (200 miles) west of South Africa’s commercial hub Johannesburg. South African media reported that cars were set alight, shops looted and roads blockaded by protesters calling for North West Premier Supra Mahumapeloa, a member of the ANC, to quit. Police fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowds and made more than 20 arrests. One man died in a car chase between police and protesters, the Times Live news website cited a local police spokeswoman as saying. “Service delivery protesters” seeking jobs, better housing, roads and hospitals frequently clash with police in South Africa, where weak economic growth has left more than one in four workers unemployed. Ramaphosa cut short his visit to Britain on Thursday because of the demonstrations. Calling for calm, he ordered police to exercise maximum restraint and urged those with grievances not to resort to violence. Foreign Minister Lindiwe Sisulu told state broadcaster SABC on Friday from London that neighbouring Botswana’s decision to close some border points into North West province was a factor behind Ramaphosa’s decision to leave the summit early. Both countries are members of the Commonwealth, a network of 53 mostly former territories of the British Empire. The president, a trade union leader turned businessman, has a reputation as a painstaking negotiator after playing a key role in talks to end white minority rule more than 20 years ago. REUTERSFri, 20 Apr 2018 10:57:23 +0000Ramaphosa, who replaced Jacob Zuma as head of state in February, has staked his reputation on rooting out the corruption and mismanagement associated with Zuma’s nine scandal-plagued years in power.Ethiopia PM continues national tour with visit to Gondar, Amhara regionAbdur Rahman Alfa Shabanhttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/ethiopia-pm-continues-national-tour-with-visit-to-gondar-amhara-region/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/ethiopia-pm-continues-national-tour-with-visit-to-gondar-amhara-region/Ethiopia Premier Abiy Ahmed on Friday morning arrived in the city of Gondar in the northern Amhara region. The trip forms part of his nationwide tour that started two weeks ago. The state-affiliated FANA Broadcasting corporate (FBC) reported that Abiy was received by head of the region, Gedu Andargachew and other top officials of the state. As part of his itinerary, he is expected to address residents at the Gondar stadium. “Today’s meeting is parts of his plan to send messages of unity to the public across the country,” the FBC report added. #Ethiopia – PM #AbiyAhmed received a warm welcome this morning upon arriving at the historic city of #Gonder in #Amhara regional state, where he is expected to address a public gathering. The premier will also attend this year’s #TanaForum in #BahirDar, the capital. pic.twitter.com/W7m9NkGvla— Addis Standard (@addisstandard) April 20, 2018 He will also deliver an address during the TANA Forum gathering to be held in Amhara capital, Bahir Dar on Saturday. Abiy since taking over from PM Hailemariam Desalegn on April 2 has embarked on a national tour that has seen him visit Jijiga (Ethio-Somali region), Ambo (Oromia region) and Mekelle (Tigray region). He has shared the message of peace during all his rounds across the country. Abiy is tasked with undertaking political reforms that were announced in early January by the ruling Ethiopia Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).Fri, 20 Apr 2018 09:26:57 +0000Abiy since taking over from PM Hailemariam Desalegn on April 2 has embarked on a national tour that has seen him visit Jijiga (Ethio-Somali region), Ambo (Oromia region) and Mekelle (Tigray region).'I feel it is the right time for me to step down' - Wenger to quit Arsenalhttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/i-feel-it-is-the-right-time-for-me-to-step-down-wenger-to-quit-arsenal/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/i-feel-it-is-the-right-time-for-me-to-step-down-wenger-to-quit-arsenal/Our journalists are working on this story and will update it as soon as more information becomes available.Fri, 20 Apr 2018 09:20:23 +0000English Premier League side Arsenal have confirmed in a statement that long-serving manager, Arsene Wenger, will leave the club at the end of theCameroon needs urgent dialogue, human rights to solve Anglophone crisis – U.K.Abdur Rahman Alfa Shabanhttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/cameroon-needs-urgent-dialogue-human-rights-to-solve-anglophone-crisis-uk/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/cameroon-needs-urgent-dialogue-human-rights-to-solve-anglophone-crisis-uk/The British Foreign Affairs Chief, Boris Johnson, has reiterated the United Kingdom’s call for dialogue in solving the political and security crisis in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions. Johnson’s views were made when he met Prime Minister Philemon Yang on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London. After holding what he described as important talks with the Premier who represented President Paul Biya, Johnson added: “Urgent need to pursue dialogue, decentralisation and respect human rights in Anglophone Regions as President Paul Biya has previously committed. “ He stressed that the UK will support peace, prosperity and security for its friends in Cameroon. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has a security alert in place for the Anglophone regions – NorthWest and SouthWest – cautioning citizens against travel to those areas. The security situation in the region has been chaotic for the better part of this year in an armed confrontation that started in October 2017. Separatists under the banner of the so-called Ambazonia republic attempted to secede from Cameroon and were met with heavy security crackdown. President Biya is on record to have said that dialogue was the only way out but very little has been done in that respect. The last time dialogue came up, it was by Interior Minister Paul Atanga Nji, who stressed that the government was only going to speak with persons seeking a united country. Important talks with Cameroon PM Yang at #OurCommonwealth summit. Urgent need to pursue dialogue, decentralisation and respect #humanrights in Anglophone Regions as PR_Paul_BIYA</a> has previously committed. UK will support peace, prosperity and security for our friends in Cameroon <a href="https://t.co/YgkMDVRzoU">pic.twitter.com/YgkMDVRzoU</a></p>&mdash; Boris Johnson (BorisJohnson) April 19, 2018Fri, 20 Apr 2018 08:54:15 +0000The last time dialogue came up, it was by Interior Minister Paul Atanga Nji, who stressed that the government was only going to speak with persons seeking a united country.Pics of the day, April 19, 2018http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/pics-of-the-day-april-19-2018/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/pics-of-the-day-april-19-2018/Fri, 20 Apr 2018 08:49:20 +0000Niger: University of Niamey campus closed[The Morning Call]http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/niger-university-of-niamey-campus-closedthe-morning-call/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/niger-university-of-niamey-campus-closedthe-morning-call/Niger’s main university campus of Niamey, the biggest in Niger, was closed on Wednesday April 18 until further notice. This follows violent demonstrations by students who are demanding the reinstatement of five of their classmates, expelled in mid-March. The violent clashes between the students and security forces left many students injured, some seriously.Fri, 20 Apr 2018 09:19:59 +0000Niger's main university campus of Niamey, the biggest in Niger, was closed on Wednesday April 18 until further notice.Burundi: Draft law changing the criminal code [The Morning Call]http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/burundi-draft-law-changing-the-criminal-code-the-morning-call/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/burundi-draft-law-changing-the-criminal-code-the-morning-call/A draft law changing the criminal code in Burundi. The country’s Justice Minister presented the bill to the National Assembly on April 18, and after eight hours of debate, it was passed. Some members of parliament and members of the civil society are however opposed to it especially on the provision of overnight searches by security forces even without a search warrant from a magistrate.Fri, 20 Apr 2018 09:16:09 +0000A draft law changing the criminal code in Burundi. The country's Justice Minister presented the bill to the National Assembly on April 18, and after eight hours of debate, it was passed.Press Review of April 20, 2018 [The Morning Call]http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/press-review-of-april-20-2018-the-morning-call/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/press-review-of-april-20-2018-the-morning-call/We review the headlines of Africa’s top newspapers on The Morning Call.Fri, 20 Apr 2018 08:23:49 +0000We review the headlines of Africa’s top newspapers on The Morning Call.Sudan's al-Bashir fires foreign minister by presidential decreehttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/sudan-s-al-bashir-fires-foreign-minister-by-presidential-decree/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/sudan-s-al-bashir-fires-foreign-minister-by-presidential-decree/Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has issued a presidential decree relieving Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour of his position, state news agency SUNA reported on Thursday. The news agency did not provide any further details or say who would be appointed in his place. Ghandour on Wednesday asked parliament to step in and help Sudanese diplomats, who had not been paid their salaries in seven months or given funds to rent Sudanese diplomatic mission headquarters abroad. The funds requested by the foreign ministry amount to less than $30 million, he said, the first public comment by a Sudanese government official on the central bank’s inability to provide foreign currency to cover state affairs. Sudan has been largely cut off from international financing in the past decades by U.S. sanctions, which were lifted in October. Since then, officials have been trying to attract investors to help prop up its economy, which has been struggling since the south seceded in 2011. That cost Sudan three-quarters of its oil output, the main source of foreign currency and government income. The central bank has for years avoided publicly releasing information surrounding its foreign currency holdings. REUTERSFri, 20 Apr 2018 08:16:01 +0000Ghandour on Wednesday asked parliament to step in and help Sudanese diplomats, who had not been paid their salaries in seven months or given funds to rent Sudanese diplomatic mission headquarters abro[Update] Ethiopia returns passport of Eskinder Nega, told he can travelAbdur Rahman Alfa Shabanhttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/ethiopia-revokes-right-of-top-journalist-eskinder-nega-to-leave-the-country/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/ethiopia-revokes-right-of-top-journalist-eskinder-nega-to-leave-the-country/The Addis Standard reports that Immigration officials have returned the passport of Eskinder Nega and that he has been told he will be allowed to travel. “His passport was confiscated by immigration officials at the Bole International Airport last night and he was told to get back from the HQ,” the portal said in a tweet. Update -Journo #EskinderNega's passport has been returned to him by the Ethiopian Immigration officials. Eskinder was also cleared off to travel. His passport was confiscated by immigration officials at the Bole Inte'l Airport last night and he was told to get back from the HQ. pic.twitter.com/yENjbr2Lye— Addis Standard (@addisstandard) April 20, 2018 Original story with headline: Ethiopia revokes right of top journalist Eskinder Nega to leave the country Eskinder Nega, an award winning Ethiopian journalist who was jailed for being critical of government has been barred from leaving the country, a writers’ body, PEN America and a famed blogger, Befeqadu Hailu have said. According to Hailu, Eskinder’s passport was seized when he was about to fly out to Netherlands to attend the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Amnesty International. “... his passport is confiscated at immigration check in Bole Airport and informed of his ban,” the blogger said in a tweet on Friday morning. It is not known as yet what reasons and on whose orders the action was taken. Breaking: We are appalled that #EskinderNega, our 2012 #FreedomToWrite award winner, has had his passport seized and prevented from leaving Ethiopia on a short trip abroad, and call for his right to travel to be restored ASAP.— PEN America (@PENamerican) April 20, 2018 Journalist #EskinderNega is banned from travelling abroad. He was supposed to attend amnesty</a>&#39;s 50th anniversary in the Netherlands but his passport is confiscated at immigration check in Bole Airport and informed of his ban. <a href="https://t.co/X3ImxQ1dtR">pic.twitter.com/X3ImxQ1dtR</a></p>&mdash; BefeQadu Z. Hailu (befeqe) April 20, 2018 Eskinder was among prominent persons released by government early this year as part of political reforms meant to foster national unity. His particular case has been the subject of years of advocacy by international rights groups and media rights outfits. He who had been in jail since 2011 after he was convicted of having links with banned opposition groups and leading a plan to throw the country into serious political chaos through a series of terrorist acts. He has continued to maintain his innocence with most activists calling his charges ‘trumped up and politically motivated.’ His release on February 14 did not come without controversy as he was reported at the time to have refused to sign a confession form causing his release to be further delayed. Barely a month after his release, he was rearrested along with other politicians and journalists. They were said to have breached rules of the February 16 state of emergency by attending a meeting without clearance from the authorities and using a banned national flag. They were released around mid-April.Fri, 20 Apr 2018 07:45:04 +0000His release on February 14 did not come without controversy as he was reported at the time to have refused to sign a confession form causing his release to be further delayed. Barely a month after hisCastro era ends in Cuba [International Edition]http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/castro-era-ends-in-cuba-international-edition/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/castro-era-ends-in-cuba-international-edition/Ahead of a historic summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, US president Donald Trump has threatened to cancel the meeting or walk out if there are signs it “is not going to be fruitful.” Meanwhile, it is the end of the Castro dynasty. Raúl Castro has stepped from his post in favour of his first vice president, Miguel Diaz-Canel. Diaz-Canel is the first non-Castro to lead the Caribbean nation since Marxist revolutionaries swept to power almost six decades ago. These are some of the stories we have in store in the International Edition, a programme that highlights stories packaged by the Editorial team of Euronews presented by Elayne Wangalwa.Fri, 20 Apr 2018 07:28:52 +0000Raúl Castro has stepped from his post in favour of his first vice president, Miguel Diaz-CanelSouth Africa president leaves Commonwealth summit to address protests at homehttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/south-africa-president-leaves-commonwealth-summit-to-address-protests-at-home/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/south-africa-president-leaves-commonwealth-summit-to-address-protests-at-home/South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has cut short his visit to Britain by a day to return home to deal with protests in the country’s North West province, his office said on Thursday. Protesters seeking jobs, better housing, roads and hospitals frequently clash with police in a country faced with weak economic growth and near-record unemployment – but these are the first big demonstrations since Ramaphosa took power in February. The unrest, dubbed “service delivery protests”, has mounted over the years. The latest protests erupted on Wednesday with residents demanding that the province’s Premier Supra Mahumapelo, a member of Ramaphosa’s ruling African National Congress party, step down. Ramaphosa called for calm, ordered police to exercise maximum restraint and urged the aggrieved parties to express their grievances without resorting to violence. He was due to return to South Africa on Friday from London, where he is leading a delegation to a Commonwealth summit. “The president will return to Pretoria today, Thursday,” the president’s office said in a statement. South African media reported that a bus was set alight, vehicles stoned and roads blockaded by protesters calling for Mahumapelo to quit because of a failure to adequately deliver services. Polife fired teargas to disperse the crowds. Botswana’s government said on Thursday it had closed exit points to South Africa’s North West province, where the two countries share a border. The troubled province lies 300 km (200 miles) west of South Africa’s commercial hub Johannesburg. __REUTERS*Fri, 20 Apr 2018 07:16:24 +0000The latest protests erupted on Wednesday with residents demanding that the province’s Premier Supra Mahumapelo, a member of Ramaphosa’s ruling African National Congress party, step down.[Interview] Africanews @ 2: Review of the year and prospects for the futurehttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/interview-africanews-deputy-editor-in-chief-on-milestones-achieved-in-2-years/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/interview-africanews-deputy-editor-in-chief-on-milestones-achieved-in-2-years/As Africanews celebrates 2 years of broadcasting across the continent, the team celebrates several milestones and challenges overcome in the quest to tell the African story. Over the past 12 months, the channel has grown by over 80% to amass 6.3million viewers across 37 countries, and impressive numbers on the digital platforms. Our determination to serve you where you are has given birth to the release of our Android application, which has over 50,000 downloads. We sat down with the deputy editor in chief and English Language head of Africanews, Raziah Athman, who shared with us the strategies that have delivered these milestones, the challenges that have been faced and overcome by our journalists and the expectations for the next 12 months and beyond. What have been the key milestones and challenges faced in the last 12 months? Africanews has been part of the changing trends in media, in content consumption and production. From new technologies that have taken us to the deepest corners of the continent, to dealing with journalists from diverse cultures, who have different styles of bringing the news to our audience. I think our biggest achievement is the fact that we have been able to take advantage of these factors, blend that into our parent system developed by our sister channel Euronews and still be able to grow on the African continent. We are new. We deliver the news as it happens. We broadcast in both French and English simultaneously. We cover close to 40 African countries with our network of correspondents. Because of this uniqueness, in the last year, our audience has grown by over four million viewers, which is a key milestone. How has Africanews engaged its audiences through its digital platforms? If you are on Twitter or Facebook and do follow Africanews, you are guaranteed a flow of updates on news happening around Africa, including those we package in our magazine programmes like This Is Culture and Sci Tech. In the last 12 months, we have maintained consistency that is quite necessary for our audience online, especially those who might not be able to catch the news on TV. Our numbers have grown into thousands and we are investing more into social media tools like the recently released Android application which has amassed over 50,000 downloads in a few months. What were some of the biggest stories covered by the Africanews team this year? We tend to cover political events that are shaping the history of this continent, the stories that will still be told generations and generations to come. Take the example of a court overturning an election in the case of the Kenya August 8 polls. That is unprecedented, even if constitutions allow for such rulings. Certainly, Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe’s ouster made headlines across the world, including at Africanews on November 21, 2017. South Africa’s Jacob Zuma’s resignation on February 21, 2018 was a story we had been closely following throughout the president’s turbulent years in office. We have also been keeping a keen eye on the conflicts tearing apart nations on the continent. And, the idea of peace is becoming even more complex. We have as well covered the conflicts in the Sahel region. We are particularly sensitive about terror in Somalia, a country that is definitely intertwined in a much more complex web of conflict. From traditional influences, to modern politics, and the role of international actors, this unstable nation gives us the one of the accurate scenes to observe where Africa is going in terms of security. You lead a diverse and multilingual newsroom at Africanews. How has your experience here informed your outlook on journalism in Africa? The most important thing I have learned in this diverse Africanews newsroom is that audiences are diverse and so are stories. Our journalists represent this very diversity and so journalism is more diverse than what we may already know. I keep on learning to deliver the news for the entire continent. Stories that matter to everybody. What can Africanews audiences expect going forward? The Africanews audiences can expect unwavering principles in our style of delivering the news. This is made possible through the advantages we share with our sister channel Euronews. Together, we have been able to make partnerships for instance with award winning global media outlets like AJ + and NBC, as part of the efforts to bring the best to our audience. Our audience can expect partnerships with local media platforms in their respective countries as we strive to reach everybody. The Africanews audience can always be sure we’ll move with the trends so they are not left behind. It’s why we are here, to give ‘your voice’.Thu, 19 Apr 2018 22:44:59 +0000As Africanews celebrates 2 years of broadcasting across the continent, the team celebrates several milestones and challenges overcome in the quest to tell the African story.Congo Republic still not ready for IMF deal despite pledged reformshttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/congo-republic-still-not-ready-for-imf-deal-despite-pledged-reforms/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/congo-republic-still-not-ready-for-imf-deal-despite-pledged-reforms/An International Monetary Fund team in the Congo Republic said on Thursday it was not ready to propose an aid programme for the debt-crippled country to the IMF board but did applaud reforms promised by Brazzaville to obtain a bailout. Like other Central African oil producers, Congo has been hit hard by low crude prices. But while several regional neighbours, including Chad and Gabon, have secured bailouts from the IMF, talks with Congo have dragged on since last year. The delay is largely due to the IMF’s demand that the government restructure its debt, which stood at $9.14 billion, or around 110 percent of GDP, by the end of July and which the Fund says is unsustainable. The IMF wrapped up its latest visit to Congo on Wednesday. “Staff understands that the authorities will continue to work in the coming weeks on implementing their comprehensive strategy to restore debt sustainability and ensure full program financing,” it said in a statement. “Once compliance with all relevant IMF policies has been established, an arrangement to support Congo’s economic program would be proposed for the IMF Executive Board’s consideration.” Congo is seeking to restructure its debt with commodities trading houses after borrowing $2 billion from merchants including Trafigura and Glencore. The bulk of its external debt, however, is owed to Chinese entities. In a statement released late on Wednesday, Prime Minister Clement Mouamba said that any restructuring of the external debt would not affect multilateral creditors or holders of Congo’s Eurobond, which matures in 2029. It added that the government expected the talks to “rapidly lead to the adoption” of a three-year programme with the IMF. Government revenues have dropped by a third since world prices for crude plummeted in 2014 and 2015. The IMF said last year that the non-oil economy was expected to contract by 9.2 percent in 2017. That hardship was exacerbated by Congo’s chronic governance problems, the Fund statement said. “The authorities will need to take bold and immediate governance reforms to put into effect the government’s proclaimed intention to mark a break with past policies and practices,” it said. The mission commended the government’s pledges to establish an independent anti-corruption body, oblige senior officials to declare their assets and foster transparency regarding natural resource management and large infrastructure projects. REUTERSThu, 19 Apr 2018 22:24:59 +0000An International Monetary Fund team in the Congo Republic said on Thursday it was not ready to propose an aid programme for the debt-crippled country to the IMF board but did applaud reforms promisedNkurunziza reshuffles Burundi cabinet ministers ahead of referendumDaniel Mumberehttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/nkurunziza-reshuffles-burundi-cabinet-ministers-ahead-of-referendum/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/nkurunziza-reshuffles-burundi-cabinet-ministers-ahead-of-referendum/Burundi’s president Pierre Nkuruniziza announced a partial cabinet reshuffle on Thursday night replacing the Foreign Affairs minister Alain-Aimé Nyamitwe with Ezéchiel Nibigira, former boss of the notorious Imbonerakure youth league. Ambassador Nyamitwe had been in office since May 2015, just after the attempted coup, tasked with containing the diplomatic uproar that followed Nkurunziza’s ambitions to seek a third term in office. The reshuffle comes less than a month to the referendum. The May 18 vote has been set to allow Burundians vote on whether or not to allow President Pierre Nkurunziza to extend his tenure in office. The president who is already serving a controversial third-term would rule till 2034 if the vote succeeds. The other new members of the cabinet include Gaspard Banyankimbona, former Rector of the University of Burundi, who has been appointed minister of education, technical and vocational training. Senator Evelyne Butoyi has been appointed minister of youth, posts and information technologies while Thaddée Ndikumana, former spokesperson of the Ministry of Public Health is now the minister of public health and the fight against AIDS. Jean-Marie Niyokindi is the minister for trade, industry and tourism. Burundi has been rocked by insecurity since 2015, when Nkurunziza decided to seek a third term in office that his opponents said was unconstitutional. Those who opposed Nkurunziza’s third five-term launched an armed struggle against his government, and the resulting violence has left hundreds dead and forced at least 400,000 people into exile.Thu, 19 Apr 2018 21:42:24 +0000Burundi's president Pierre Nkuruniziza announced a partial cabinet reshuffle on Thursday night replacing the Foreign Affairs minister Alain-Aimé Nyamitwe with Ezéchiel Nibigira, former boss of the nSouth Africa must tame Zambia's 'brutal regime', opposition leader sayshttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/south-africa-must-tame-zambia-s-brutal-regime-opposition-leader-says/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/20/south-africa-must-tame-zambia-s-brutal-regime-opposition-leader-says/Zambia’s opposition leader Hakainde Hichelema accused President Edgar Lungu’s government on Thursday of political killings, rights abuses and rampant coruption, calling on South Africa to intervene to restore calm. Hichilema, who spent four months in jail last year on a treason charge, said regional allies needed to apply pressure on Lungu or risk Zambia descending into the economic disarray seen in neighbouring Zimbabwe under former President Robert Mugabe. Zambia, Africa’s second largest copper producer, has been criticised by rights groups for an increase in political arrests under Lungu and concerns about corruption following reports of billions of dollars in undisclosed borrowing. Lungu denies there is a government corruption problem or that police are used to stifle dissent. “I am asking the region to open its eyes to a brutal regime and to do all it can to restore the rule of law, or the world will be looking at the next Zimbabwe,” Hichilema said in an interview in Johannesburg. “It is in South Africa’s interest as the regional powerhouse to act now or it will suffer from economic collapse of its neighbour and mass migration over its border.” South Africa is the commercial gateway to the region and has powerful influence over its neighbours. Pretoria intervened to bring together a unity government in Zimbabwe after scores were killed in post-election violence in 2008 and swiftly brought an end to an attempted coup in Lesotho in 2014. Zambia is due to hold elections in 2021 but Hichilema said it was impossible to hold a free and fair vote in the current environment because Lungu controlled the electoral commission. Rights groups and diplomats have not reported a crackdown on dissent on the scale described by Hichilema. “It is much, much worse than the world thinks,” he said. Hichilema, an economist and businessman widely known as HH, was arrested in April last year and charged with treason after his convoy failed to make way for Lungu’s motorcade. He was released in August after state prosecutors dropped the charges. Former South African President Jacob Zuma did not publicly call for Hichilema’s release, drawing criticism from South African opposition parties who said Zuma was failing to uphold regional democracy. Hichilema said he had more faith in new South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, a successful businessman who came to power in February after Zuma was forced out by his own party. REUTERSThu, 19 Apr 2018 22:37:29 +0000Zambia’s opposition leader Hakainde Hichelema accused President Edgar Lungu’s government on Thursday of political killings, rights abuses and rampant coruption, calling on South Africa to intervenChampagne consumption in Gabon impacting the economy [Business Africa]http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/champagne-consumption-in-gabon-impacting-the-economy-business-africa/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/champagne-consumption-in-gabon-impacting-the-economy-business-africa/The sales of champagnes are in full boom in Gabon. The Central Africa country with 1.8M inhabitants is one of the largest consumers of the beverage of bubbles by the increase of the request from the people of high class. The latest report of exports of champagne in the world, published last year by the Interprofessional Committee of wine placed the the country in the top 10 of largest consumers. Mbandinga says sales of the product explodes from the begining of may till the end of August due to marriages, Baptism and other occassions. Some customers say the drink can be taken by anybody in the world. An economist notes that the impact of the product on the economy is overwhelming “The impact is direct, when we take into account the lives of the population and the fact that it is imported, and comes from abroad, all income, all expenditures that will be made in obtaining it will necessarily benefit the final producer who are generally strangers”, says an economist, Christian Awana, . Gabon is one of the biggest producers of oil in Africa and the country generates billions from the product however, huge percentage of the money is diverted to the purchase and consumption of champagne mostly in the capital, Libreville.Thu, 19 Apr 2018 06:40:40 +0000In Gabon, there seems to be two liquids that count: oil, which brings in millions of dollars, and champagne, which costs much less despite everything. Champagne consumption is a passion for the LibrevRevising mandates of African central banks [Business Africa]http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/revising-mandates-of-african-central-banks-business-africa/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/revising-mandates-of-african-central-banks-business-africa/Financial strength and stability gives a nation the ability to focus and solve other issues. But for many African nations, financial strength seems to be a tall dream. In many ways financial strength and stability has eluded these African nations for so long. Following the attainment of independence of many of these nations, little progress has been made in the attainment of financial strength in some individual economies. In 2013 for example, Africa was identified as the world’s poorest inhabited continent and the world’s fastest-growing continent at 5.6% a year, and GDP is expected to rise by an average of over 6% a year between 2013 and 2023. But even with such growth, Africa’s entire combined GDP is barely a third of the United States’ GDP. In actual fact, even though the growth has remained consistent, the financial strength and stability meant to follow such growth has been lacking. In many opinions, this is as a result of the unrevised mandates of the African central banks asides many other factors like the underdevelopment of financial sectors in Africa. Assets in most low-income African countries are smaller than those held by a single medium-sized bank in an industrial country. The absence of deep, efficient financial markets seriously challenges policymaking, hinders poverty alleviation, and constrains growth. In addition, many of the African central banks still hold on to mandates that are as obsolete as colonialism, and the need to revise these mandates is pressing. In a recently launched book, Financer l’Afrique: Densifier les systems financiers locaux’ (Financing Africa: Strengthening local financial systems) by Cédric Achille Mezui Mbeng, reference is made to the mandates of African central banks, where the book explains the overarching need to revise the mandates of the African central banks. At the inception of any structured central bank, there is a stipulated mandate that guides the activities of the bank. The U.S. Federal Reserve System’s (The Fed) mandate, for example, is long-term price stability and sustainable growth. The Bank of England (BoE) on the other hand, asides maintaining monetary and financial stability, is charged to keep prices stable and maintain confidence in the currency. To accomplish this, the central bank has an inflation target of 2%. If prices breach that level, the central bank will look to curb inflation, while a level far below 2% will prompt the central bank to take measures to boost inflation. Many central banks of successful economies have similar mandate, which become a yardstick for measuring the effectiveness of the central banks. The mandate of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for example is derived from the 1958 Act of Parliament, as amended up till 2007. The CBN Act of 2007 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria charges the bank with the overall control and administration of the monetary and financial sector policies of the Federal Government. The Bank of Ghana is charged with formulating and implementing monetary policy to achieve price stability, contribute to the promotion and maintenance of financial stability, and ensure a sound payment system. These individual mandates could benefit from a revising of the original mandates to accommodate newer economic realities.Thu, 19 Apr 2018 06:25:56 +0000In actual fact, even though the growth has remained consistent, the financial strength and stability meant to follow such growth has been lacking. In many opinions, this is as a result of the unreviseCuba marks end of an era as Castro hands over to new president Diaz-Canelhttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/cuba-marks-end-of-an-era-as-castro-hands-over-to-new-president-diaz-canel/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/cuba-marks-end-of-an-era-as-castro-hands-over-to-new-president-diaz-canel/Cuba marked the end of an era Thursday as Miguel Diaz-Canel was formally elected as the country’s new president, becoming the first leader of the Caribbean island in six decades who is not named Castro. The silver-haired Diaz-Canel, a top Communist Party figure who has served as first vice president since 2013, assumes power from Raul Castro, who himself took over from his elder brother Fidel, father of the 1959 revolution. In his first speech as president, Diaz-Canel vowed to keep the country on the path of that “revolution,” but also on the road to economic reform. “The mandate given by the people to this legislature is to continue the Cuban revolution at this crucial historic moment, which will be marked by what we must do to implement the economic model” put in place by Raul Castro, he said. “I am here to work, not to make promises,” he said. Diaz-Canel was elected in a landmark vote of the National Assembly which took place on Wednesday, he was the sole candidate for the presidency, with the result formally announced on Thursday. He is the island’s first leader born after the revolution, and will be 58 on Friday. Among the first world leaders to congratulate the new leader were China’s President Xi Jinping and President Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico. Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, a close ally of Cuba, described the new leader as a “faithful representative of a brilliant generation.” AFPThu, 19 Apr 2018 18:54:10 +0000Cuba marked the end of an era Thursday as Miguel Diaz-Canel was formally elected as the country's new president, becoming the first leader of the Caribbean island in six decades who is not named CastrMalawi can eradicate HIV infections says U.S. doctor who discovered AIDS virushttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/malawi-can-eradicate-hiv-infections-says-us-doctor-who-discovered-aids-virus/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/malawi-can-eradicate-hiv-infections-says-us-doctor-who-discovered-aids-virus/Malawi, which has one of the highest rates of the deadly HIV/AIDS infections, is on course to eradicate the virus, Jay Levy who co-discovered the AIDS virus 35 years ago said. Most of the AIDS cases globally are in poorer countries, where access to testing, prevention and treatment is limited. More than one million people in Malawi have the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS, the U.N. AIDS agency (UNAIDS) says. However, according to official figures, Malawi’s national HIV/AIDS prevalence dropped to 8.8 percent in 2016 from 30 percent in 1985 when the first HIV/Aids case was registered in Malawi. Levy cited the Malawian government’s efforts in increasing access to treatment, mother to child transmission interventions, and awareness on prevention and treatment as some of the steps that are helping to fight the disease. “Malawi is not a rich country, but has done a remarkable job of reducing HIV infections and deaths from AIDS,” Levy, a University of California researcher and renowned virologisit and infectious disease expert told Reuters on a visit to Malawi. “Malawi could be one of the countries in Africa on target to eradicating infection,” he added. Levy delivered a lecture at College of Medicine in Blantyre, the nerve centre for HIV/AIDS research in Malawi, and is touring HIV testing centres in the countryside. Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries, and the country’s economy depends on substantial inflows of economic assistance from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and individual donor nations. In 2016, Malawi started testing the use of drones to speed up the time it takes to test infants living in rural areas for HIV, where poor roads and high transport costs often result in delays in testing that can prevent access to treatment. Early diagnosis is important with HIV because it allows people to start treatment with AIDS drugs sooner, increasing their chances of living a long and healthy life. Malawi now has a much lower HIV prevalence than some of its neighbours, UNAIDS says. South Africa has the biggest HIV epidemic in the world, with 7.1 million people living with HIV. HIV prevalence is high among the general population at 18.9 percent. The Kingdom of eSwatini (formerly called Swaziland), a small landlocked country in southern Africa, has the highest HIV prevalence in the world, with 27.2 percent of their adult population living with HIV. “There are still no real heroes to point at in Africa. But Senegal was the first country to really focus on the epidemic and reduce infections to a lower level,” he said. “South Africa is now catching up with the fight.” Levy called on African governments to continue lobbying for more funding to direct towards eradicating HIV/AIDS. REUTERSThu, 19 Apr 2018 18:39:48 +0000Malawi, which has one of the highest rates of the deadly HIV/AIDS infections, is on course to eradicate the virus, Jay Levy who co-discovered the AIDS virus 35 years ago said.Nigerians react to Buhari's work ethic remarks with #LazyNigerianYouthshttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/nigerians-react-to-buhari-s-work-ethic-remarks-with-lazynigerianyouths/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/nigerians-react-to-buhari-s-work-ethic-remarks-with-lazynigerianyouths/President Muhammadu Buhari has drawn criticism from social media and the opposition alike for saying many young Nigerians think they need “do nothing” to enjoy free homes, hospitals and schooling because they live in an oil-rich country. Buhari, who said last week he will run for a second term in elections next February, made the comments in London where he is attending a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. “More than 60 percent of the population is below the age of 30,” he told a business forum on Wednesday. If you haven’t seen it Here’s your adorable president MBuhari calling Nigerian youths lazy and only waiting to benefit from oil revenues #LazyNigerianYouths pic.twitter.com/KNeQ4m9dNq— WOLE OJO ? ? (SirWoley) April 19, 2018 “A lot of them haven’t been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria has been an oil producing country, therefore, they should sit and do nothing, and get housing, healthcare, education free.” This went down badly with the very people the 75-year-old will need if he is to remain leader of Africa’s top oil producer. The median age in the nation of around 190 million people is just 18, according to the United Nations. His remarks prompted the ironic hashtag #LazyNigerianYouths on Twitter even though Buhari, a former general who was also a military ruler in the 1980s, did not use the word “lazy”. Young Nigerians cited examples of their industry and fortitude in a nation where most people live on less than $2 a day, public services are poor and corruption is rife. Dear Mr President, I may not have a job at the moment but still, you don’t have the right to call me lazy. At least, after eating, I wash my plates… I’m sure your son doesn’t do that ? #LazyNigerianYouths pic.twitter.com/9r2xkWRs6i— CrÂzy Twitt3r Usēr?? (@IamPreshioloye) April 19, 2018 I am a final year student in unilorin and run an online/offline store Vickysaccessories both on IG and twitter..i have up to 8 students on my payroll who work for me as distributors..not even hit my 2 decades yet..in months tho.I am not lazy!!We are not #LazyNigerianYouths— Icky with the V☺ (ArinzeVictoria1) April 19, 2018 I have two degrees, One in Chemical engineering and the other in Marine Engineering. I am ridiculously underpaid & under employed in my country and so are many other Nigerian youths I am not lazy. My president lied or totally uninformed of the true situation #LazyNigerianYouths— Noris Eli (@iam__NORIS) April 19, 2018 Nigerian youths are lazy? Lol ? I can tag at least 80 developers/techies that are shaking & breaking tables here & abroad without Government’s help.? PS: We still pay tax that helps you & family survive your stupendous health bills ☺️ #LazyNigerianYouths— Prosper Otemuyiwa (@unicodeveloper) April 19, 2018 Others used another hashtag – #LazyNigeranPVC – in reference to the Permanent Voter Card (PVC) used to cast a ballot, linking Buhari’s comments to next year’s election. “Dear #LazyNigerianYouths 2019 is around the corner let us get our #LAZYNIGERIANPVC so that we can show him our Laziness,” said one Twitter user called @Blessmhe. Buhari has promised to fix the economy and reduce Nigeria’s dependence on oil but it fell into recession in 2016, largely due to low crude prices. Growth returned last year but remains sluggish, and four out of every 10 people in the workforce are unemployed or underemployed. The opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) described Buhari’s comments as “false, derogatory and unpatriotic”. “Most disheartening is that these are the same young persons who form the highest demography of voters that put their confidence in him in 2015,” it said in a statement. The PDP, which was in power in 1999-2015, has not selected a presidential candidate. Buhari himself still requires his party’s endorsement, although many see this as a formality. Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president and erstwhile Buhari ally, said he backed the young. “I will never refer to Nigeria’s youth as people who sit and do nothing. They are hardworking,” Abubakar, who left the president’s party in November and rejoined the PDP, said in a tweet. I will never refer to Nigeria’s youth as people who sit and do nothing. They are hardworking. I should know, I have thousands of youths working for me all over the country who have been the backbone to our success.— Atiku Abubakar (@atiku) April 19, 2018 Abubakar, who has declared his readiness to run for president in 2019, also said “their entrepreneurial spirit, work ethic, and creative abilities are things of pride and should be applauded”. Bashir Ahmad, a presidential aide, tweeted that Buhari had “always applauded and celebrated Nigerian youths who excel in different areas of endeavour, from sports, to academia, and other realms”.Thu, 19 Apr 2018 14:32:15 +0000President Muhammadu Buhari has drawn criticism from social media and the opposition alike for saying many young Nigerians think they need “do nothing” to enjoy free homes, hospitals and schoolingFuel smuggling costing Libya $750 Million a year- Oil ChiefMichael Ike Dibiehttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/fuel-smuggling-costing-libya-750-million-a-year-oil-chief/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/fuel-smuggling-costing-libya-750-million-a-year-oil-chief/Fuel smuggling is costing Libya about $750 million a year, the head of the country’s National Oil Corporation said on Wednesday. Mustafa Sanalla in a speech delivered in Geneva said about 30 to 40 percent of fuel produced and imported by Libya is stolen or smuggled. He called on the European Union naval mission to combat smugglers by seizing their ships in the Mediterranean, adding that the United Nations should consider sanctioning smugglers, and urged Libya to reform massive subsidies that allow fuel to be sold for as little as 2-3 U.S. cents per liter. “The fuel smugglers and thieves have permeated not only the militias which control much of Libya, but also the fuel distribution companies which are supposed to bring cheap fuel to Libyan citizens,” Sanalla told an inaugural Oil and Fuel Theft conference in Geneva. He also urged international institutions such as Interpol to aid domestic agencies in breaking up smuggling rings in the country. Libya, holder of Africa’s largest crude reserves and an OPEC member, is already reeling from political divisions that have slashed oil production. Sanalla noted that Smugglers have “permeated” some fuel distribution companies as well as the militias currently vying for control of the country. The issue is “destroying the fabric of the country,” he said. “The huge sums of money available from smuggling have corrupted large parts of Libyan society,” he said. Fuel smuggling is costing #Libya more than $750 million each year and harming its economy and society, the head of the National Oil Company in the conflict-riddled country said: https://t.co/UKTKSxdY3k pic.twitter.com/ZaihwU4RdS— Arab News (@arabnews) April 19, 2018 He called for the mandate of the EU’s naval mission, Operation Sophia, to be extended to combat the smuggling of refined fuel as well as oil, adding that much of the illegal activity could be traced by radar or satellite.Thu, 19 Apr 2018 16:21:06 +0000Fuel smuggling is costing Libya about $750 million a year, the head of the country’s National Oil Corporation said.Senegal: Police fire tear gas at protestershttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/senegal-police-fire-tear-gas-at-protesters-demonstrating-against-proposed/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/senegal-police-fire-tear-gas-at-protesters-demonstrating-against-proposed/Hundreds of protesters on Thursday morning demonstrated against a law to change Senegal’s electoral code due to be voted on in parliament in the capital Dakar. The new law would require presidential candidates to be endorsed by a minimum of one percent of the electorate nationwide to be eligible to stand for election. The minister of justice said the new rule would put an end to “constitutional and electoral manipulation.” The opposition said the move was undemocratic and anti-constitutional. Police blocked roads leading to the national assembly in the centre of Dakar and threw tear gas at groups of protesters dispersed in the streets. Local radio stations reported that two opposition leaders, El Hadj Malick Gackou and Idrissa Seck, were arrested on their way to the national assembly. The former prime minister, Abdoul Mbaye, had to be evacuated when police fired tear gas at him and his supporters shouting ‘Freedom!’ Inside the assembly, an attempt by opposition members of parliament to adjourn turned into chaos after their motion was voted down by 117 votes to 26. Senegal Police Fire Tear Gas to Break up Anti-Government Protest https://t.co/6gXpDLebSB pic.twitter.com/MiN0QFIRvn— VOA Africa (@VOAAfrica) April 19, 2018 After the vote members of parliament walked up to the president’s stand demanding to end the session and stop the vote. The president of the assembly, Moustapha Niasse, then temporarily suspended the parliamentary session before the vote on the electoral law.Thu, 19 Apr 2018 14:42:12 +0000Hundreds of protesters on Thursday morning demonstrated against a law to change Senegal's electoral code.Swaziland now eSwatini: King renames Africa's last absolute monarchyhttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/swaziland-now-eswatini-king-renames-africa-s-last-absolute-monarch/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/swaziland-now-eswatini-king-renames-africa-s-last-absolute-monarch/Swaziland’s King Mswati III has changed the name of the country to the Kingdom of eSwatini, a BBC journalist has tweeted. King Mswati III has announced Swaziland ?? will now be known as The Kingdom of Eswatini— Nomsa Maseko (@nomsa_maseko) April 19, 2018 The monarch reportedly made the announcement during the double celebration in the southern African country. The first landmark is his 50th birthday and the country’s 50 years of independence. The kingdom of Swaziland – officially Eswatini – is known to be one of the world’s last remaining absolute monarchies. The king who has been in charge for 32 years took over at the age 18. He rules by decree over his subjects. King Mswati III presides over the annual Reed Dance ceremony during which occasion he chooses a new bride. The king currently has over a dozen wives. Mswati has over the years been at the crossroad between ruling as a traditional monarch or modernising his kingdom through multi-party democracy. Rights groups like Amnesty International, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders have accused him of policies that trample human rights and democracy. In August 2004, British newspaper the Daily Mirror named him as one of the world’s 10 worst dictators on a list headed by the leaders of North Korea and Myanmar. 50/50 Golden Jubilee celebrations in Swaziland ??King Mswati III celebrates his 50th birthday while the kingdom marks 50 years of independence pic.twitter.com/CKHmzHc5hW— Nomsa Maseko (@nomsa_maseko) April 19, 2018 (function(b,o,n,u,s){var a,t;a=b.createElement(u);a.async=1;a.src=s;t=b.getElementsByTagName(u)[0];t.parentNode.insertBefore(a,t);o[n]=o[n]||[]}) (document,window,’_qual_async’,‘script’,’//interactive.euronews.com/kit/qualp.2.min.js’); _qual_async.push([‘init’, ‘ws/load.cfm’, ‘qualifio-’, false]); _qual_async.push([‘createIframe’, ‘qualifio_insert_place_466011’, ‘interactive.euronews.com’, ‘20’, ‘D8495A8E-9A80-289E-538E-EDE58D21704E’, ’100%’, ‘1200’, ‘’, ‘’, ‘’, ‘max-width:810px;margin:0 auto;’]);Thu, 19 Apr 2018 14:03:56 +0000The monarch reportedly made the announcement during the double celebration in the southern African country. The first landmark is his 50th birthday and the country's 50 years of independence.E.U. gave asylum to over 500,000 migrants in 2017 - stats officehttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/eu-gave-asylum-to-over-500000-migrants-in-2017-stats-office/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/eu-gave-asylum-to-over-500000-migrants-in-2017-stats-office/The European Union gave asylum to more than half a million refugees in 2017, its statistics office Eurostat said on Thursday, with Germany taking in more than 60 percent. The number was still down by about a quarter compared with 2016, and followed a major surge of migration in 2015 which has strained the bloc’s asylum system and caused political wrangling over how to deal with the influx. Syrian citizens accounted for about a third of successful asylum cases in 2017, Eurostat said, followed by Afghans and Iraqis. On a per capita basis, Germany had the most successful asylum cases in 2017, followed by Austria and Sweden. Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland had the fewest successful asylum cases in 2017 on a per capita basis. Syrians and Eritreans were most likely to get asylum in the EU in 2017, with more than nine in 10 cases being approved, while migrants from Albania and Kosovo were the least likely. REUTERSThu, 19 Apr 2018 13:28:41 +0000Syrians and Eritreans were most likely to get asylum in the EU in 2017, with more than nine in 10 cases being approved, while migrants from Albania and Kosovo were the least likely.Africanews @2: Major highlights of the year under reviewhttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/africanews-2-major-highlights-of-the-year-under-review/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/africanews-2-major-highlights-of-the-year-under-review/April 20, 2018; marks two years since Africanews launched the television channel. The website is much older but by only four months. Africanews.com (English / French) went LIVE on January 4, 2016 whiles the TV followed in April the same year. It has this far been a journey of several ups and downs but with the successes after 24 months outstripping the challenges that the channel grappled with. Year 2018 has been significant for consolidation of gains that we made in year one. The team – online and TV – continue to perfect tasks relating to serving news to our esteemed audiences across Africa and around the world. This article seeks to refresh your memories on the key landmarks from the year gone by. It highlights our steady growth in reach – TV, online, social media, the launch of Africanews applications and new programs. At the level of growth, our television signal is received by 6.3 million viewers across over 37 African countries, growth of over 80% from last year. Our verified Youtube channel has steadily been growing as well. In the course of this year, Africanews released our Android application which was preceded by the iOS version. As at today (April 19, 2018), Google PlayStore figures indicate that 50,000 people have downloaded the app – hope you are part of that figure. Aside having all the top African news served on the application, you get the offline feature and data-saving mode and then there is our notification push for the breaking news and big stories for each day. International Edition is a new program we launched during the year. It is a weekly round up of top international news from our sister channel, Euronews. Euronews also serves our audience with Inspire Middle East, a weekly feature program that brings top news and culture stories from across the Middle East. And all these successes are because of your loyalty to the Africanews brand. The team from Pointe Noire in the Republic of Congo, says a big ‘Thank You’ for being part of our journey. Cheers to many more years ahead with better programming and news delivery. Interact with us on our social media platforms – Facebook (Africa News Channel) and Twitter (@africanews).Thu, 19 Apr 2018 12:54:06 +0000The Africanews team from Pointe Noire in the Republic of Congo, says a big 'Thank You' for being part of our journey. Cheers to many more years ahead with better programming and news delivery.South Sudan shutdown BBC stations over unpaid debtsMichael Ike Dibiehttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/south-sudan-shutdown-bbc-stations-over-unpaid-debts/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/south-sudan-shutdown-bbc-stations-over-unpaid-debts/Authorities in South Sudan’s capital, Juba has shutdown the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) relay stations in the country for not paying accumulated debts for last three years. BBC relay stations Arabic and English in Juba and Wau on 88. 2 have been off air for close to two weeks now. South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC), Managing Director James Magok Chilim, said the BBC had ignored requests to “pay debts” for last three years, despite a reminder in January. In a statement issued by South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation, it is alleged that BBC has been using the SSBC facility for 3 years without paying. “SSBC gave them a verbal warning in March, 2018 and they ignored it. SSBC gave them several notices in writing through all communications channels but they ignored,” the statement read. The state-owned broadcasting medium, SSBC, called this a breach of contract. The BBC has been using SSBC facilities since 2008 in an agreement subject to renewal every year. The statement clearly confirms that the BBC relay stations in Juba and Wau will not go back on air until they have cleared their arrears. “If they want to move away from SSBC premises, they are free after paying all the money. Failure to pay, we will sue the BBC,” the statement added. Meanwhile, the British Broadcasting Corporation has said that it is aware it has been switched off in Juba and Wau. In a statement, the BBC said it regretted SSBC’s decision to stop broadcasting “its news services to an audience of more than 400,000 in South Sudan.” The corporation was working hard to reach an accommodation with SSBC to restore the service, it added. However, Wesley Maritim, the BBC Business Development manager of East and Southern Africa, said the international media house is working to resolve the issue. “I am aware that we have been switched off in South Sudan. There are issues we are trying to resolve with the ministries and the media bodies in the country,” Maritim said as quoted Eye radio in Juba. The amount of money the BBC owes the SSBC is still unknown, but SSBC threatened to sue the BBC should the broadcaster fails to pay its bill. However, the media outlets in the East Africa’s youngest nation have increasingly come under tight control, including the freedom of press and restriction of journalists from the relevant regulators since the civil war erupted last four years.Thu, 19 Apr 2018 12:15:32 +0000Authorities in South Sudan's capital, Juba has shutdown the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) relay stations in the country.Ghanaian delegation on trade mission to UAE, holds 175 bilateral meetingsMichael Ike Dibiehttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/ghanaian-delegation-on-trade-mission-to-uae-holds-175-bilateral-meetings/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/ghanaian-delegation-on-trade-mission-to-uae-holds-175-bilateral-meetings/A delegation of government officials and business leaders from Ghana held a175 bilateral meetings during a recent high-level trade mission to the UAE, which promoted investment opportunities in the African country. The high-level trade mission was organised by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s representative office in Accra in cooperation with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre and the Consulate General of Ghana in Dubai. The visiting delegation was joined by top officials, CEOs and executives representing Ghanaian government agencies, banks, as well as insurance, agri-business, engineering and fintech companies. During the visit, the Ghanaian delegates attended the Annual Investment Meeting in Dubai, where they showcased attractive investment opportunities within Ghana’s banking, agriculture and tourism sectors and networked with UAE businessmen. A high-level meeting was held at Dubai Chamber’s premises which was attended by Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Ghana’s Minister of Food and Agriculture; Alhaji Ahmed Ramadan, Ambassador of Ghana to the UAE; Samata Gifty Bukari Consul General of the Republic of Ghana in Dubai; Yofi Grant, CEO of Ghana Investment Promotion Center; Atiq Juma Nasib, Senior Vice President – Commercial Services at Dubai Chamber; and Omar Khan, Dubai Chamber’s Director of International Offices. The meeting was followed by business matching meetings which were hosted at the Dubai Chamber’s head office. Dr Akoto stressed Ghana’s commitment to expanding economic cooperation with the UAE, as well as its aims to attract investment from the UAE. He highlighted the tremendous business potential that exists in Ghana and invited UAE companies to visit the African country to explore new opportunities that are opening up in the market. Addressing the Ghanaian dignitaries, Nasib explained that Ghana is a market of strategic importance to Dubai Chamber, and noted that the Chamber has worked to build strong relationships within key stakeholders in the country in recent years. “Ghanaian companies are looking abroad for growth opportunities as they aim to expand their global reach and attract foreign investment. Given these trends, the timing is ideal for Ghanaian companies to build bridges with their Dubai counterparts and benefit from the emirate’s position as a global gateway and preferred investment destination,” Nasib said. He revealed that the number of African companies registered with Dubai Chamber has grown rapidly over the last few years to exceed 17,000, which he said reflects Dubai’s reputation as a preferred hub for African businesses. On his part, Khan noted that the trade mission succeeded in achieving its objectives of strengthening bilateral relations, adding that the visit supported the Chamber’s strategy of exploring promising markets around the world with the aim or providing its members with access to new growth opportunities. The Ghanaian delegates also made site visits to Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA), Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), and the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce, where they familiarised themselves with the local business environment and learned about the key advantages that the UAE offers foreign companies and investors.Thu, 19 Apr 2018 12:01:47 +0000A delegation of government officials and business leaders from Ghana held a175 bilateral meetings during a recent high-level trade mission to the UAE.Ethiopia parliament ratifies PM Abiy's first cabinethttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/ethiopia-parliament-ratifies-pm-abiy-s-first-cabinet/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/ethiopia-parliament-ratifies-pm-abiy-s-first-cabinet/Ethiopia’s new prime minister named a cabinet on Thursday that includes the former mining minister as defence minister and retains the finance and foreign ministers from his predecessor’s cabinet. Abiy Ahmed, who was appointed by Ethiopia’s ruling coalition last month and sworn in as prime minister on April 2, made the announcement on state television. “I am requesting parliament to ratify the reshuffle of six ministers and the new appointment of 10 others,” Ahmed, a former army officer, said. The remaining ministers from the previous cabinet, including finance and foreign affairs, were unchanged. Every lawmaker in the 547-seat parliament is from the ruling EPRDF coalition, the new cabinet has subsequently been ratified by the assembly. Ethiopia’s economy has officially grown at an average of nearly 10 percent for the past decade, the fastest in Africa, but political unrest in the country of 100 million people led to the sudden resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in February. Here is the list of ministerial appointments – approved by the parliament today: Shiferaw Shigutie Minister of Agriculture and Livestock resource Sirag Fegessa Minister of Transport Dr. Hirut Woldemariam- Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Teshome Toga – Minister of Public Enterprises Umer Hussien – Authority of Customs and Revenue Director-General (with the rank of minister) Uba Mohamed – Minister of Information and Communication Technology Dr. Ambachew Mekonen- Minister of industry Motuma Mekassa – Minister of Defense Fozia Amin – Minister of Culture and Tourism Ahmed Shide – Minister of Government Communication Affairs Office Jantirar Abay – Minister of Housing and Urban Development Melese Alemu – Minister of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas Birhanu Tsegaye – Attorney General (with the rank of minister) Yalem Tsegay- Women and Children Affairs Minister Melaku Alebel – Minister of Trade Dr. Amir Aman – Minister of HealthThu, 19 Apr 2018 10:50:20 +0000Ahmed, a former army officer, said. The remaining ministers from the previous cabinet, including finance and foreign affairs, were unchanged.Pics of the day, April 18, 2018http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/pics-of-the-day-april-18-2018/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/pics-of-the-day-april-18-2018/Africanews samples the best pictures of the day’s news.Thu, 19 Apr 2018 10:39:30 +0000Africanews samples the best pictures of the day’s news.[Photos] Throwback Thursday: African leaders then and nowhttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/photos-throwback-thursday-african-presidents-then-and-now/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/photos-throwback-thursday-african-presidents-then-and-now/There are parts of Africa where leaders come and go, in other parts, leaders virtually come and stay. Those are the sit-tight leaders who after decades in charge are still going strong. Throwback Thursday (TBT) seeks to explore how especially long serving African leaders have changed or remained the same pictorially. We do a photo comparison of African leaders – from years back to the most recent. Whiles at it, we will share some facts about the particular leader – among others their full name, age, profession before becoming president, length of stay till date, who they replaced etc. Candidate 3: King Mswati III of Swaziland Full Name/Age: Mswati III, born as Prince Makhosetive / 50 years old Profession: Politician Became king: 25 April 1986 (at the age of 18) Predecessor: king Sobhuza II Presidential reign: 32 years Swaziland King Mswati III poses for a photograph as he sits on his throne at his residence outside of the capital city Mbabane January 30. Swazi King Mswati III arrives for the inauguration of South African President Thabo Mbeki in this file photograph taken April 27, 2004. King Mswati III watch maidens gather at Ludzidzini, the royal palace in Swaziland, as they deliver reeds to the King during the annual reed dance September 3, 2006. Swaziland King Mswati III addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 20, 2017. Candidate 2: President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda Full Name/Age: Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, 74 Profession: Politician Became President: 1986 Predecessor: Tito Okello Lutwa Presidential reign: 32 years Museveni talks to Nelson Mandela (L) on arrival at Entebbe International Airport January 26 1998 and Yoweri Museveni casts his vote in his home town in Mbarara May 9, 1996 Yoweri Museveni talks to the media September 6, 1998 on his arrival at the Victoria Falls Airport and Museveni attends the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and the Government of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia January 28, 2018 Candidate 1: Idriss Deby Itno of Chad Full Name/Age: Idriss Deby Itno, 65 years Profession: Career soldier Became President: 1991 Predecessor: Hissene Habre Presidential reign: 27 years (L-R) Deby in Libreville at Franco Africa summit in October 1992 and at a rally in Ndjamena in April 2006. Deby at Elysee Palace and at African Union summit, all photos taken in 2017 Chad’s President Idriss Deby Itno sits in an armchair at the presidential palace prior to his meeting with French Prime Minister in N’Djamena, Chad, December 29, 2016.Thu, 05 Apr 2018 09:15:08 +0000Throwback Thursday (TBT) seeks to explore how especially long serving African leaders have changed or remained the same pictorially. We do a photo comparison of African leaders – from years back toEthiopia parliament elects female speaker, Muferiat Kamilhttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/ethiopia-parliament-elects-female-speaker-muferiat-kamil/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/ethiopia-parliament-elects-female-speaker-muferiat-kamil/Our journalists are working on this story and will update it as soon as more information becomes available.Thu, 19 Apr 2018 08:49:23 +0000Ethiopia’s parliament, the House of Peoples’ Representatives, has chosen a former Minister of Women’s Affairs, as its new speaker, state-affiliatedZimbabwe sacks 16,000 nurses on strike [The Morning Call]http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/zimbabwe-sacks-16000-nurses-on-strike-the-morning-call/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/zimbabwe-sacks-16000-nurses-on-strike-the-morning-call/Zimbabwe’s new government has sacked 16,000 nurses who went on strike on Monday over unpaid allowances among other issues. According to Vice President Constantino Chiwenga the nurses’ strike action is “politically motivated”. But despite the government’s move to increase their pay, Zimbabwe’s nurses association says the strike is still on.Thu, 19 Apr 2018 08:23:43 +0000Zimbabwe's new government has sacked 16,000 nurses who went on strike on Monday over unpaid allowances among other issues. According to Vice President Constantino Chiwenga the nurses' strike action iWinnie Mandela's memorial house in Brandfort [The Morning Call]http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/winnie-mandela-s-memorial-house-in-brandfort-the-morning-call/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/winnie-mandela-s-memorial-house-in-brandfort-the-morning-call/Unathi Sonwabile Henama, a tourism expert in South Africa talks about the memorial of South Africa’s first lady, the late Mama Winnie Mandela and also helps us to discover South Africa’s city of Brandfort.Thu, 19 Apr 2018 08:20:23 +0000Unathi Sonwabile Henama, a tourism expert in South Africa talks about the memorial of South Africa’s first lady, the late Mama Winnie Mandela and also helps us to discover South Africa’s city of BSenegal: Sponsorship of presidential candidates [The Morning Call]http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/senegal-sponsorship-of-presidential-candidates-the-morning-call/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/senegal-sponsorship-of-presidential-candidates-the-morning-call/Opinions on the sponsorship system adopted in Senegal on Monday are divided especially in the run up to the 2019 presidential election. If passed, it would require all candidates standing in next year’s presidential election to collect the signatures of at least one per cent of the registered voters in the country’s seven regions before being validated. An equivalent of sixty five thousand sponsors per candidate. The proposal has however sparked a fierce public debate with some opposition and activist groups. The sponsorship of presidential candidates, was one of the stumbling blocks in the negotiations between the government and opposition on the electoral process in the country.Thu, 19 Apr 2018 08:33:13 +0000Opinions on the sponsorship system adopted in Senegal on Monday are divided especially in the run up to the 2019 presidential election. If passed, it would require all candidates standing in next yePress Review of April 19, 2018 [The Morning Call]http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/press-review-of-april-19-2018-the-morning-call/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/press-review-of-april-19-2018-the-morning-call/We review the headlines of Africa’s top newspapers on The Morning Call.Thu, 19 Apr 2018 08:13:26 +0000We review the headlines of Africa’s top newspapers on The Morning Call.Nigeria Senate invasion: Mace recovered under bridge, lawmaker arrestedAbdur Rahman Alfa Shabanhttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/nigeria-senate-invasion-police-recover-mace-under-bridge-lawmaker-arrested/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/nigeria-senate-invasion-police-recover-mace-under-bridge-lawmaker-arrested/The stolen mace, symbol of power and authority of Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber (Senate), has been recovered by the police after it was seized by thugs during a Wednesday invasion of the Senate. Police said the mace was abandoned under a bridge in the capital Abuja. A suspended Senator alleged to have masterminded the act, Ovie Omo-Agege, was also arrested late Wednesday. Deputy Speaker of the Senate Ike Ekweremadu, who was superintending over the plenary session when the incident occured called it an institutional invasion which senators were not going to take lightly. “The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has just been invaded and we are not going to take it kindly. This is an institutional invasion,” he said. The mace was replaced and the sitting continued after a closed-door meeting of the Senate leadership. A Senate statement said the perpetrators had committed a tresonable offence and tasked security forces to recover the mace in 24 hours. Local media are also reporting that police have arrested all persons connected to the heist. The action of the thugs have been roundly condemned by senators even though some Nigerians on social media maintain that it serves them right. To some members of the public, the chaos that the lawmakers preside over has now come close to them. The armed invasion of the senate stands condemned.Its treasonable,an attempted coup d etat .Its an assault on democracy and a desecration of an institution of democracy.Those who sanctioned,organized and supported… https://t.co/ExIQ2VvYCt— Senator Shehu Sani (@ShehuSani) April 18, 2018 [Photos] Africa's chaotic parliaments: Uganda, South Africa https://t.co/kYNfBb4f9P— africanews (@africanews) September 27, 2017Thu, 19 Apr 2018 08:02:25 +0000Police said the mace was abandoned under a bridge in the capital Abuja. A suspended Senator alleged to have masterminded the act, Ovie Omo-Agege, was also arrested late Wednesday.Influence of foreign media on tourism in Africa [Travel]http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/influence-of-foreign-media-on-tourism-in-africa-travel/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/influence-of-foreign-media-on-tourism-in-africa-travel/African tourism has a reach that can only be imagined. This is because up till now, tourism in Africa is not yet functioning at half capacity, let alone full capacity. The possibilities are endless if the industry in Africa is as developed all round as it is in other parts of the world. This is taking into account all the kinds of tourism available, which include natural tourism, artificial tourism, birth tourism, religious tourism, cultural tourism and many more. But like any industry or any concept in life, PR, or lack of it, is a vital part of its success or failure. There is the need to get word out on the availability of tourism in Africa, even after all things have been put in place to encourage tourism. No doubt, tourism has a huge potential in Africa, a continent that still receives the lowest share of tourist arrivals in the world, and fostering tourism in Africa requires creating a great awareness, and the media is the key factor to consider in the creation of such awareness. Malcolm X said that the media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that is power, because they control the mind of the masses. The media is a strong industry in any economy and has the ability to talk for the people, teach the people and sometimes even think for the people. This means that their role, which already is crucial, gives them an omniscient quality that cannot be undermined. Africa as a whole cannot depend on locally generated tourism or local tourists alone, but the preconceived notions of Africa by foreign media sometimes stands in the way of international tourism and tourists. Outside Africa, there are many facts and fiction circulated about the continent, and this sometimes mars the beauty that may be found in Africa. In a paper presented at the Sixth Annual African Studies Consortium Workshop, Rod Chavis address, “some evidences of a modus operandi Western Media organizations employ to specifically dump negative news materials and information when reporting, communicating, or disseminating anything concerning Africa.” He went further to explain that “With the stroke of a journalist’s pen, the African, her continent, and her descendants are pejoratively reduced to nothing: a bastion of disease, savagery, animism, pestilence, war, famine, despotism, primitivism, poverty, and ubiquitous images of children, flies in their food and faces, their stomachs distended. These ‘universal’ but powerfully subliminal message units connote something not good, perennially problematic unworthiness, deplorability, black, foreboding, loathing, sub humanity, etc. On the other hand, little is said about Africa’s strategic importance to industrialized nations; her indispensability and relevance to world development, global technology, and the wealth of nations, derived from African largesse, are not acclaimed in the media.” This stipulation explains how foreign media, unchecked can influence tourism in Africa. Foreign media can both make or mar the prospects of tourism in Africa. Consequently, for tourism to begin the climb to a steady position in the economy in Africa, there is a need to change the narrative positively, by balancing out the negative aspects of African realities with the beauty and good that is found in Africa. This is essentially the kind of publicity Africa requires to promote tourism. Thus, local journalists need to be selective about their news content in order that a distorted picture of Africa is not painted, but a clearer, more realistic and true picture is broadcast. By setting such a pace, foreign media may take a clue from the playbook of African journalists, and follow suit in not only propagating what is wrong in Africa, but broadcasting a balanced reports on the great, beautiful, bad and ugly found in Africa.Thu, 19 Apr 2018 06:12:10 +0000Consequently, for tourism to begin the climb to a steady position in the economy in Africa, there is a need to change the narrative positively, by balancing out the negative aspects of African realitiRick Ross slams Kenyan fans over fake list of demands ahead of concertDaniel Mumberehttp://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/american-rapper-rick-ross-calls-out-kenyan-fans-over-fake-list-of-demands-ahead/http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/19/american-rapper-rick-ross-calls-out-kenyan-fans-over-fake-list-of-demands-ahead/American rapper Rick Ross has blasted fans on social media over an outrageous list of demands that he allegedly made to organisers of his upcoming concert in Kenya. William Leonard Roberts II, known professionally by his stage name Rick Ross, is slated to perform at a high end party in the capital Nairobi on 28th April. A list circulated published by entertainment blogs in the country has been doing the rounds on social media, detailing demands that were reportedly made by Rick Ross’ management ahead of the concert. Demands Among the demands is 30 round trip air tickets, including 10 first class tickets, a helicopter to facilitate travel during interview appearances and transportation to the concert venue for the ‘Boss’. The rapper is also said to have asked for 3500 bottles of his premium Luc Belaire brand champagne, 1500 fresh towels and 200 bottles of lemon flavored water. This, in addition to reservation of three floors of a five star hotel with a round the clock services of a butler and a personal chef. The management of the artist fondly referred to as the Boss by his fans are also supposed to have requested for two major roads in the capital to be closed off for the concert. The list that goes on and on has irked so many fans on social media who went as far as contacting Rick Ross on social media, asking him to explain the demands. One such fan got a scathing reply from the rapper who called out the bloggers for circulating fake news. PSKRATCH1</a> U sound just as stupid as whoever told your stupid ass those false demands. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Kenya?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Kenya</a> <a href="https://t.co/Fv4wfPq3On">https://t.co/Fv4wfPq3On</a></p>&mdash; Yung Rénzél ? (RickRoss) April 17, 2018 The main organisers of the party, NRG Wave, have since issued a statement, discrediting the list, which they say misrepresents the terms of the contract signed with the American superstar. ‘‘The article misrepresents the terms of the contract we signed with the Boss’ management team,’‘ read part of the statement. Official #NRGWave statement from NRGWaveKE</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/NRGRadioKE?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">NRGRadioKE pic.twitter.com/TnMI3JgBZ2— NRG Wave (@nrgwaveke) April 17, 2018 It is not uncommon for artists and other showbiz celebrities to make extravagant and sometimes hard to fulfil demands of organisers in the quest to maintain an aura of super stardom. Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Rihanna, Kanye West are some pop stars that have been called out in the past for making very detailed and tasking lists to organisers ahead of concerts.Wed, 18 Apr 2018 22:28:54 +0000American rapper Rick Ross has blasted fans on social media over an outrageous list of demands that he allegedly made to organisers of his upcoming concert in Kenya.