Paris (AFP) Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy blasted what he said was a lack of evidence for the corruption charges against him over allegations that late Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi funded his 2007 election campaign, in his court statement published Thursday. The morning after he was charged in one of France’s most explosive political scandals in years, the 63-year-old rightwinger said he had been in “living hell” since the allegations first emerged in 2011. Demanding he be treated as a witness rather than a suspect, he urged magistrates to considerRead More
Paris (AFP) The food security of around 124 million people worldwide was under acute threat at the end of last year, mostly because of worsening conflicts and drought, the UN and EU said Thursday. The worst food crises in 2017 were in northeastern Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen and South Sudan, “where nearly 32 million people were food-insecure and in need of urgent assistance”, the two organisations said in an annual report on food crises. “Conflicts and climate-related shocks have recently sent levels of world hunger marching back up, following decades ofRead More
Kano (Nigeria) (AFP) Boarding schools have been shut indefinitely in the northeast Nigerian state most affected by Boko Haram violence, the government has said, in the latest blow to children’s education. “All boarding secondary schools in the state, with the exception of those in (the state capital) Maiduguri and (the town of) Biu, will close down with immediate effect until further notice,” the Borno state government said. Borno is the spiritual home of Boko Haram Islamists, whose name translates loosely from Hausa as “Western education is forbidden”. The high-profile abductionsRead More
Paris (AFP) French ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy blasted what he said was a lack of evidence for corruption charges against him over claims the late Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi funded his 2007 election campaign, in his court statement published Thursday. The day after he was charged in France’s most explosive political scandals in decades, the 63-year-old rightwinger said in the statement published by the Figaro newspaper that he had been in “living hell” since the allegations emerged in 2011. Demanding he be treated as a witness rather than a suspect, heRead More
Harare (AFP) Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who succeeded ousted Robert Mugabe in November, has pardoned at least 3,000 prisoners to clear out overpopulated jails, officials said Thursday. The pardon will see the release of all female prisoners except those serving life terms, as well as all disabled and juvenile prisoners. Terminally-ill prisoners and those above the age of 60 who have served a third of their time will also be freed. “The president in terms of the constitution of Zimbabwe has granted amnesty to prisoners,” the Zimbabwe Prisons and CorrectionalRead More
Tessalit (Mali) (AFP) Mali’s Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga made his first visit to the country’s troubled north Thursday with a stop due in the city of Kidal, which is still in the hands of former rebels. Just hours before the visit, five French soldiers were wounded in Kidal when their base was attacked, the French army said in Paris, demonstrating the scale of the problem facing troops in the region. Around 4,000 French troops are deployed under Operation Barkhane alongside the United Nations 12,000-strong MINUSMA peacekeeping operation in Mali.Read More
Abidjan (AFP) Riot police in Ivory Coast on Thursday arrested protestors and fired teargas to prevent an opposition demonstration from going ahead, AFP journalists said. The opposition coalition Together for Democracy and Sovereignty (EDS) called the march to protest against the electoral commission which it accuses of political bias. It comes ahead of senatorial elections on Saturday, with municipal and regional polls due later in 2018 ahead of presidential elections in 2020. Police used tear gas and arrested around a dozen demonstrators who were heading towards the starting point ofRead More
Johannesburg (AFP) Wydad Casablanca of Morocco and Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa, the last two winners of the CAF Champions League, will face each other in the group phase this year. Defending champions Wydad and 2016 title-holders Sundowns were placed in Group C Wednesday with two debutants, Port of Togo and Horoya of Guinea during the draw in Cairo. Sundowns were dethroned by Wydad in the quarter-finals last year, losing a penalty shootout in Morocco after both clubs won 1-0 at home. There will be another repeat of a 2017Read More
United Nations (United States) (AFP) The UN envoy for Libya told the Security Council Wednesday that he is launching a new, final push to bring Libya’s rival leaders on board a 2015 political deal that set up a unity government. Ghassan Salame said he believed there was “very little chance” of agreement on amending the deal that established the UN-backed government under Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. “However, starting tomorrow, I shall commence a new, and final attempt to realize the amendments,” said Salame, who briefed the council by video-conference fromRead More
Nairobi (AFP) Kenya’s ruling Jubilee Party on Wednesday denied that Cambridge Analytica had stage-managed the victory of President Uhuru Kenyatta in highly disputed and deadly 2017 elections. The British firm at the centre of a scandal over the improper use of Facebook data in US President Donald Trump’s election 2016 campaign, has also come under the spotlight in Kenya, where it worked on Kenyatta’s campaign last year and in 2013. An expose aired by Channel 4 television in the United Kingdom included hidden camera footage of company managing director MarkRead More