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Ottawa (AFP) Canadian peacekeepers backed by helicopters will join UN Blue Helmets in the troubled west African nation of Mali before autumn, a government source said on Friday. Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan is to provide details of the number of troops on Monday, said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity about what will be Canada’s first mission to Africa since Rwanda in 1994. Jihadists have ramped up their activities in central Mali in recent months, targeting domestic and foreign forces in violence once confined to the country’s north. FourRead More
Erfoud (Morocco) (AFP) Battling gusts of sandy wind, riders from across the world struggled to control feisty stallions as they raced in the first Gallops of Morocco, a desert endurance challenge. In a country with an ancient history of horsemanship, the event in the wilderness of Merzouga was the first of its kind — a six-day test of stamina, navigation and teamwork. Competitors spend four to seven hours a day in the saddle, covering up to 30 kilometres (18 miles) of rough terrain a day. “You need a certain physicalRead More
Johannesburg (AFP) A South African supermarket chain has withdrawn a third brand of sausages after the world’s worst listeria outbreak which has claimed at least 183 lives since January last year. Shoprite said it would no longer be selling farmer’s Deli sausages as a precautionary measure as “the presence of Listeria monocytogenes was identified in an initial testing of a single batch of red Viennas.” It said more tests were needed to confirm “harmful levels of Listeria bacteria. “The results of the further testing will take another five working days.Read More
Port Louis (Mauritius) (AFP) Mauritius President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, who has been embroiled in a financial scandal, resigned on Saturday, her lawyer said, just days after she refused to stand down. Gurib-Fakim, Africa’s only female head of state, submitted her resignation in the “national interest,” her lawyer Yousouf Mohamed told reporters, adding that it would take effect on March 23. She has vowed to fight the accusations — that she used a bank card provided by an NGO to make personal purchases, including jewellery and luxury goods worth at least 25,000Read More
Port Louis (Mauritius) (AFP) Mauritius President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim resigned on Saturday after being embroiled in a scandal over her use of a credit card to buy luxury personal items, in an abrupt change of heart after vowing she would not stand down. Gurib-Fakim, Africa’s only female head of state, submitted her resignation in the “national interest,” her lawyer Yousouf Mohamed told reporters. He said her resignation would take effect on March 23, a move that will bring down the curtain on a saga that has gripped the Indian Ocean archipelagoRead More
Lagos (AFP) Nigeria was on Friday urged to re-open investigations into 89 oil spills in its southern delta region, after claims that Shell and ENI misreported the causes. Rights group Amnesty International said there were “reasonable doubts” about how the spills happened, suggesting corrosion rather than oil theft were behind the pollution. A total of 46 spills came from pipelines operated by Shell’s local subsidiary, the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, and 43 from ENI’s Nigerian Agip Oil Company, it added. The call was made after crowd-sourced analysis ofRead More
Harare (AFP) Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Friday that the country “has moved on” in response to claims by former president Robert Mugabe that he was ousted in an illegal “coup d’etat”. Mnangagwa added in a short statement that he “noted recent remarks made to the media” by Mugabe who spoke to foreign journalists at a location in Harare on Thursday. It was Mugabe’s first public statement since his resignation in November which was triggered by a brief military takeover and the threat of a no-confidence motion tabled in parliamentRead More
Singapore (AFP) A Ghanaian schoolteacher who used chalkboard drawings to teach computer science because his farming village had no laptops found himself the star of a global conference in Singapore. Richard Appiah Akoto, who drew coloured chalk diagrams to teach impoverished rural pupils how a PC works, rubbed shoulders with Silicon Valley hotshots in the glitzy Asian tech hub. Akoto, who had never been outside of Ghana before, said he was invited to the Microsoft-sponsored meet after video of his jury-rigged lessons went viral. Facebook users delighted in his intricatelyRead More
Addis Ababa (AFP) More than six years in jail have not blunted Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega’s criticism of the government that put him there. He was released in February, as part of a broad prisoner amnesty, and remains just as defiant, just as determined as when he was locked up for writing critical articles. “I am prepared to go back to prison,” Eskinder, 47, said in an interview in the Ethiopian capital this week. “What I am not prepared to do is give up.” “We will continue to press andRead More
Pretoria (AFP) Former South African president Jacob Zuma will face prosecution on corruption charges that haunted much of his term in office, the country’s chief prosecutor said Friday. Zuma is accused of taking kickbacks from the $5 billion purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and other arms, manufactured by five European firms, including British military equipment maker BAE Systems and French company Thales. National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku confirmed to AFP that Thales would also face prosecution, alongside Zuma. Thales declined to make any immediate comment. “After considerationRead More