Information round to clock
- Tuesday 14 August
Erdogan says Turkey to ‘boycott’ US electronic goods- 15h07
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said Turkey would boycott US electronic goods in retaliation for punitive sanctions by Washington against Ankara over the detention of an American pastor.
“We will boycott US electronic goods,” Erdogan said in a televised speech, raising the stakes in a spat that has seen the Turkish lira plunge to record lows.
“If (the United States) have the iPhone, there’s Samsung on the other side,” he said, referring to US giant Apple’s iconic phone and the top South Korean brand.
“We (also) have our Venus and Vestel,” he said about homegrown Turkish electronics brands.
Nigerian Air Force kills bandits in Zamfara state- 15h05
The Nigerian Air Force says the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation Diran Mikiya has killed bandits in Sububu Forest, Birnin Magaji and Rugu Forest in Zamfara State in northern Nigeria.Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, said in Abuja that the successful operation was in conformity with air interdiction and armed reconnaissance missions conducted from August 9 to August 11.
“The attack at Sububu Forest was executed on the afternoon of August 9, following the discovery of the bandits’ hideout within the forest,” he said.
Earlier in the morning on the same day, he said that ATF conducted a coordinated clearance operation involving NAF Special Forces at the suspected armed bandits’ camp on the outskirts of Galadi in the Northwest of Zamfara State.
EU faces fresh standoff over Aquarius migrant boat- 15h04
European countries faced pressure on Tuesday to resolve a fresh standoff with the operators of the migrant rescue ship Aquarius which is stranded for the second time in the Mediterranean carrying 141 people.
France said it was in touch with other EU nations to “rapidly” find a port where the Aquarius could dock after it was refused entry by Italy and Malta, the two countries closest to its current location.
The Aquarius, which was left stranded with 630 migrants on board in June after being turned away by Rome and Valletta, resumed rescue operations off the Libyan coast last week.
In a statement late on Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron’s office voiced disapproval of Italy’s “very tough political stance” — milder language than two months ago when he accused the populist government of “cynicism and irresponsibility”.
Ebola death toll in DR Congo at 41 – new drug in use- 15h03
Forty-one people have died in the latest outbreak of Ebola in DR Congo, health authorities said on Tuesday, adding that doctors were using a novel drug to treat patients.
Out of 57 recorded cases as of Monday, 41 were fatal, the Congolese Health Ministry and UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) said. Fourteen of the deaths had been confirmed by lab tests, the ministry said.
Last Friday, the ministry put the tally at 37 deaths, either confirmed or suspected.
Foreign tourists get surprise bonanza from Turkey woes- 15h01
The collapse of the Turkish lira has caused trauma as Turks see their purchasing power slashed, but bargain-hunting foreign tourists visiting the country at the peak of the summer season are cashing in on a currency windfall.
Visitors, mainly from Saudi Arabia and Asia, formed long queues in Istanbul outside luxury stores like Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Prada after the lira took a severe hit against dollar, losing over 16 percent of its value on Friday.
“Everything is getting cheaper and cheaper,” said Saudi Arabian tourist Nasir El-Nabir, outside a chic store in an upscale Istanbul neighbourhood.
- Monday 13 August
Mali counts votes after poll worker slain- 16h13
Vote counting was under way across Mali on Monday after a tense presidential runoff in which a poll worker was killed and 100 polling stations were forced to close due to the security threat from Islamist militants.
Security had been drastically boosted ahead of the election’s second round between President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and former finance minister Soumaila Cisse.
But over 100 stations had to be closed in the restive central and northern regions, according to local observer group POCIM.
“Jihadists came this Sunday around 13:30 (1330 GMT) to a polling station in Arkodia,” in the northern Timbuktu region, a local official told AFP.
Britain urges Nigerian youths to rise against corruption- 16h12
Mr. John Primrose, Deputy Head of Office, Department For International Development (DFID) Nigeria, has called on youths to speak up and act against all forms of corruption in the country.Primrose said on the sideline of an event to mark the International Youth Day in Abuja that it was incumbent upon the youths to hold leaders accountable where it was required to promote transparency and good governance.
The DFID official said that the International Youth Day provided a platform where youths of multiple organisations could “come together to share ideas and get energised to move into action”.
“Eliminating this scourge will not happen overnight, and that is why I call on young people everywhere to stand up and have their voices heard.
Iran unveils next generation missile: media- 16h10
Iran’s defence minister unveiled the next generation of Tehran’s Fateh Mobin short-range ballistic missile on Monday, according to conservative news agency Tasnim.
“As promised to our dear people, we will not spare any effort to increase the missile capabilities of the country and we will certainly increase our missile power every day,” the minister, Brigadier General Amir Hatami, said.
He described the new version of the Fateh Mobin as “100-percent domestically made… agile, stealth, tactical (and) precision-guided”.
“Be sure that the greater the pressures and psychological warfare against the great nation of Iran, our will to enhance our defence power in all fields will increase,” he added.
Ghanaian government working to exit IMF programme this year- 16h09
President Nana Akufo-Addo has announced that that government is working very hard to ensure that Ghana exited the International Monetary Fund (IMF) support programme by the end of the year, APA learns here.He noted that although his administration inherited the programme from the previous government, it was working towards getting Ghana out of the deal.
The Daily Graphic reports on Monday that the President said his administration was putting in place sound economic fundamentals to ensure that the support from the Briton Woods institution would no longer be relevant.
- Friday 10 August
Kenya former governor charged over corruption- 11h59
A Kenyan court on Thursday charged former Nairobi governor Evans Kidero with corruption and wasting public funds, following a new crackdown on public graft.
Kidero, who lost in 2017 polls to the ruling coalition, was charged by the Special Economic Crimes Court with attempted fraud and mismanagement of public funds, relating to property transactions.
He is accused of corruption that resulted in the loss of 213 million shillings ($2 million, 1.8 million euros).
Canada asks for help in Saudi dispute- 11h56
Canada is quietly working back channels to prod allies including Germany and Sweden to help resolve its row with Saudi Arabia, a government source confirmed Thursday.
The senior official, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the diplomacy, said Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke with her counterparts in the two European nations.
Germany and Sweden previously were targets of Saudi backlashes for calling out the kingdom for human rights abuses.
Kabila move in DR Congo triggers relief, but uncertainty remains- 11h55
By announcing he is formally stepping aside after 17 years in power, President Joseph Kabila has eased tensions in DR Congo but the volatile country remains gripped by uncertainty ahead of elections due at the end of the year.
Domestic, regional and international pressures are likely to have played a role in the president’s eagerly-awaited decision to pick a successor instead of running again.
But suspicions will run deep that Kabila, by picking a loyalist to contest the December 23 ballot, wants to wield influence behind the throne, analysts say.
“Kabila evacuated the question about his intentions from the agenda by choosing a successor,” Hans Hoebeke, senior analyst for Congo at the International Crisis Group (ICG), told AFP.
Israel flattens Gaza building after new rocket fire- 11h53
An Israeli strike flattened a building in Gaza City on Thursday after a rocket landed deep inside the Jewish state, but tensions appeared to lessen following a deadly flare-up of violence over the previous day.
Gaza militants had earlier Thursday declared a halt to rocket fire and the lack of a strong response to the strike on the building later in the day suggested they were returning to it.
But there were still concerns that violence could again spiral.
- Thursday 09 August
US welcomes Kabila’s decision to not seek re-election- 11h13
The United States on Wednesday welcomed President Joseph Kabila’s decision to step aside and not seek re-election in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but said more must be done to ensure a democratic transfer of power.
Kabila ended months of speculation when his government announced that former interior minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary will be the governing party’s candidate in the December 23 presidential election.
“We welcome reports that President Kabila will not seek a third term in accordance with his country’s constitution,” US Ambassador Nikki Haley said in a statement.
“This development is another step, but there is much more to be done,” she added.
Israel strikes Gaza after rockets fired from enclave- 11h12
Israel launched air strikes on Gaza late Wednesday after dozens of rockets were fired from the enclave into its territory, with injuries reported on both sides.
Smoke plumes could be seen rising from Gaza City following the military’s announcement it was targeting “terror sites in the Gaza Strip”.
At least two Palestinians were wounded in raids aimed targeting a Hamas base in the southern Gaza Strip, the enclave’s health ministry said.
The strikes came after two rockets launched from the coastal enclave hit the town of Sderot, near Gaza’s northern border, police and the army said.
German drug maker sues to halt US execution- 11h12
German drug maker Fresenius Kabi is suing to halt a planned execution in Nebraska, claiming the US state illegally obtained the company’s drugs to use for the lethal injection procedure.
Fresenius Kabi filed the lawsuit Tuesday evening, saying the state was planning to use two of its drugs on August 14 to put to death convicted killer Carey Dean Moore.
Moore is sentenced to death for the 1979 murder of two taxi drivers. He is not contesting his execution order, but it could nevertheless be delayed by the lawsuit.
If carried out, the execution would be Nebraska’s first in 21 years and its first ever lethal injection.
DR Congo’s Kabila backs ex-interior minister for election- 11h10
Ramazani Shadary to be his successor in upcoming elections, the government said on Wednesday.
The announcement came just hours before the deadline for lodging applications for the December 23 election.
Ramazani Shadary, a Kabila loyalist, was among a group of Congolese officials sanctioned by the European Union in 2017 for violations of human rights.
He “will represent our political family in the presidential election,” spokesman Lambert Mende told a press conference.
Skin bleaching in Africa: An ‘addiction’ with risks- 11h09
Dr. Isima Sobande was in medical school when she first heard of mothers who bleached the skin of their babies.
She dismissed it as an urban myth. But it wasn’t long before she saw it with her own eyes.
At a health centre in Lagos, a mother brought in a two-month-old infant who was crying in pain.
“He had very large boils all over his body,” the soft-spoken 27-year-old Nigerian told AFP. “It seemed like they weren’t normal.”
The baby’s mother explained that she had mixed a steroid cream with shea butter and slathered his skin with it in order to make it whiter.
- Tuesday 07 August
EU, US warn Zimbabwe over post-election crackdown- 16h49
The European Union and United States on Tuesday condemned violent attacks targeting the Zimbabwe opposition since elections last week, as 27 supporters of the MDC party were released on bail.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, declared winner of the country’s first ballot since the downfall of Robert Mugabe, again vowed to protect rights, but the government has been accused of overseeing a brutal post-vote crackdown.
Last week’s poll, which was marred by soldiers opening fire at a protest killing six people, was meant to re-launch Zimbabwe on the international stage and attract foreign aid and investment after the repression of the Mugabe era.
Mnangagwa won the presidential vote by a narrow margin, and the opposition Movement for Democratic (MDC) has accused him of rigging the result.
Malaysia’s toppled leader to face new charges- 16h48
Malaysia’s disgraced ex-leader Najib Razak will face new charges in court Wednesday under anti-money laundering laws in a case linked to a multi-billion-dollar graft scandal, authorities said.
The announcement came after Najib, who suffered a shock defeat in May elections, was summoned for a new round of questioning by the anti-corruption agency.
Najib was arrested last month and charged with criminal breach of trust and abusing his position over accusations he pocketed 42 million ringgit ($10.3 million). The new charges he faces are in relation to the same case, the anti-graft agency said in a statement.
Spain heatwave death toll rises to nine- 16h46
Spain’s death toll from a particularly virulent heatwave rose to nine in just one week, authorities said Tuesday, as the country suffers sky-high temperatures.
A 66-year-old man who died on Thursday in the southwestern region of Extremadura near Portugal was found to have died of heat stroke, a spokesman for the regional health department told AFP.
A 75-year-old woman who died two days later also succumbed to heat stroke, he added.
This brings to nine the number of people to have died as a direct consequence of the heatwave.
A 40-year-old German man who was on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage also died from heat stroke in Extremadura, as did an 81-year-old man.
Nigeria: Acting President sacks state security boss- 16h39
The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has directed the termination of the appointment of the Director-General of the Department of State Security (DSS), Mr. Lawal Daura.The termination of the appointment is with immediate effect.
Daura has been directed to hand over to the most senior officer of the DSS until further notice.
Mr. Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, said in a terse statement in Abuja on Tuesday that Daura had been directed to hand over to the most senior officer of the DSS until further notice.
Akande said that the Acting President described the unauthorized takeover of the National Assembly complex earlier on Tuesday as a gross violation of the constitutional order, rule of law and all accepted notions of law and order.
According to him, the unlawful act, which was done without the knowledge of the Presidency is condemnable and completely unacceptable.
- Thursday 02 August
New Zealand PM back to work after maternity leave- 13h56
New Zealand Prime Minister and new mum Jacinda Ardern, only the second world leader to give birth while in office, ended her maternity leave Thursday and immediately announced baby Neve will accompany her to the United Nations next month.
After six weeks bonding with her daughter, the 38-year-old said she was looking forward to getting back to work.
“Absolutely,” she told TVNZ as she marked her first day back with a round of media interviews.
“I feel like I’ve been gifted by the New Zealand public, by my team and with the help of the acting prime minister this time to be with Neve, which has been wonderful.
Strike over long lines shuts Eiffel Tower for second day- 13h55
The Eiffel Tower was turning away tourists for a second day on Thursday as workers pressed a strike over a new access policy which they say is causing unacceptably long wait times for visitors.
The monument has been closed since Wednesday afternoon as unions locked horns with management over a decision to assign separate elevators to visitors with pre-booked tickets and those who buy them on site.
At the same time, the tower now sets aside half of daily tickets for internet customers, up from just 20 percent previously.
Workers say the changes have resulted in lopsided queues that can extend to three hours for those waiting to pay for tickets, and up to an hour for internet customers who are supposed to have reserved time slots.
Fresh tension as Israel reimposes Gaza fuel blockade- 13h54
Israel reimposed a blockade on fuel deliveries to Gaza on Thursday citing a resurgence in kites carrying firebombs over the border and signalling a brief pause in tensions may be ending.
After two deadly military flare-ups in the Gaza Strip and a ceasefire brokered by Egypt and UN officials last month, the number of firebombs being launched over the border to burn Israeli farmland had diminished.
But Wednesday saw seven fires started by the incendiaries, and Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman later announced Israel’s Kerem Shalom goods crossing with Gaza would be closed for fuel deliveries “until further notice.”
“The decision was made in light of the continued terror with Molotov cocktails and the friction on the fence,” Lieberman’s office said, referring to months of clashes along the Gaza border between the army and Palestinian protesters.
Army clear streets as Zimbabwe awaits election results- 13h52
Soldiers and police cleared the streets of central Harare on Thursday as the Zimbabwean authorities came under mounting pressure to release results of presidential elections after a deadly crackdown on protesters.
Landmark elections — the first since autocrat Robert Mugabe was ousted last year — turned bloody on Wednesday when troops opened fire on demonstrations against alleged electoral fraud, leaving three dead and prompting an international outcry.
The government accused the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition party of inciting the unrest and vowed to enforce a security clampdown.
- Wednesday 01 August
Nigeria: Governor of Sokoto State dumps ruling party- 16h46
As the gale of defection continues in Nigeria, the Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, has defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).The governor announced his defection on Wednesday at a news conference in the Government House, Sokoto in north-western Nigeria.
Nigeria’s Channel’s Television report said that the governor made the announcement amid hundreds of supporters who stormed the Government House to declare their support for him.
The report added that the announcement comes after weeks of speculation that Governor Tambuwal was planning to leave the ruling party and one day after he called on Nigerians to reject what he described as “prison-yard democracy”.
Ukrainians protest after acid attack on rights activist- 16h44
Dozens of Ukrainians protested outside the interior ministry in Kiev on Wednesday after an anti-corruption campaigner was seriously injured in a shocking acid attack in the ex-Soviet country.
Activists demanded the ministry make public details of the growing number of attacks on civil rights activists and journalists.
Kateryna Gandzyuk, who works as adviser to the mayor of the southern city of Kherson, was leaving home on Tuesday morning when a young man poured around a litre of acid over her and ran away, Ukrainian media quoted police as saying.
Britain seeks EU nations’ support to avoid ‘messy divorce’- 16h43
Britain has stepped up warnings of the risk that the Brexit talks collapse as it seeks to bypass Brussels and persuade individual European Union nations to back its plans for future economic ties.
Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt visited Vienna on Wednesday, after talks in Paris the day before, and warned “there is a real risk of a messy divorce, which would be a geostrategic mistake”.
His trip was part of a wider European diplomatic offensive by Britain, which will see Prime Minister Theresa May meet French President Emmanuel Macron at his Mediterranean retreat on Friday.
- Tuesday 31 July
Aid sector sex abuse ‘endemic’: British MPs- 10h35
Sexual exploitation is endemic across the international aid sector, which is delusional about its efforts to tackle the problem, a British parliamentary investigation found in a damning report released on Tuesday.
The report on sexual exploitation and abuse in the sector, produced by the International Development Committee scrutiny panel of MPs, said self-regulation had completely failed to deal with the issue.
“The overall impression is one of complacency, verging on complicity,” the report said.