Information round to clock

    • Monday 09 July
    • Treacherous Thai cave rescue bid enters day two

      - 12h20

      A treacherous rescue bid to free a youth football team trapped in a flooded Thai cave entered its second day Monday, with nine of the “Wild Boars” still inside after elite divers guided four out.

      Looming rain was one of the main enemies of the operation, threatening to flood the cave complex in mountainous northern Thailand, although a bewildering array of other dangers could also doom the escape plans.

      Thais have been fixated on the crisis, hoping desperately for the safe return of the boys and their 25-year-old coach, since they became trapped in the Tham Luang cave complex on June 23 because of rising waters.

      They spent nine days unaccounted for inside the cave, before British divers found the emaciated and dishevelled group huddling on a muddy bank above the flooding.

      On Sunday four members of the “Wild Boar” team were successfully brought out from the cave, after authorities decided they had to rush ahead with a rescue operation to beat monsoon rains.

    • Treacherous Thai cave rescue bid enters day two

      - 12h14

      A treacherous rescue bid to free a youth football team trapped in a flooded Thai cave entered its second day Monday, with nine of the “Wild Boars” still inside after elite divers guided four out.

      Looming rain was one of the main enemies of the operation, threatening to flood the cave complex in mountainous northern Thailand, although a bewildering array of other dangers could also doom the escape plans.

      Thais have been fixated on the crisis, hoping desperately for the safe return of the boys and their 25-year-old coach, since they became trapped in the Tham Luang cave complex on June 23 because of rising waters.

      They spent nine days unaccounted for inside the cave, before British divers found the emaciated and dishevelled group huddling on a muddy bank above the flooding.

      On Sunday four members of the “Wild Boar” team were successfully brought out from the cave, after authorities decided they had to rush ahead with a rescue operation to beat monsoon rains.

    • Bosnia unwilling to play EU’s migration border guard

      - 12h13

      As EU states look to stem migrant flows to the continent, aspiring European Union member Bosnia is caught in the middle, with thousands of immigrants stuck in the impoverished Balkan country.

      The vast majority of migrants and refugees aim to claim asylum inside the 28-nation EU and Bosnia is irritated at European plans which would see their movement halted at its frontier — in effect making Bosnia the continent’s border guard.

      In early June, the European Commission agreed to provide Bosnia with 1.5 million euros ($1.7 million) to help cope with the arrivals seeking to reach the EU.

      As a key section of the migrant route into Western Europe, Bosnia decided to set up a reception centre in Velika Kladusa, in the country’s northwest, near the border with EU member Croatia.

    • CEMAC Nanbudo tournament: Cameroon wins 17 gold medals

      - 08h54

      Cameroon has grabbed 17 Gold Medals at 2nd edition of the CEMAC International Nanbudo tournament in Yaoundé.

    • Friday 06 July
    • Ethiopia approves $12.6b annual budget

      - 17h22

      The Ethiopian Parliament on Friday approved a $12.6 billion budget for the country’s fiscal year beginning on July 8, 2018.The budget has seen a 3.6 percent increase compared to the just ending fiscal year.

      Responding to questions of MPs before approving the budget, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said a significant portion of the budget will be set aside for poverty reduction, tailored to financing water, agriculture and education, as well as roads and manufacturing.

      Of the total budget, more than $3.3 billion was allotted for regular expenditure; $4.1 billion was for capital expenditure, $4.9 billion for regional subsidy and $218 million for the Sustainable Development Goals.

      According to the premier, the nation registered less than 10 percent economic growth this year, lower than the previous years’, which is mainly attributable to poor performance of the export sector and tax collection, among others.

    • Nigerian Senate leader cleared of corruption charges

      - 17h18

      Nigeria’s Supreme Court on Friday cleared the country’s Senate leader of all corruption charges, ending a long-running legal battle that he criticised as politically motivated.

      Bukola Saraki had been on trial for three years on charges of false declaration of assets during his time as the governor of Kwara state between 2003 and 2011.

      An ethics tribunal last June declared he had no case to answer but Nigeria’s main anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, challenged the ruling.

      The court of appeal then ordered Saraki to be tried again on three of 18 charges.

    • Namibia: Eco Atlantic to hold public hearing ahead of oil drilling

      - 17h16

      The Toronto Stock Exchange and AIM-listed oil and gas exploration company, Eco Atlantic, will hold public hearings regarding the application of Environmental Clearance Certificate, which is required in order to be granted an oil drilling permit for its Cooper Block in the Walvis Oil Basin off the Namibian coast.The company has placed adverts in the local press for public meetings to taking place on 18 July 2018 in Windhoek and on 20 July 2018 in Walvis Bay.

      During the course of these public hearing sessions, interested and affected parties will be invited to submit their comments, inputs and objections for the proposed well operation on the Osprey Prospect.

      This is the final stage in the drilling permit application process, required for the commencement of the drill programme for which planning is expected to start later this year, according to Collin Kinley, chief operating officer and director of Eco Atlantic.

    • Syria rebels say close to deal with Russia on south

      - 17h14

      Rebels in southern Syria said on Friday they were close to reaching a deal with regime ally Russia including a ceasefire and the handover of some territory.

      A meeting between rebel and Russian negotiators was still continuing on Friday afternoon with no confirmation of a final agreement.

      But its broad outlines were described to AFP by two spokesmen for the joint opposition command in the south.

      Hussein Abazeed said a ceasefire would take hold in the southern province of Daraa, known as the “cradle” of Syria’s uprising.

      “Rebels will hand over their heavy-duty weapons in stages in exchange for the regime withdrawing from four towns” it had recently recaptured, said Abazeed.

      Government forces would then take control of a key route running along the border with Jordan, up to the Nassib border crossing.

    • Russia drops ‘narcotics’ case against mother of sick boy

      - 17h11

      Russian police on Friday dropped a controversial case against a single mother of an incurably-ill child who faced up to eight years in prison for trying to sell anti-seizure medication.

      The rare turnabout by the Russian authorities came after an outcry from charity workers, journalists and the general public over the fate of mother-of-two Yekaterina Konnova.

      Last month, police opened a criminal narcotics case after Konnova bought diazepam rectal gel — which is not legally available in Russia — to treat her six-year-old son Arseny who was having epileptic seizures.

      Diazepam rectal gel tubes are widely used in the West to treat seizures and anxiety.

      The medication is available in ampoules in Russia, while gel tubes — which are more convenient to administer and cause no pain — are not licensed in the country.

    • Thursday 05 July
    • Waves of strikes pound south Syria after talks fail

      - 12h08

      Waves of air strikes pounded rebel-held areas of southern Syria on Thursday as pro-regime forces launched their most intensive bombing campaign yet in a two-week-old offensive.

      The renewed assault came after the failure on Wednesday of Russian-brokered talks to end the offensive in Daraa province, which has killed dozens and forced tens of thousands from their homes.

      An AFP correspondent on the edge of the rebel-held south of the city of Daraa, the divided provincial capital, said the bombing of rebel neighbourhoods was the most intensive since the launch of the Russian-backed offensive on June 19.

      The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said hundreds of missiles and crude barrel bombs were unleashed by Syrian and Russian aircraft overnight.

    • Jaguar warns ‘bad Brexit’ could kill new investment

      - 12h06

      Iconic British carmaker Jaguar Land Rover warned Thursday that a “bad” Brexit deal could jeopardise planned investment of more than $100 billion, upping corporate pressure as the government heads into crucial talks.

      The news comes after major European manufacturers Airbus, BMW and Siemens also warned in recent weeks that Brexit could mean their pulling investment out of Britain, imperilling many thousands of jobs.

      The chief executive of the British-based auto group, which is owned by India’s Tata Motors, said its “heart and soul was in the UK”.

      “However, we, and our partners in the supply chain, face an unpredictable future if the Brexit negotiations do not maintain free and frictionless trade with the EU and unrestricted access to the single market,” CEO Ralf Speth said.

    • Wednesday 04 July
    • Iraq launches major anti-IS operation after killings

      - 11h52

      Iraqi forces launched a major operation against remnants of the Islamic State group on Wednesday following public anger over the jihadists’ murder of a group of abducted civilians.

      Dubbed “Vengeance for the Martyrs”, the operation will see army, special forces, police and Kurdish peshmerga fighters hunting down IS cells in the centre of the country, Iraq’s Joint Operations Command (JOC) said in a statement.

      It comes after the bodies of eight IS captives were found late last month along a highway north of Baghdad. Some of the abductees had appeared in a video in which IS threatened to execute them unless Baghdad released female prisoners.

      The JOC statement said army, federal police, special forces, peshmerga fighters and the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force had launched “a vast operation to clear out the region east of the Diyala-Kirkuk” highway.

    • Trump reverses Obama-era race guidelines for admissions

      - 11h49

      President Donald Trump’s administration took steps Tuesday to rescind Obama-era guidelines that encouraged schools to take applicants’ race and ethnicity into account to promote diversity.

      The move indicates federal support for schools to adopt a race-blind admissions process and brings the highly contentious issue of affirmative action once again to the fore.

      The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld — though with an increasingly narrow view — the practice of considering race as a factor in order to ensure minorities are integrated at elite US educational institutions.

      But the policy shift enacted by the Trump administration and the retirement of key swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy at the end of this month — with his replacement likely far more conservative — spell trouble for affirmative action.

    • France’s Macron in Nigeria to talk security, boost culture

      - 11h36

      French President Emmanuel Macron met with his Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja before taking off his jacket and tie in Lagos to celebrate African culture.

      Macron’s high-voltage visit to the Shrine — Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti’s music venue — was part of his latest attempt to forge closer ties with English-speaking Africa.

      “I’m very happy to be here with you tonight,” said Macron, addressing the cheering and whistling crowd in English.

      Macron’s jet touched down in Abuja from Mauritania, where he attended the final day of an African Union summit dominated by security issues in the restive Sahel region.

      He was met on the tarmac by Nigeria’s foreign minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, before the presidential convoy left for Buhari’s Aso Rock residence on the edge of the capital.

    • Polish Supreme Court’s top judge defies ‘purge’

      - 11h26

      Poland’s Supreme Court chief justice showed up at work on Wednesday in defiance of a retirement law pushed through by the right-wing government but criticised by the EU as undermining judicial independence.

      The European Union on Monday launched legal action against Poland over the reform, the latest salvo in a bitter battle over sweeping judicial changes introduced by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) government that critics have decried as unconstitutional.

      According to Amnesty International, judges in Poland are “experiencing political pressure” in connection with the PiS judicial reforms that critics insist pose a threat to the separation of powers that is key to democracy.

      Malgorzata Gersdorf has branded the PiS reform, which lowers the retirement age of its judges from 70 to 65, as a “purge of the Supreme Court conducted under the guise of retirement reform.”

      Insisting that “the constitution gives me a six-year term,” Gersdorf, who is 65, has refused to comply with the reforms that require her to step down immediately, cutting short her tenure slated to end in 2020.

    • Polish Supreme Court’s top judge defies ‘purge’

      - 11h23

      Poland’s Supreme Court chief justice showed up at work on Wednesday in defiance of a retirement law pushed through by the right-wing government but criticised by the EU as undermining judicial independence.

      The European Union on Monday launched legal action against Poland over the reform, the latest salvo in a bitter battle over sweeping judicial changes introduced by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) government that critics have decried as unconstitutional.

      According to Amnesty International, judges in Poland are “experiencing political pressure” in connection with the PiS judicial reforms that critics insist pose a threat to the separation of powers that is key to democracy.

      Malgorzata Gersdorf has branded the PiS reform, which lowers the retirement age of its judges from 70 to 65, as a “purge of the Supreme Court conducted under the guise of retirement reform.”

    • Ex-Malaysian PM Najib appears in court on graft charges

      - 11h20

      Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak arrived in court Wednesday to face charges he embezzled millions of dollars of public money, in a stunning fall from grace for a national leader.

      Supporters shouted “Freedom!” and a scrum of journalists greeted Najib, 64, as he became the first ex-premier in Malaysia to appear in front of a judge.

      A tired-looking Najib was escorted by around 20 police officers into a courtroom where he was to face a prosecution team led by the country’s attorney general.

      The dramatic entrance came the day after the fallen leader was arrested at his luxury home by officers probing how billions of dollars of state funds disappeared on his watch.

    • Tuesday 03 July
    • Israel to punish Palestinian payments to prisoner families

      - 13h39

      Israel’s parliament has passed a law to freeze money transferred to the Palestinian Authority over its payments to the families of Palestinians jailed for attacks on Israelis.

      The legislation was approved late Monday and gives the Israeli government powers to withhold an amount of money based on what is paid to the prisoners and their families.

      Israel collects around $127 million a month in customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli ports and then transfers it to the Palestinian Authority.

      A sponsor of the legislation says the PA pays around $330 million a year to prisoners and their families, amounting to seven percent of its budget.

      Israel has withheld payments in the past, notably in response to the Palestinians’ 2011 admission to the UN cultural agency UNESCO as a full member.

    • Former Malaysian PM Najib arrested over huge graft probe

      - 13h37

      Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was arrested by anti-corruption investigators Tuesday, officials said, the latest dramatic development in a widening graft probe that has engulfed the ex-leader.

      Najib, 64, will be charged Wednesday, a taskforce set up to probe wrongdoing at state fund 1MDB said in a statement, adding he was apprehended “at his home”.

      The arrest is the latest in a series of stunning moves by investigators that suggest the legal noose is tightening around Najib, his family and many of his close political and business allies.

      Allegations of massive corruption were a major factor behind the shock election loss in May of Najib’s long-ruling coalition to a reformist alliance headed by his former mentor Mahathir Mohamad.

      Najib and his cronies were accused of plundering billions of dollars from the 1MDB sovereign wealth fund to buy everything from US real estate to artworks.

    • Turkish inflation tops 15% for first time since 2003

      - 13h36

      Inflation in Turkey surged to over 15 percent in June for the first time in almost one-and-a-half decades, official statistics showed Tuesday, putting new pressure on the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to quell rising prices.

      Consumer prices rose 15.39 percent in June from the same period the year earlier, sharply up on the 12.15 percent reading in May, according to the Turkish statistics office.

      The highest annual rise in the month was seen in transport services, up 24.26 percent, and in prices of furnishings and household appliances, up 18.91 percent.

      Also among the chief drivers of the rise were sharp hikes in the prices of basic foodstuffs like onions, potatoes and carrots.

      Battling inflation will be a key issue for Erdogan’s new administration after he won presidential and parliamentary elections in the first round on June 24 with new enhanced powers as head of state.

    • Taxman earns S/African minister’s confidence

      - 13h33

      Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has expressed confidence that the South African Revenue Service (SARS) will reach its R1.4 trillion (about US$100 billion) target for the 2018 tax year.“The focus right now is on meeting the target. I have confidence in them to go out there and get it,” Nene said on Monday at a media briefing.

      The minister said while the South African economy might not be doing too well at the moment, he had confidence in the revenue service team to reach the revenue target.

      Nene said the revenue service was key to the economic development of the country, adding that last year SARS received 5.6 million tax returns and was working on surpassing this number.

      Apart from reaching the revenue target, SARS is also working on getting taxpayers to make use of digital platforms (eFiling). The revenue service also is phasing out manual submission drop boxes for taxpayers.

    • Death toll from Lagos tanker blast rises to 12

      - 13h32

      The death toll from a petrol tanker fire and explosion on one of the busiest roads in Nigeria’s commercial hub, Lagos, has risen to 12, the authorities say.

      Nine people were initially said to have died and more than 50 vehicles were burned when a truck carrying 33,000 litres (8,700 US gallons) of petrol suffered brake failure and crashed last Thursday.

      But the sheer size of the blaze and the fact that it occurred on a gridlocked road at rush hour have spurred fears that the toll could be higher.

      Lagos state health commissioner Jide Idris told reporters on Monday the “completely burnt” bodies of 10 people, including a minor, were recovered from the scene.

    • Thursday 21 June
    • Exiled Ethiopian group ‘ready to return home’

      BBC Amharic - 15h10

      The exiled Ethiopian opposition group, Ginbot 7, has declared its support for the reconciliation call by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

      The Eritrea-based rebel group’s statement came shortly after Eritrean President Isaias Afeworki announced his intention to seek peace with Ethiopia on Wednesday.

      The two countries have been in a “no peace, no war” stand off for the past 17 years, following a bloody and inconclusive border war between them.

    • South Sudan’s Salva Kiir and Riek Machar embrace at dinner hosted by Ethiopia PM

      Africanews - 14h55

      South Sudan’s president and rebel leader met on Wednesday for the first time since 2016, when a peace deal collapsed and fighting re-erupted between their forces, the Ethiopian prime minister’s chief of staff said.

      “The PM Abiy Ahmed hosted a private dinner to President Salva Kiir & Dr Rieck Machar together,” Fitsum Arega said on his Twitter account.

      “Faced with the continued suffering in South Sudan, Ethiopia simply can’t stand by. With more work, a peaceful future is possible.”

    • ‘It’s my World Cup’: Defiant Blatter attends Moscow match despite FIFA ban

      Reuters - 14h51

      Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter attended a World Cup match in Moscow on Wednesday, saying the tournament in Russia felt like “my World Cup”, but soccer’s world governing body said his presence did not directly violate his ban from football activities.

      Speaking in front of the Kremlin against of backdrop of football fans queuing to visit Moscow’s Red Square, Blatter said he had advocated Russia be chosen as the World Cup host in 2010.

      “When I arrived yesterday, I saw it a little bit, it’s my World Cup. How I was received here, television, cameras, people photographs and so on,” he said.

    • Cameroon violence ’caused by diaspora on social media’

      BBC Africa - 14h46

      Cameroon’s prime minister has blamed “the diaspora… crouched in the shadows” for the violence which has engulfed parts of the country.

      Yang Philemon accused Cameroonians living overseas of using social media to “spread hate speech and terror” and to even “order murders”.

    • Female suicide bombers injure 15 in Nigeria

      AFP - 14h43

      Two female suicide bombers left 15 people injured in north-eastern Nigeria, news agency AFP reports.

      Borno state police spokesman Edet Okon told the agency the first woman exploded when she was shot by officers near a military base in Maiduguri on Wednesday evening.

      The second woman died after detonating her device near a rickshaw, he added.

    • Monday 18 June
    • Rwanda seeks Cameroon’s support for Francophonie top job

      Cameroun Tribune - 14h22

      The special envoy of the President of Rwanda Paul Kagame on June 14, 2018 handed a message to Prime Minister Philemon Yang to forward to President Paul Biya.

      The Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and East African Community, Louise Mushikiwabo on June 14, 2018 handed a message of her President Paul Kagame to Cameroon’s Prime Minister, Head of Government, Philemon Yang to forward to President Paul Biya. The Prime Minister received the special envoy of the Rwandan President on behalf of President Paul Biya.

    • Wednesday 13 June
    • Morocco lose bid to host 2026 World Cup

      - 12h12

      The 2026 World Cup has been awarded to the USA, Canada and Mexico after voting that took place on Wednesay during the FIFA Ordinary Congress in Russia.

      The vote dash Africa’s hopes of hosting the competition for the second time after Morocco’s bid just fell short of that put up by the three nations

    • Monday 11 June
    • Uganda impose social media tax

      CNN - 17h27

      The Ugandan government has imposed taxes on social media to raise money for the country and to avoid donor aid, a lawmaker told CNN.

      Ugandans will have to cough up 200 Ugandan shillings ($0.05) a day to use popular platforms like Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp.
      President Museveni, who has ruled the country since 1986, is reported in local media as saying that social media encourages gossip.

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