Kenya declares school year ‘lost’, classes back in 2021

NAIROBI, Kenya (AFP) — Kenya on Tuesday declared that its school year was considered lost because of the coronavirus pandemic, and primary and secondary pupils would return to class next January. The school year in the East African country runs from January to November, when it climaxes with end-of-term exams. But Education Minister George Magoha said in a statement that the curve of COVID-19 infections was expected to flatten only by December. As a result, […]

Malawi’s new president inaugurated, calls for national sacrifice

LILONGWE, Malawi (AFP) — Malawi’s new president Lazarus Chakwera called for national sacrifice to transform his country as he was inaugurated on Monday, completing a remarkable turnaround after losing last year’s election. That vote was annulled by Malawi’s top court over “widespread and systematic” irregularities and a re-run election was held on June 23. Chakwera, 65, comfortably beat Peter Mutharika with 58.5 per cent of the vote, marking the first time in African history that […]

Fire in Egypt hospital kills 7 coronavirus patients

CAIRO, Egypt (AFP) — A fire at a hospital in Egypt’s coastal city of Alexandria on Monday killed seven coronavirus patients, security and medical sources said. Seven other people were injured in the blaze, believed to be caused by a malfunctioning air conditioner in an area designated for isolating COVID-19 patients, the sources said. Firefighters stopped it spreading to other hospital buildings, and ambulances were dispatched to transfer patients to other medical facilities, the state-run […]

Flash flooding kills three in Ivory Coast

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AFP) — Torrential rains turned the streets of Ivory Coast’s main city Abidjan into rivers on Thursday, flooding homes, flipping cars, and killing three people. The city’s firefighters said that two people died in the devastation, but a journalist said he saw the body of a third victim. “In half an hour, the water rose a meter and a half (five feet). We had to take refuge on the roof of our […]

Miner becomes millionaire after finding biggest tanzanite stones

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (AFP) — A Tanzanian small-scale miner has become a multi-millionaire after uncovering two of the biggest of the country’s precious tanzanite stones ever found and selling them to the government. Saniniu Kuryan Laizer, 52, found the stones weighing 9.27 and 5.1 kilograms (20.4 and 11.2 pounds) respectively in the northern Mirerani hills, an area which President John Magufuli had fenced off in 2018 to stop smuggling of the gem. He sold […]

DR Congo declares end to Ebola epidemic in east

KINSHASA, DR Congo (AFP) — DR Congo’s government on Thursday officially declared an end to an Ebola epidemic that broke out in the east of the troubled country in August 2018 and went on to claim 2,277 lives. The outbreak was “the longest, most complex and deadliest” in the 60-year history of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Health Minister Eteni Longondo said. It has only been surpassed by the 2013-16 Ebola epidemic in West Africa […]

S. Africa to start Africa’s first coronavirus vaccine pilot

by Sofia CHRISTENSEN JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AFP) — South Africa will roll out the continent’s first coronavirus vaccine trial this week, the university leading the pilot said Tuesday, as the country grapples with the highest number of cases in Africa. The vaccine, developed by the Oxford Jenner Institute, is already being evaluated in Britain, where 4,000 participants have signed up for the trial. South Africa has set out to vaccinate 2,000 people with the vaccine […]

UN urges Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to ‘work together’ in Nile dam dispute

UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) — The UN on Monday urged Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to “work together” to resolve differences over Addis Ababa’s Nile River mega-dam which has been a long-running source of regional tension. At Egypt’s request, the Security Council was scheduled to hold an informal videoconference Monday afternoon to address the dispute. Recent talks failed to produce a deal on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which will […]

Malawi braces for historic presidential election re-run

by Jack McBRAMS LILONGWE, Malawi (AFP) — Malawi goes to the polls on Tuesday in a historic presidential re-run after a court overturned last year’s elections and ordered a fresh vote. Citing “grave” and “widespread” rigging, the country’s constitutional court ruled in February that President Peter Mutharika had not been duly elected, and mandated a new poll within 150 days. The landmark verdict, which reverberated across African politics, made Malawi the second country south of […]

Morocco opens field hospital after spike in virus cases

MOULAY BOUSSELHAM, Morocco (AFP) — A new field hospital in eastern Morocco will from Sunday receive around 700 COVID-19 patients following a sharp spike in infections in the kingdom, the government said. Morocco reported a record single-day rise in novel coronavirus cases on Friday after an outbreak was detected in fruit packing plants in eastern Kenitra province, prompting Rabat to tighten restrictions in the region. The North African kingdom reported more than 500 cases on […]

Morocco reports record spike in virus infections

RABAT, Morocco (AFP)  — Morocco reported on Friday its highest number of confirmed novel coronavirus infections in a single day since recording its first case in March, according to the health ministry. Over 450 of the infections were recorded in the western Rabat-Kenitra region, the health ministry said, noting the cases were “asymptomatic”. Local media reported the source of the outbreak was a strawberry packing plant in the town of Kenitra. Morocco, with a population […]

In midst of pandemic, E. Africa braces for another locust invasion

by Marion DOUET Agence France Presse NAIROBI, Kenya (AFP) — East Africa is bracing for a third outbreak of desert locusts, with billions of the destructive insects about to hatch and threaten food supplies in a region already reeling from damaging rains and the coronavirus pandemic. Spurred by favourable weather conditions, the migratory pests have descended on East Africa in record numbers since late 2019 and another wave is about to take to the skies […]