JUST IN: Egypt’s ex-president Hosni Mubarak dead at 91: family

  CAIRO, Egypt (AFP) — Egypt’s former long-time president Hosni Mubarak died Tuesday at age 91 at Cairo’s Galaa military hospital, his family and state TV said. His son Alaa Mubarak tweeted that “this morning my father, president Mubarak, passed away”. Mubarak’s brother-in-law, General Mounir Thabet, told AFP that the family was at the hospital and that the presidential office would organize the funeral. Mubarak had long been battling an illness and recently been admitted […]

Togo leader hails vote win as opposition urges ‘resistance’

LOME, Togo (AFP) — Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbe on Monday hailed a crushing election victory that gave him a fourth term, as his main rival insisted he had won and called on people to “defend” their votes. The incumbent leader took 72 percent of the vote in the first round of Saturday’s presidential poll, the election commission said overnight, far ahead of former prime minister Agbeyome Kodjo on 18 percent. The opposition alleged widespread fraud […]

Locust swarms arrive in South Sudan, threatening more misery

JUBA, South Sudan (AFP) — Swarms of locusts which are wreaking havoc across East Africa have now arrived in South Sudan, the government said Tuesday, threatening more misery in one of the world’s most vulnerable nations. Billions of desert locusts, some in swarms the size of Moscow, have already chomped their way through Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, Eritrea, Tanzania, Sudan and Uganda. Their breeding has been spurred by one of the wettest rainy seasons in […]

Coronavirus cases on Japan ship rise to 355

  YOKOHAMA, Japan (AFP) — The number of people infected with the deadly new coronavirus on a quarantined ship off Japan has risen to 355, the country’s health minister said Sunday, as the United States, Canada and Hong Kong prepare to repatriate their residents on board. The figure is a jump of 70 cases from a government tally released Saturday and comes as Katsunobu Kato voiced worries that the rising infection count among the nation’s […]

Egypt confirms first coronavirus case in Africa

  CAIRO, Egypt (AFP) — Egypt’s health ministry on Friday announced the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in Africa. The sufferer was not Egyptian, the ministry said in a statement, without specifying the nationality. “The ministry has taken preventative measures and is monitoring the patient… who is stable,” said health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed. Egyptian authorities had notified the World Health Organization and the patient been placed in quarantined isolation in hospital. The […]

Equatorial Guinea offers China $2 million for virus fight

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea (AFP) — The tiny central African state of Equatorial Guinea said Wednesday it would give $2 million (1.8 million euros) to China to help it tackle coronavirus. The government, which has developed close ties with Beijing, said the donation was a mark of “support and solidarity.” The new coronavirus has claimed nearly 500 lives, infected more than 24,000 people in mainland China and spread to more than 20 countries since it appeared […]

S.Africa says rhino poaching down 23 percent last year

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AFP) — South Africa recorded a 23 percent drop in the number of rhinos killed by poachers last year, official figures showed Monday. In 2019, 594 rhino were slaughtered for their horns, down from 769 killed in 2018. Poaching is fueled by the demand for rhino horn in Asia, where it is coveted as a traditional medicine or an aphrodisiac, and can fetch up to $60,000 per kilogram. South Africa, home to […]

North Africa football stadiums double as political arenas

  by Hamza Mekouar Agence France-Presse CASABLANCA, Morocco (AFP) — From Casablanca to Algiers via Tunis, the chants belted out across football stadiums echo young North African fans’ frustrations not connected to the highs and lows of the beautiful game. Chants of “F’bladi delmouni!” (“Oppressed in my country!”) at the demonstrations that have been commonplace in Algeria since last year originated on the noisy terraces manned by the ultras of Morocco’s Raja Casablanca. The song of […]

Somalia declares locusts a ‘national emergency’: agriculture ministry

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AFP) — Somalia on Sunday declared a locust infestation sweeping the Horn of Africa to be a national emergency, as insects devastate food supplies in one of the poorest and most vulnerable regions in the world. “The Ministry of Agriculture… has declared a national emergency in view of the current desert locust upsurge, that poses a major threat to Somalia’s fragile food security situation,” the ministry statement read. Experts say the locust swarms […]

African nations take first measures to stop spread of Chinese virus

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea (AFP) — African states, including the continent’s biggest economy Nigeria, on Wednesday said they had begun to introduce measures aimed at stopping the spread of the new coronavirus. No verified infection has been reported to date in sub-Saharan Africa, but elsewhere countries have stopped flights to China and airlifted their citizens out of the area where the virus emerged. Nigeria issued a travel advisory advising “all Nigerians and persons intending to travel […]

In photos: Scenes of locust infestation threatening East Africa; UN warns numbers could double 500 times by June

      “Ravenous swarms” of desert locusts in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, already unprecedented in their size and destructive potential, threaten to ravage the entire East Africa subregion, the UN warned Monday. Recent weather in the region has created conditions that favour rapid reproduction of the crop-devouring insects. Left unchecked, their numbers could grow 500 times by June, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said. “The speed of the pest’s spread and the […]

Madagascar flood victims struggle to pick up the pieces

MAROVOAY, Madagascar (AFP) – Gaëlle Borgia Muddy currents have submerged parts of the town of Marovoay in northwestern Madagascar, flooding homes, swirling rubbish around tree tops and killing dozens. A week of torrential rains have forced thousands to leave their homes, swept buildings away and cut off road links to the rest of the poor Indian Ocean island nation. All of Marovoay’s rice paddies have turned into swamps. “Everything has been swept away by the […]