Asia most exposed to disasters, Africa most vulnerable: study

PARIS, France (AFP) — Countries and mega-cities across Asia are highly exposed to natural hazards ranging from cyclones to earthquakes, but people in sub-Saharan Africa are more vulnerable, according to a report released Wednesday. Nearly 1.4 billion people in South Asia — India, Bangladesh, Pakistan — face at least one major threat from Nature, especially flooding, severe storms boosted by rising seas, and quakes. In the case of Bangladesh, 100 percent of its population is […]

South Sudan is dying, and nobody is counting

by Peter MARTELL Nairobi, Kenya (AFP) — The many ways people have died during South Sudan’s two-year civil war are well-documented, but the number killed is unknown. Men, women and children have been shot, speared, burned, castrated, hung, drowned, run over, suffocated, starved and blown up, their corpses abandoned where they fell, bulldozed into mass graves or, in at least one case, eaten in ritual cannibalism. But the UN has stuck to a guesstimate of 10,000 […]

S.Africa’s Zuma faces no-confidence vote in parliament

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AFP) — Beleaguered South African President Jacob Zuma Tuesday faced a no-confidence vote in parliament  for a second time in less than a year and a legal bid to reinstate corruption charges against him. The mounting pressure on the president comes against a background of economic crisis sparked by his firing of two finance ministers within days in December. The fallout was followed by a public row between the respected new Finance Minister […]

Hundreds protest in Cairo over police shooting

CAIRO, Egypt (Reuters) — Hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the Cairo security directorate on Thursday (February 18) night after a policeman shot dead a man in the street, in the latest outburst of anger over alleged police brutality in Egypt. A statement from the Cairo security directorate said the policeman had shot dead a driver after an argument and was forced to flee a mob of local people who attempted to catch and […]

Egypt train crash leaves more than 100 injured – local media

BENI SUEF, Egypt (Reuters) — Over 100 people were wounded when a train crashed into concrete south of Cairo in the early hours of Thursday morning (February 11), according to Al-Ahram state media. Tens of ambulances were rushed to the scene to treat the wounded, however local news reports said that the injuries were minimal. The train was headed from Aswan to the capital Cairo. The train collided with a concrete block which led it […]

Female suicide bombers kill over 60 people in northeast Nigeria -officials

DIKWA, Nigeria (Reuters) — Two female suicide bombers killed more than 60 people at a camp for people displaced by an insurgency of the jihadist Boko Haram group in the northeast Nigerian town of Dikwa, military and emergency officials said on Wednesday (February 10). The attack occurred 85 km (50 miles) outside the capital of Borno state, centre of the seven-year insurgency, they said. It took place on Tuesday (February 9), but a breakdown in […]

Even staple food demonstrates Nigeria’s economic vulnerability

IBADAN, Nigeria (AFP) — Cassava, the starch rusty-coloured root that is a staple in Nigeria, is a paradigm of the problem the import-dependent nation now faces as the plunge in oil prices crimps the economy. The root is used to make “eba” and “fufu” — filling pastes that are beloved dishes in Nigerian homes — but there are a myriad of uses for cassava, including making flour and beer. The problem — and opportunity — […]

101 die in Nigeria from Lassa fever outbreak

A growing Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria has killed 101 people, as West Africa battles to contain a flare-up of the virus, according to data from the nation’s health authorities released Saturday. Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) statistics show that reported cases of the haemorrhagic disease — both confirmed and suspected — stood at 175 with a total of 101 deaths since August. “As at today, 19 (including Abuja) states are currently following up […]

Grave robbers plunder hundreds of tombs in Sierra Leone

(Freetown, Sierra Leone | AFP) — New security measures were in place Sunday at cemeteries in the Sierra Leone capital Freetown after grave robbers used pickaxes and sledge hammers to pry open tombs and steal coffins and jewellery. Around 250 graves were targeted in three of Freetown’s seven cemeteries over the past two months, Freetown City Council said in a statement on Saturday. At one of the cemeteries targeted, Kingtom, 60 percent of the more than […]

WHO warns of possible spread of Zika virus to Africa, Asia

REUTERS — The mosquito-borne Zika virus linked to an outbreak of birth defects in Latin America could spread to Asia and Africa, the World Health Organization told a press briefing at its Geneva-based headquarters on Tuesday. “The complications of this relatively mild illness do have potentially devastating effects, for families to have a child with microcephaly, and to have a tenfold increase in numbers and the potential for spread, not just across Latin America, but […]

At least 65 people killed in attack in Nigeria’s Maiduguri

  (Reuters) — At least 65 people were killed during an attack by Islamist militant group Boko Haram near Nigeria’s northeastern city of Maiduguri on Saturday (January 30), a Reuters reporter said after counting bodies at a hospital morgue. The remains of a dozen victims were burnt beyond recognition in Saturday’s attack when militants opened fire on residents, set fire to houses and targeted a crowd with suicide bombers, security and medical officials said. A […]

Amnesty says satellite images show five possible Burundi mass graves

Satellite images show five possible mass graves on the outskirts of Burundi’s capital at sites consistent with testimony by witnesses who accused security forces of killing dozens of people in December, Amnesty International said on Friday (January 29). Witnesses said graves were dug on the afternoon of Dec. 11, and before and after images and video footage show disturbed earth at five sites in the Buringa area on the edge of Bujumbura, rights group Amnesty […]