Africa at a glance

Friday June 14 2019

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni and singer Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine.

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni, 74, and singer Robert Kyagulanyi, 37, a member of Parliament who has said he is ready to challenge the incumbent in elections set for 2021. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

WHO emergency panel meets on Ebola after Uganda deaths

The World Health Organization emergency committee will decide Friday whether to declare a raging Ebola epidemic an international threat, after an outbreak that began in Democratic Republic of Congo crossed into Uganda.

The WHO panel, which was formed in 2005, has used the label "public health emergency of international concern" for only four previous epidemics.

Those emergencies included the H1N1, or swine flu, pandemic of 2009, the spread of poliovirus in 2014, the Ebola epidemic that devastated parts of West Africa from 2014 to 2016 and the surge of the Zika virus in 2016.

The current Ebola crisis, which began in eastern DRC in August, has recorded more than 2,000 cases, two-thirds of them deadly.

Time-honoured tactics to the fore as I. Coast confronts dengue peril

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Ivory Coast is using time-honoured tactics to control a Dengue outbreak that has killed two people and left 130 others sick.

Labour intensive spraying and awareness campaigns are the only options available to Ivory Coast because the country can not afford an existing vaccine, that also has some side effects also.

Up to 100 million cases of Dengue are reported each year with 20,000 fatalities mostly in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific.

Sudan military says survived coup attempts

Sudan's ruling military council has said it has survived "more than one coup attempt" that were planned by two groups of officers.

Military spokesman Shamseddine Kabbashi told a media briefing that the officers had been taken into custody after the attempts were thwarted in recent days.

He did not give details amid skepticism that there were such attempts at all.

The military has styled its rule as the only avenue that would ensure the country does not slide into civil war after the removal of Omar al Bashir, who was charged with corruption on Thursday, in April.

Group threatens to assassinate Mozambique opposition leader

A group purporting to be the military wing of Mozambique's main opposition party Renamo has threatened to kill the party's leader, Ossufo Momade, if he does not step down.
"If Ossufo doesn't want to go, we will kill him... he has destroyed our party," a spokesman for the group, Mariano Nhongo, said at a news conference held on Wednesday in the mountainous centre of the country.

He was surrounded by a handful of men holding assault rifles.

The group also threatened to derail peace talks between Momade and Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi aimed at the complete disarmament of Renamo whose spokesman Jose Manteigas downplayed the threat.

Amid privacy firestorm, Facebook curbs research tool

Facebook has restricted access to a controversial feature allowing searches of the vast content within the social network popular with researchers and journalists.

Graph search, a feature introduced in 2013 has raised privacy concerns especially after Cambridge Analytica hijacked personal data of tens of millions of Facebook users for its political consultancy work in countries like Kenya.

On the positive side, the tool has helped researchers, rights activists and journalists track activity of suspected war criminals and human traffickers and to monitor extremists.

Facebook said it was working with researchers to see how this positive role can be safeguarded.

Semenya: Swiss court denies IAAF request to reimpose testosterone rules

Switzerland's top court has rejected an IAAF request to re-impose rules obliging double Olympic champion Caster Semenya to lower her testosterone before competing in certain events.

A statement from her legal team on Thursday said the rejection, the court was yet to confirm, meant Semenya will continue competing without restriction in female races.

The rules require women with higher than normal male hormone levels, a condition known as hyperandrogenism, to artificially lower the amount of testosterone in their bodies if they are to compete in middle distance races from 400 metres to 1600 metres.

Fighting kills at least 50 in eastern DR Congo

At least 50 people have been killed in violence over several days in Ituri, a volatile province in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, by still unidentified assailants.

Governor Jean Bamanisa Saidi said 50 had been killed by Tuesday but the figure could be higher.

Sources said the fighting began last Friday and escalated on Monday, affecting the territory of Djugu north of the provincial capital of Bunia.

Tens of thousands died in clashes between the Hema and Lendu ethnic groups in the province between 1999 and 2003.

DR Congo seeks membership of East African trade bloc

Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi said Thursday that his country was seeking to join the East African Community, a regional political and economic bloc.

The DRC shares borders with four of the six members of the bloc, and Tshisekedi said on a visit to Tanzania, home to EAC headquarters, that he hoped membership would ease trade.
"This will allow us to drop customs barriers and increase trade between our countries," Tshisekedi said at a dinner with his counterpart John Magufuli.

He gave his support to a planned railway linking Tanzania's port at Dar es Salaam to the eastern DRC via Rwanda, whose President Paul Kagame backs the DRC bid.

UN peacekeepers probe Darfur killings, raise death toll to 17

UN peacekeepers are probing killings this week in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region, raising the death toll to 17 from nine.

The shootings took place in the village of Al-Dalij in the state of Central Darfur on Monday, a doctors' committee close to the country's protest movement said, blaming the "massacre" on Janjaweed militiamen.

The Janjaweed, a militia accused by rights groups of widespread abuses in Darfur at the height of the conflict in the region, has been absorbed into Sudan's paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

Ugandan pop star turned opposition figure 'ready to take on' Museveni

Ugandan pop star turned leading opposition figure Bobi Wine, 37, said Thursday he was ready to take on veteran President Yoweri Museveni in the 2021 elections.

Now an opposition MP, the singer said the decision on him running would depend on his advisors and political allies.

"If my team decides that I am the right person to challenge President Museveni, I am ready to take him on," Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, told AFP in an interview in Paris, France.

UN Security Council to meet on tanker attacks

The UN Security Council met behind closed doors on Thursday over the suspected attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, a strategic sea lane.

The attacks came amid spiralling tensions between Tehran and Washington which blames Iran for earlier tanker attacks in May.

The United States requested the meeting as UN Chief Antonio Guterres warned the world cannot afford a major confrontation in the Gulf.

The attacks led to a surge in World oil prices.

Aerosol chemotherapy offers breath of hope for stomach cancer sufferers

A new form of therapy (PIPAC) dispersed by aerosol being trialled in seven France hospitals has shown fewer side effects compared to chemotherapy.

The less intrusive procedure does not inject drugs into the bloodstream. Instead, general anaesthesia is followed by treatment through a small incision in the abdominal wall (laparoscopy).

Chemotherapy into the peritoneal cavity is then administered through an aerosol spray.

Doctors in the trials say it eliminates the harmful effects associated with the circulation of the treatment within the blood.

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