Africa at a glance

Thursday July 11 2019


A man betting on European football games with a mobile phone at a sports betting shop in Kampala, Uganda, on May 6, 2018. Kenya has ordered mobile money companies to disable payment channels of betting companies in a crackdown meant to protect the youth and enforce tax payment. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP.  

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  • Kenya starts crackdown on online betting

A crackdown on online betting firms started on Wednesday with the government asking telcos to disable the mobile money accounts of 27 companies.

The licences of the companies including Sportspesa which sponsors several sports activities in Africa and Europe have also not been renewed, the industry regulator said.

Renewal of the licences is conditional on them signing a new code of operations and paying more than $200m in taxes that the companies have been contesting

  • Zimbabwe opposition leader appears in court

The vice national chairman of Zimbabwe's main opposition party MDC Job Sikhala was on Thursday brought to Bikita magistrates court to face undisclosed charges.


Mr Sikhala was accosted by police officers on Wednesday afternoon at an Inn in Gutu, the party said.

A passer-by who was taking pictures was also seized hours after MDC youth leader Gift Siziba was detained on charges of incitement to commit public violence at an event on Sunday.

  • African Union regrets 'external interference' in Libya

The African Union's High Level Committee on Libya has expressed concern at "outside interference" in the besieged country and proposed the creation of a special joint UN and AU envoy.

The Committee said the external interference continues to undermine efforts to establish a permanent and unconditional ceasefire," the Committee said following the weekend AU summit in Niger.

It said the envoy would strengthen coordination of efforts between the two organisations "on the basis of a single road map" and provide ""unified support to Libyan peace efforts."

A host of Gulf and European interests are at play in Libya where the Libya National Army is fighting the UN backed Government of National Accord for control of the capital Tripoli.

  • eSwatini bans 'witchcraft and magic' competition

The government has banned a competition pitting witchdoctors, traditional healers, doctors and prophets against each other in a battle of skills this weekend in eSwatini, formerly Swaziland.

Government spokesman Percy Simelane said the competition was regarded as an "anomaly in the lives of the people of eSwatini."

Under the the monarchy's Witchcraft Act of 1889, witchcraft, sorcery or the practice of voodoo is a punishable offence.

  • MSF says still looking for 3 staff kidnapped in DR Congo in 2013

The Doctors Without Borders (MSF) medical charity said Wednesday it was still actively looking for three of its workers who were kidnapped six years ago by militiamen in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

In July 2013, four members of an MSF team conducting an exploratory mission on medical needs in North Kivu province were abducted in an attack by the Allied Democratic Forces ( ADF) militia.

One of them escaped in August 2014."The search continues for Philippe Bundya Musongelwa, Richard Muhindo Matabishi and Romy Ya-Dunia Ntibanyendera," MSF said.

The ADF, an Islamist-rooted group that rose in western Uganda in 1995, has been blamed for massacring hundreds of civilians and killing UN peacekeepers and DR Congo troops.

  • Last ever VW Beetle model rolls off Mexican production line

German auto giant Volkswagen launched the final edition of its iconic "Beetle" car from its Mexican factory on Wednesday.

The bug-shaped sedan is the last iteration of a model first manufactured in the late 1930s in Germany and 1954 in Puebla, central Mexico.

The limited, 65-unit run of the "Beetle Final Edition" will be sold in Mexico on the internet for a base price of $21,000 per vehicle, and can be reserved with a $1,000 payment.

Each car includes a commemorative plaque on its left side, numbered from one to 65 and is available in metallic blue, black, white and beige.

  • EU greenlights GSK-Pfizer joint venture

The EU on Wednesday approved the merger of the consumer healthcare activities of pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer that produce over-the-counter medicines.

The European Commission, the EU's anti-trust authority, said the decision came after the UK and US companies agreed to divest Pfizer's ThermaCare pain therapy brand.

The two over-the-counter brands have combined sales of $12 billion that include GSK's Sensodyne toothpaste and Pfizer's Centrum multivitamins.

The tie-up was announced in December 2018 as big pharma looks for new treatments following expiry of patents for some of their lucrative drugs.

  • Consumption of sugary drinks linked with cancer risk: study

Consumption of sugary drinks such as soda and fruit juice is linked to a higher risk of developing certain kinds of cancer, researchers reported in the BMJ medical journal on n Thursday.

The explosion in consumption of the high-calorie beverages has already been associated with an elevated risk of obesity, itself a leading cancer risk factor.

A team of researchers in France found that just a 100 ml increase per day of sugary drinks was associated with an 18 percent increased risk of cancer, and with a 22 percent increase in breast cancer.

During a follow-up, researchers found 2,193 cases of cancer were diagnosed among the 100,000 who participated in the study with the average age at diagnosis being 59 years.

  • Dramatic warming projected in world's major cities by 2050

Scientists from the ETH Zurich have published a study showing that cities in the Northern hemisphere will by 2050 be as hot as those situated 1,000 kilometers towards the equator now.

Closer to the equator, however, African and Asian cities will be spared drastic warming but the impact of climate change will be reflected in more extremes of drought and rainfall.

The scientists published their work in PLOS ONE on Wednesday suggesting London's climate will resemble Madrid's today; Paris will be more like Canberra; Stockholm like Budapest and Moscow like Sofia.

  • Vatican to dig up graves in search for missing teen

The Vatican will dig up two graves at the Teutonic Cemetery on Thursday after an anonymous tip-off that they may contain the remains of an Italian teenager who went missing 36 years ago.

Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of Vatican employee, was last seen leaving a music class aged 15.

The exhumation comes after the family's lawyer received a tip-off with a picture of an angel-topped grave in the cemetery, and a message which simply read: "Look where the angel is pointing".