Africa at a glance

Friday May 31 2019

Mourners react as the coffin containing the remains of former Congolese Prime Minister and opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi arrives from Belgium, in Kinshasa on May 30, 2019. The remains of Etienne, father of DRC President Felix Tshisekedi, will be buried on Saturday more than two years after his death in Belgium in February 2017 aged 84. PHOTO | JOHN WESSELS | AFP


  • Laboratory fungus 'kills 99 per cent of malaria mosquitoes'

A fungus - genetically enhanced to produce spider toxin - can rapidly kill huge numbers of the mosquitoes that spread malaria, a study suggests.

Trials by the University of Maryland in the US - and the IRSS research institute in Burkina Faso in the African country showed mosquito populations collapsed by 99 per cent within 45 days.

The fungus called Metarhizium pingshaense naturally infects the Anopheles mosquitoes that spread malaria which kills more than 400,000 people per year.

Worldwide, there are about 219 million cases of malaria each year.

  • East African babies saved from Libya clashes

Nearly 150 migrants from East Africa, including 65 minors and 13 babies under one, were rescued from conflict-torn Libya and airlifted to Rome on Thursday by the UN refugee agency.
Those airlifted to safety - including a two-month-old infant - came from Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said.

Nearly 1,000 people have been evacuated from Libya or resettled so far in 2019.

On Thursday, the Italian navy rescued 100 migrants stranded in the Mediterranean but three others died of thirst in the Niger desert after their vehicle broke down.

  • Sudan authorities shut down Al Jazeera office

Sudanese authorities on Thursday shut down news broadcaster Al Jazeera's Khartoum office.

The Qatari television channel said its bureau was abruptly shut down and its journalists banned from reporting in the country with immediate effect, without being given a reason.

The military council and protesters are trading blame over the killing of several protesters in the past two days.

  • Burundi threatens to cut ties with UN envoy

Burundi is threatening to cut ties with the UN envoy appointed to the country, ahead of elections next year, according to UN diplomats.

The UN Security Council abruptly scrapped a meeting on Burundi scheduled for Tuesday after Burundi's government made clear it was ready to end relations with Michel Kafando, council diplomats said.

Kafando, a former president of Burkina Faso, was appointed in 2017 to lead UN efforts in Burundi, which was wracked by more than a decade of war that ended in 2006.

The council will hold a closed-door meeting on Burundi in June following a request by France.

  • Split UN renews South Sudan arms embargo

The UN Security Council on Thursday extended for a year an arms embargo and sanctions on South Sudan despite resistance from African members (Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast and South Africa), Russia and China.
A US-drafted resolution was adopted by a vote of 10 in favor with five abstentions. Resolutions in the 15-member council require a minimum of nine votes for adoption.
The measure renews until May 31, 2020 an arms embargo on South Sudan along with an assets freeze and global travel ban slapped on eight South Sudanese nationals for their role in fuelling the war.

South Sudan had on Tuesday called for lifting of the sanctions which is opposed by a consortium of 16 human rights agencies.

  • Morocco says it nabbed fugitive Italian mobster

An Italian mafia fugitive wanted for drug trafficking, murder, extortion and other alleged crimes has been arrested in Morocco.

Raffaele Vallefuoco, 55, is accused of heading a cell within the Polverino clan of the ruthless Naples-based Camorra organised crime group, the national security agency said in a statement on Thursday.

He was detained in Tangiers on Wednesday under an Italian arrest warrant, with help from Interpol, it said.

The Camorra is one of Italy's three main mafia groups, along with Sicily's Cosa Nostra and the 'Ndrangheta, based mainly in the Calabria region.

  • Cameroon's Siakam ignites Raptors in NBA Finals opener

Pascal Siakam delivered a stellar performance in his NBA Finals debut, scoring a playoff career-best 32 points.

The shots powered the Raptors over defending champion Golden State 118-109 in Thursday's opening game of the best-of-seven championship final.

The lanky forward, Cameroon's first NBA Finals player was discovered in a youth Basketball Without Borders camp.

  • Cameroon declares polio public emergency after 4-year absence

Cameroon has declared a public emergency after reporting a polio case in its far north, four years after the virus disappeared from the country.

The health ministry said on Thursday the confirmed case of polio type 2 was found in the Mada area in the remote north bordering Chad and Nigeria.

Officials suspect the outbreak may have been caused in part by a refusal of vaccinations and the cross-border movement of people.

  • Wall Street dads win $5m from Chase for parental leave discrimination

Wall Street fathers won a major victory on Thursday, with JPMorgan Chase agreeing to pay $5 million to male employees who felt discriminated against over parental leave.

The leading US bank in terms of assets reached an agreement with plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit accusing it of not granting them the same rights as mothers between 2011 and 2017.

The suit was filed jointly by the Ohio branch of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Outten & Golden LLP law firm on behalf of JPMorgan Chase fathers.

  • Uber posts $1 bn first quarter loss despite growing revenue

Ride share leader Uber on Thursday reported a $1 billion loss in the first quarter of this year raising doubts over its path to profitability.

The first earnings report since the company went public came amid ambitions to develop a global brand that helps transform local transportation.

Whether Uber can achieve profitability using this model, as it disrupts traditional taxi and transport services, is the key question.

Uber envisions becoming the "Amazon of transportation" in a future where people share instead of owning vehicles from e-scooters to e-bikes and e-aircraft.

  • Angolan rebel leader Savimbi gets funeral in unity bid

The leader of Angola's rebel UNITA movement, the Jonas Savimbi, will get a public funeral on Saturday, 17 years after he was killed in a shootout with government soldiers that spelt an end to a long civil war.

The group has since been transformed from a a US-backed armed force into the main opposition political party led by Isaias Samakuva.

UNITA's official spokesman Alcides Sakala Simoes declared the funeral would be "an important moment... in the building of national reconciliation" in the oil-rich country.

The former Portuguese colony became a Cold War battleground after independence in 1975 pitting the United States, the Soviet Union, Cuba, South Africa and Zaire in which 500,000 people died.

  • DR Congo opposition leader's body arrives in Kinshasa for funeral

The body of Etienne Tshisekedi, the Democratic Republic of Congo's revered opposition leader and former prime minister, arrived in Kinshasa on Thursday for burial.

The arrival was an emotional moment for the country now led by his son Felix who was ta the head of a delegation at the airport.
An opponent of authoritarianism in DRC, Tshisekedi died in Belgium in February 2017 at the age of 84.
A white coffin draped in the national, flag was unloaded from the plane and escorted away by white-gloved attendants. S

The funeral will be held on Saturday in Nsele and presidents of four African countries - Angola, Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Togo - are expected to attend.