Malawi’s election cheer dampened by coronavirus surge

LILONGWE – Malawi’s new President Lazarus Chakwera on Saturday ordered his inauguration ceremony be scaled down amid a surge of coronavirus cases, dampening excitement around his election win. Chakwera was sworn in last Sunday for a five-year term, hours after unseating Peter Mutharika in a re-run election, and this Monday the country is holding a formal celebration. Chakwera said capacity at the national stadium would be halved to 20,000 and at least 100,000 face masks…

"Malawi’s election cheer dampened by coronavirus surge"

Suicide car bomber hits checkpoint at Somalia’s Mogadishu port

MOGADISHU – An explosion shook parts of the Somali capital of Mogadishu early on Saturday as a suicide car bomber drove into a checkpoint just outside the port, witnesses said, but police made no immediate comment on casualties. “Metal debris fell all over us inside the port and we heard gunfire,” said a port worker who sought anonymity for security reasons. “Security forces have surrounded the area.” The blast shoook the ground, said Mohammed Ali,…

"Suicide car bomber hits checkpoint at Somalia’s Mogadishu port"

Factbox: What could be causing Botswana’s mystery elephant deaths?

GABORONE – Botswana is investigating hundreds of unexplained elephant deaths in one of Africa’s premier tourist destinations. Botswana is home to a third of Africa’s elephants, and there are concerns that whatever is causing the deaths, first recorded in May, could affect animals in neighbouring countries. Following are some theories as to what could be behind the unexplained deaths. POACHING The government and conservationists ruled out poaching at an early stage because the carcasses have…

"Factbox: What could be causing Botswana’s mystery elephant deaths?"

South Africa’s boozy church struggles with COVID lockdown rules

JOHANNESBURG – When South Africa began easing its coronavirus lockdown in May, it allowed religious worshippers to gather in groups of up to 50, but maintained a ban on people assembling to drink alcohol. That’s a problem for the “Gabola” church — the name means ‘drinking’ in the local Tswana language — for whom a tipple is an integral part of their religious worship. Founded just two years ago, the church tried to hold its…

"South Africa’s boozy church struggles with COVID lockdown rules"

Turkish court tries Saudis in absentia for Khashoggi killing

ISTANBUL – A Turkish court put 20 Saudi officials on trial in absentia on Friday for the gruesome killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi which sparked international outrage and tarnished the image of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler. Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 when he went there seeking papers for his marriage. Some Western governments, as well as the CIA, said they believed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman…

"Turkish court tries Saudis in absentia for Khashoggi killing"

‘Black Lives Matter’ movement stirs Ghanaian artist in COVID-19 limbo

DAKAR – A tear slipped down the cheek of Ghanaian-German artist Zohra Opoku as she recalled how the global Black Lives Matter had kindled her pain and anger while she was stranded away from home due to coronavirus lockdowns. After Senegal closed its borders in March, the internationally renowned visual artist had no option but to remain at a residency in Dakar, where she had been creating large textile collages to explore her self-image after…

"‘Black Lives Matter’ movement stirs Ghanaian artist in COVID-19 limbo"

Russia to reopen embassy in Libya – Ifax cites foreign minister

MOSCOW – Russia has decided to reopen its embassy in Libya, the Interfax news agency cited Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying on Friday. Lavrov said a ceasefire in the Libyan conflict, proposed by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi alongside Libya’s eastern commander Khalifa Haftar in Cairo on June 6, fitted into decisions taken at an international conference in Berlin regarding the situation in the North African country. Lavrov was speaking at the start of…

"Russia to reopen embassy in Libya – Ifax cites foreign minister"

Breakingviews – Review: The callous roots of caffeine capitalism

LONDON ( Breakingviews) – The British author Tim Marshall once wrote that Africa is “equally cursed and blessed by its resources – blessed in so far as it has natural riches in abundance, but cursed because outsiders have long plundered them”. Augustine Sedgewick’s “Coffeeland” describes El Salvador’s own dubious blessing: the fertile soil on the slopes of the Santa Ana Volcano in the west of the Central American country. The problems raised by its dependence…

"Breakingviews – Review: The callous roots of caffeine capitalism"

U.S. welcomes independent probe of report that cleared African Development Bank chief

WASHINGTON – U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday welcomed the African Development Bank’s decision to appoint former Irish President Mary Robinson to lead an independent probe of a report that cleared the bank’s chief of wrongdoing. Mnuchin said undertaking an independent review was fully consistent with a presumption of innocence. “The decision to pursue an independent review demonstrates the strength of the African Development Bank,” he said. The regional development bank’s board on Wednesday…

"U.S. welcomes independent probe of report that cleared African Development Bank chief"

Portugal to take then sell majority stake in Efacec firm of Angola’s dos Santos

LISBON – Portugal will nationalise and then sell the majority stake in engineering firm Efacec Power Solutions that had been controlled by Angolan businesswoman and ex-first daughter Isabel dos Santos, the government said on Thursday. Dos Santos, the daughter of former Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, is a suspect in a fraud investigation in her homeland and withdrew from Efacec’s shareholding structure in January, according to the company. The nationalisation of 71.7% of the…

"Portugal to take then sell majority stake in Efacec firm of Angola’s dos Santos"