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South Africa is a Country at War with Itself

South Africa

Sexual offences and murder rates have risen significantly in South Africa over the past year, according to new official crime figures. Murders recorded by by the police are now at their highest level for a decade, and sexual offences including rape have risen by 4.6% since last year. The release of the figures comes amid growing concern about violence against women after a number of high-profile rape cases and murders in recent weeks. Thousands of people took to the streets earlier this month to protest against the attacks.Police Minister Bheki Cele and top police management told Parliament’s police committee that most contact crimes like murder, rape, common assault and robbery were up from the previous financial year. South Africa recorded over 21,000 murders for the 2018/2019 year, an increase of 686 murders from the previous year. The latest crime stats show how all nine provinces have recorded increases in contact crime, with the greatest volumes recorded in KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and the Eastern Cape. This, according to the members of the police committee, needs to be urgently addressed.


Chaos as Zimbabweans View Mugabe’s Body

Mugabe's Body viewing

Numerous people have reportedly been injured in a stampede at the viewing event for founding Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, as those in attendance jostled in an attempt to see the late leader’s body. Prior to this, it was reported that Mugabe’s body had arrived at Rufaro Stadium in Harare where the ceremony is taking place on Thursday afternoon. Earlier, the body was taken to Mugabe’s Harare villa, known as the Blue Roof for its blue pagoda-style structure, where family and supporters gathered to mourn. His body has since been laid out for the public at the stadium and will later be transported to his homestead Zvimba for a wake. President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared Mugabe a national hero after his death, indicating he should be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre monument. These plans were rejected by the late former president’s family, who say the body will be displayed in his home village of Kutama on Sunday night, adding that he will then be buried in a private ceremony.


Giving Victims of Ethiopian Airlines Closure

Victims of Ethiopian Airlines

The International Police Incident Response Team (IRT) has identified the remains of all victims of the March 10 Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crash, 48 of whom were matched through fingerprints. INTERPOL said 100 Disaster Victim Identification experts from 14 countries including Africa, the Americas and Europe worked with the agency’s IRT during a mission that lasted 50 days to identify victims of the tragic accident that is subject of multiple wrongful death lawsuits filed against plane manufacture Boeing in the United States. 157 passengers of 35 nationalities including 36 Kenyans and 22 United Nations affiliated travelers died when flight ET 302 plunged into the ground in Bishoftu, southeast of the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, six minutes after takeoff for a routine flight to Nairobi.


A Platform for Nigerians to Stay Abreast of Global Market Trends

Global Market Trends

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has introduced a mobile app, X-Mobile. The user-friendly app is designed to provide market participants with convenient, faster and real-time access to market activities. The platform features market snapshots, stock prices, market analytics, financial news, dealing members directory, and trade simulation. Users will also be able to create personalized watchlists to keep track of chosen securities, eliminating the need to access multiple information sources. The Divisional Head of Trading Business at the NSE, Jude Chiemeka, said that the bourse will continue to “leverage technology with a customer-centric focus to make financial services more inclusive and to provide a superior customer experience in the access and use of capital.”


West Africa and Congo Basin are Hotspots for Forest Loss

Forest Loss

According to a report on the New York Declaration on Forests, signed in 2014 with the aim of halting deforestation globally by 2030, the new hotspots of increasing forest loss are in west Africa and the Congo basin.  In the Democratic Republic of the Congo rates of deforestation have doubled in the past five years. Much of the demand for logging comes from China, which has taken a strategic interest in the continent, buying land and doing resource deals with governments in exchange for internal investment and development cash. 

Nairobi Cuts Politicians’ Perks

Politicians Spending Kenya

Kenya plans “brutal” cuts to spending, including on government officials’ overseas trips, in an effort to rein in the fiscal deficit. Acting Finance Minister Ukur Yatani said all non-core expenditure will be reviewed to ensure the government can make savings and fund its programmes without relying too much on debt. Yatani’s predecessor, Henry Rotich, was criticised for increasing spending in June and unveiling additional tax measures on already squeezed taxpayers. As well as runaway spending, Kenyatta’s government has been criticised for failing to stamp out widespread corruption as hundreds of billions of shillings in government funds are lost every year. Rotich was removed as finance minister after he and other senior officials were charged over the misuse of funds for the construction of two dams.


How Technology is being Harnessed to Protect Africa’s Wildlife

Protect Africa's Wildlife

In conservation hotspots across the world, artificial intelligence, drones, and surveillance platforms are among the technologies that have become the latest line of defence against the $23bn global illegal wildlife trade, which claims the lives of 800 rhinos – along with 15,000 elephants and untold numbers of pangolins, impalas, bushpigs, warthogs and other animals – in Africa every year. Research indicates that tech innovations have already helped to curb poaching in Africa. Black and white rhinoceros – the continent’s two rhino species, classified as endangered and threatened, respectively – have increased in population in recent years, reports WWF. Working with park officials, Connected Conservation helped design and build a Reserve Area Network (RAN). It was supported by trackers placed on vehicles entering the reserve, sensors installed beneath fences to detect guns and other metal objects, and wi-fi to alert rangers instantly to potential poachers so they could dispatch a security response.


Zim Teen Changes the Face of this Extreme Sport

Tanyaradzwa 'Tanya' Muzinda

Tanyaradzwa ‘Tanya’ Muzinda is not your average teenager. At 15, she is already one of Zimbabwe’s Motocross champions. Held on off-road circuits, Motocross is a form of motorbike racing that is dangerous, expensive and requires a lot of training. But these challenges have not stopped Tanya from competing in local and international tournaments. Born in Harare, Zimbabwe’s most populous city, she says she started riding when she was only five years old, inspired by her father, a former biker. In 2017, she fell off a 100 feet long jump, hurting her hip, while practicing for a race. But recurring back pain has not stopped Muzinda in her tracks. She came in third place at the 2017 HL Racing British Master Kids Championships at the Motoland track in England, which she says is still her most memorable race. She is also an honorary ambassador of the European Union to Zimbabwe for Youth, Gender, Sports and Development. Despite the financial difficulties she faces, it has not stopped Muzinda from giving back to people in her community. In August, she paid tuition for 45 students to attend school in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, and hopes to pay for at least 500 more students by the end of 2020.


Liberia’s Traditional Leaders Want Justice

Liberia's Traditional Leaders

More than 300 chiefs representing Liberia’s rural and traditional bloc have called on the president to set up a war and economic crimes court as part of measures to fight impunity that has impeded the growth of Africa’s oldest independent republic. The representative chiefs are powerful and particularly influential in political decision-making and voting processes in the rural belts. In their statement, released at the close of a week-long gathering in the capital, the chiefs expressed disappointment over the government’s handling of millions of U.S. dollars since George Weah assumed the presidency. This includes $104 million in newly-minted local banknotes and $25 million withdrawn from the Federal Reserve accounts for infusion into the economy to strengthen the local currency. The government has so far failed to properly account for those funds, the group said.


Rwandan Poachers Turn over a New Leaf

Rwandan Poachers

These days, Felicien Kabatsi sings about the importance of gorilla conservation. You wouldn’t know from his lyrics that he used to hunt gorillas and other wild animals in Volcanoes National Park in northern Rwanda. He was a poacher for 30 years and served four months in jail for it. Then one day a buffalo killed his brother. After talking with animal conservationists, Kabatsi had a change of heart and joined their side. He now makes a living at Gorilla Guardians Village, where he plays traditional musical instruments for tourists. In a bid to boost conservation and make Rwandans feel more connected to wildlife, Rwanda also began an annual gorilla naming ceremony in 2015. At this year’s event, 25 baby mountain gorillas were named, bringing the total number to 281.


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