1The Battle for Survival for Nigeria’s Small but Fast-growing Jewish Community
Africa’s most populous nation has seen its Jewish population double over the past five years to an estimated 10,000 people. Synagogues in the country have also doubled in this period, from fewer than 10 to at least 20 today. But now, the community finds itself increasingly caught in a violent battle between Nigerian authorities and a revived secessionist movement for the creation of Biafra, which briefly existed as a separate nation in the 1960s. The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the separatist movement that’s a successor to the earlier Biafra campaign, is led by Nnamdi Kanu, a British-Nigerian political activist who is Jewish. Most of Nigeria’s Jews are from the country’s southeast, which is also the home of the Biafra movement. They largely belong to the Igbo, Nigeria’s third-largest ethnic community. Jewish Nigerian protesters have joined peaceful marches seeking a separate state. And though IPOB doesn’t directly link its demand for a new country to Judaism, Kanu resurfaced in Israel late last year, a year after going underground following raids at his home. SOURCE: OZY
2The Tragedy of Unsafe Abortions in Kibera
With terminations outlawed in Kenya, women and girls in its largest slum have to rely on expensive and unreliable under-the-counter pills, toxic chemicals or other homemade remedies. The consequences can be fatal. In June, an attempt by the Federation of Women Lawyer’s Kenya to compel health workers to provide safe legal abortion failed despite a report being presented that showed seven women a day were dying as a result of unsafe abortions, and that health spending on care following illegal abortions has doubled since 2012. Marie Stopes, the international family planning charity, was briefly closed down last year by the Kenyan authorities for allegedly appearing to promote abortion. But the organisation still has two small offices inside Kibera where contraception and post-abortion care are offered.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
3The Impact Of Lab-Grown Diamonds On The African Diamond Trade
Prior to the political war thriller Blood Diamond being released onto the silver screen in 2006, most of the world was blissfully unaware of the immense suffering often associated with the African diamond industry. While diamonds are inherently associated with love, joy, and commitment, many inhabitants of Africa’s diamond-producing countries believe that the shimmering stones are more of a curse than a blessing. Up to this day, diamond mining still fuels a number of evils including worker exploitation, environmental dilapidation, and brutal civil wars. When you purchase a lab-grown diamond you can be 100% sure of its origin. Not only are diamonds that are grown in the lab genuinely conflict-free but they are also significantly more environmentally-friendly as well as substantially more affordable. The African environment can benefit greatly by increased demand for grown diamonds as they do not result in erosion water and soil contamination, loss of biodiversity, and the creation of sinkholes whatsoever. SOURCE: AFRICA.COM
4Can Africa Weather the Impacts of Climate Change
Climate change will hit many African countries more severely than previously thought, according to a new report. Researchers warn that rapid population growth means more and more people will be affected by extreme weather events across the continent in the coming years. The report from Britain’s Meteorological Office and Leeds University warns that climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels will bring chaos to Africa — with bouts of severe drought and flooding. Elizabeth Kendon of the Meteorological Office is co-author of the research. The World Meteorological Organization warned that the month of July this year saw record heatwaves across the globe — a phenomenon that has in its words ‘rewritten climate history books.’ Scientists say people in Africa will likely be among the hardest hit by climate change over the coming decades – with less capacity to deal with the impact.
5The Pitter Patter of Little Feet in Mozambique Reserve
Last summer, a pioneer pack of 14 African wild dogs was released into Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park as part of an ambitious wildlife restoration effort. In June, the alpha and beta female dogs gave birth to 19 new pups. The successful reintroduction into Gorongosa of African wild dogs underscores the park’s position as one of the bright spots on an otherwise grim landscape of shrinking forests and accelerating loss of large, charismatic animals unlucky enough to not be our pets or livestock. Researchers see in Gorongosa the chance to track the recovery of a complex ecosystem from the ground up, and to see what will heal on its own and what requires intervention.
SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES
6What Went Wrong in Cairo over the Weekend?
At least 19 people have been killed in an explosion after several cars collided in the Egyptian capital, Cairo. Thirty others were injured in the incident, the explosion happened when a car which had been travelling against the traffic hit three others and it sparked a fire that forced the evacuation of nearby buildings. Images of blazing cars and plumes of smoke have been widely shared on social media. Dozens of patients from the nearby National Cancer Institute were evacuated to other hospitals, with the ministry saying several people who were caught up in the blast were in a critical condition. The explosion caused damage to the structure of the hospital, images showed investigators scouring the scene overnight while armed police stood guard. The country’s public prosecutor has opened an investigation.
7South Africa Mourns Pilots Who Dreamt Big
A light plane crashed in western Tanzania on Saturday, killing two South Africans who had been involved in last month’s successful attempt to fly a home-built aircraft from Cape Town to Cairo. The crashed Sling plane, which entered Tanzanian airspace from Uganda en route to Malawi, made a distress signal about engine failure before disappearing from radar, according to the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA). The plane was destroyed by fire after the crash and only the engine and some other parts were recovered. It was owned by a South African organisation known as U-Dream Global. U-Dream Global, made international headlines in June when a group of students successfully built a four-seater Sling aircraft and then flew it from Cape Town to Cairo in July. On its website, U-Dream Global is described as a not-for-profit organisation founded by teen pilot and motivational speaker Megan Werner in 2018. South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation said it has activated its consular services to support affected families. SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS
8Using AI to Help Farmers Fend Off Pests
In Africa, crop pests and disease have been hampering agriculture productivity for decades. Africa farmers lose an estimated 49% of expected total crop yield per annum—the highest in the world – according to the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International. But a team of Cameroonian entrepreneurs has been testing an artificial intelligence based platform to help African farmers tackle crop pests and plant diseases from their source. Agrix Tech, a Yaoundé-based startup, is planning to roll out its platform across Africa beginning January 2020 when its commercial version will be released. The technology helps detects plant diseases and offers both chemical and physical treatment as well as prevention measures. Founded in August 2018, the Agrix Tech team comprises of a telecoms engineer, certified machine learning engineer, software developer, crop pathologist and two agronomists. The app provides both text and voice recognition technology in customized African local languages—as such, even less literate people can use it. Pidgin, Wolof, Fang, French and English are some of the languages which Agrix Tech’s early clients in Senegal, Benin, Morocco and Cameroon have requested.SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA
9Boosting Local Content Production in Kenya
StarTimes has partnered with over 30 content developers in the country towards the development of Rembo TV, an entertainment channel with a key focus on reality television shows targeting the women audience and with a language policy comprising of 60 percent Kiswahili, 30 percent English and 10 percent vernacular. Rembo TV will be available across three East African countries – Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda – thereby presenting a enviable platform to market Kenyan productions across the region. The channel will be available on all StarTimes bouquet options both on terrestrial and satellite platforms, with the company eyeing growth in subscriber retention, as well as listing new subscribers keen on the improved content towards growing the pay television company’s market share.
SOURCE: CGTN AFRICA