KW 8: Italian ambassador to DR Congo dies in attack on UN convoy, Explosion overshadows runoff election in Niger, WHO calls on Tanzania to act as Covid deaths climb in the country

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Italian ambassador to DR Congo dies in attack on UN convoy: Italy’s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Luca Attanasio, and two other people have been killed in an attack on a United Nations convoy in the restive east of the central African country. The convoy from the World Food Program was attacked during an attempted kidnapping near the town of Kanyamahoro, a spokesperson for Virunga national park said. Attanasio and a male Italian military police officer travelling with him were killed, the Italian foreign ministry said in a statement. A driver also died in the attack, diplomatic sources and local officials said. Attanasio had been Italy’s head of mission in Kinshasa since 2017 and was made ambassador in 2019.

Explosion overshadows runoff election in Niger: Seven workers with Niger’s election commission were killed in a landmine explosion during a day of voting that’s expected to bring the country’s first democratic transition of power since becoming an independent nation. Media reports say a vehicle belonging to Niger’s election commission struck a landmine in the rural community of Dargol. The vehicle was carrying election workers to polling stations in the country’s southwest. The decision by outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou to voluntary step down after two five-year terms brought about the election that would mark Niger’s first peaceful transfer of power between elected presidents.

Libyan interior minister survives attack on motorcade: The interior minister of Libya’s UN-backed government, Fathi Bashagha, survived an ambush by gunmen on his motorcade on Sunday, a brazen attack highlighting the towering challenges that remain for the newly appointed government that is trying to unite the country before elections late this year. Armed men opened fire at Bashagha’s motorcade on a highway in Tripoli, wounding at least one of his guards, said Amin al-Hashmi, a spokesman for the Tripoli-based Health Ministry.

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Mozambican politician and champion against global warming dies at 57: Daviz Simango, one of the main opponents in Mozambique has died at the age of 57, his family announced Monday. Simango, who was a champion against global warming as mayor of the second largest in Mozambique, was last week transferred to a hospital in South Africa before his untimely death, his brother Lutero Simango told AFP. Simango had been mayor of the city of Beira since 2003. As a member of the largest opposition party, the former rebel group Renamo, then an independent, Simango later formed his own party, the Democratic Movement of Mozambique (MDM) in 2009.

Nigerian air force passenger plane crash kills seven people: Seven people on board a military aircraft died in a crash on Sunday near Nigeria’s capital Abuja, the country’s air force spokesman said. Gunmen known locally as „bandits“ killed a schoolboy and captured 42 people, including 27 students, three teachers and relatives of school staff, officials said, in the country’s latest mass abduction. The plane was scheduled to conduct a surveillance mission in connection with an operation to rescue dozens of people abducted from a school Wednesday in nearby Niger State. President Muhammadu Buhari ordered security forces to free the kidnap victims and the army and police said they were tracking the gang.

WHO calls on Tanzania to act as Covid deaths climb in the country: The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on Sunday called on Tanzania to take measures to protect its own citizens but also the people of countries visited by Tanzanians from the Covid-19 pandemic. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Tanzanian President John Magufuli has consistently downplayed the danger of the coronavirus. The country last published official figures on coronavirus infections in April 2020 (officially 509 cases). In recent weeks, however, Tanzania has been hit by a wave of deaths officially attributed to pneumonia. The head of the WHO said that in January he had already called on Tanzanian authorities to take public health measures against Covid-19, prepare for vaccination and share data on the pandemic.

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South Africa calls for fairer vaccine distribution: The domination of global medicine by major pharmaceutical companies needs to be confronted to provide fairer access to vaccines, a leading South African official has said. The scramble over Covid vaccines should alert rich countries to the power of profit-driven companies that control production of crucial medicines, said Mustaqeem De Gama, South Africa’s delegate at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on intellectual property rights. He has called on nations where many of these pharmaceutical firms are based to stop blocking a patent waiver proposed at the WTO. Backed by dozens of developing countries, the proposal, introduced by South Africa and India, argued that bypassing intellectual property rights would allow more of the world’s population to be quickly vaccinated by boosting production.

Clashes between soldiers and opposition in Mogadishu: Somali government troops and opposition supporters – including some soldiers – exchanged gunfire in Mogadishu on Friday in street clashes that broke out during a protest march over delayed elections. Demonstrators said they had been attacked first by the government forces. Residents reported sporadic shooting and said rocket-propelled grenades had also been fired. The violence fueled concern that the military could split along clan lines. It could also strengthen an al Qaeda-linked insurgency, especially as hundreds of US troops have just pulled out of Somalia.

Student wants to use artificial intelligence to combat the dying out of languages in Africa: German student Bonaventure Dossou has invented a translation app that could prevent regional languages from becoming extinct. There are over 2,000 African languages, industry giant Google only offers translations for 15 of them. You will search in vain for websites in indigenous languages. For the data engineering student, his family history was also decisive for programming the app: he hardly understands his mother tongue Fon, one of the 50 languages and dialects of Benin, when he is on the phone with his mother, for example. Since there were no language courses or translation tools for indigenous languages, he quickly developed them himself. In doing so, he also wants to help prevent more languages from going extinct. According to the German Unesco Commission, a language is currently lost roughly every two weeks.


The Nigerian government is planning to sell 36 properties to finance its 2021 national budget.


„Africa cannot afford to continue with the despotic forms of governance that still proliferate across the continent.“

The bright future of younger generations is being perpetually postponed by ageing authoritarian politicians, warns Nelson Chamisa, leader of the MDC Alliance, Zimbabwe’s largest opposition party.


Using Zumba to fight obesity: In many African countries, obesity is developing into a serious problem and threatens to become a widespread disease. In a new video, „Spiegel“ reporter Heiner Hoffmann shows how Zumba can help – at least the rich – take off the pounds.

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