Africa

Science • Animals
Botswana: Mystery death of elephants solved
Botswana: Mystery death of elephants solved
Credit: Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Earlier this year, hundreds of elephants in northwestern Botswana inexplicably died. The government now states that their death was due to a neurological disorder caused by water contaminated by toxic blue-green algae.

It's unclear why the contaminated water only affected elephants and not other animals.

Health
A new study suggests that dengue may provide immunity against Covid-19
Miguel Nicolelis
Miguel Nicolelis Credit: Fronteiras do Pensamento (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The not yet published study led by Miguel Nicolelis, a professor at Duke University, suggests the possibility that vaccines approved or under development for dengue may result in some form of protection against the new coronavirus.

The study points out that places where a large part of the population contracted dengue last year and earlier this year took longer to have exponential community transmission of Covid-19 and recorded fewer numbers of cases and deaths caused by the new coronavirus, indicating a possible immunological interaction between the two viruses.

To validate the observation made in Brazil, Nicolelis expanded the analysis of the correlation between dengue and Covid-19 to 15 other countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia, and the behaviour was repeated, according to him.

Business • Economy
Facebook to open new office in Lagos in 2021
Facebook to open new office in Lagos in 2021
Credit: unsplash.com/Brett Jordan

Facebook will open its second African office in Lagos, Nigeria in 2021 to support the Sub-Saharan region, the company said in a statement.

“The opening of our new office in Lagos, Nigeria presents new and exciting opportunities in digital innovations to be developed from the continent and taken to the rest of the world," the Head of New Product Experimentation Ime Archibong said. “All across Africa we’re seeing immense talent in the tech ecosystem, and I’m proud that with the upcoming opening of our new office, we’ll be building products for the future of Africa, and the rest of the world, with Africans at the helm. We look forward to contributing further to the African tech ecosystem.”

Health
Africa declared free of wild polio by World Health Organization
Somali boy receives a polio vaccination
Somali boy receives a polio vaccination Credit: PV2 Andrew W. McGalliard (Public Domain)

Health officials from the World Health Organization have announced that all 47 countries in the WHO’s Africa region have eradicated the crippling viral disease that attacks the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis within hours.

Politics • African
Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia resume talks over management of Ethiopian Nile dam
Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia resume talks over management of Ethiopian Nile dam
Credit: Hailefida (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Under the leadership of the African Union the three in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) involved countries Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt have announced that they'll continue negotiations over the management of the dam.

The water and foreign ministers of the countries have agreed "to work on unifying the texts of the agreements submitted by the three countries" according to the water ministry of Sudan.

Politics • African
Botswana: Capital under two-week lockdown due to rise in Coronavirus cases
Botswana: Capital under two-week lockdown due to rise in Coronavirus cases
Credit: Brandon Gregory / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Botswana's capital Gaborone was placed under a 14-day lockdown again as Coronavirus infections doubled in the past week. Dr. Lemogang Kwape, the country's health minister, said this was a necessary move as the capital was experiencing a "worrying rise" of infections. The lockdown started Friday. People, except essential workers, will need temporary permits to move around.

Dr. Lemogang Kwape said: "During the course of this week the disease has taken an unexpected turn. This now requires that we place the greater Gaborone zone under lockdown for a minimum period of two weeks to enable us to contain the disease."

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Music
Nigeria: Musician Mr Eazi raises $20 million for African music creatives
Mr Eazi
Mr Eazi Credit: YouTube (Reproduction)

Nigerian singer and entrepreneur Mr Eazi raised $20 million with his Africa Music Fund. The musician wants to offer funding and financial support for African music creatives. One of his main investors is Pan-African seed fund 88mph.

Mr Eazi said: "Artists cannot go to banks to get money for their music because financial institutions don't understand how to secure intellectual property. They get it for physical properties but not for music. So, because not a lot of people understand the music business, there is no finance product for musicians."

Science • Animals
Uganda: Wildlife poaching doubled as tourism income dwindles
Rafiki, a silverback gorilla, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in South Western Uganda was killed in a poaching incident recently
Rafiki, a silverback gorilla, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in South Western Uganda was killed in a poaching incident recently Credit: unsplash.com/Mike Arney

The Uganda Wildlife Authority recorded 367 wildlife poaching cases between February and June, twice as much as during the same period last year. This is due to many people who rely on income from tourism now have turned to poaching to make money or obtain food.

“They set snares for other animals that they want to eat. Like, the small antelope. Or a bushpig," Gladys Kalema Zikusoka, founder and chief of non-profit wildlife group Conservation Through Public Health, said. "They’ll go for those to eat them. And when they set these snares, gorillas can accidentally get caught in the snare. But worse still, we’ve had cases of people spearing gorillas. Yet they were not going for gorillas, they were going for diker and bush pig.”

Politics • African
Gabon: Senate voted to decriminalise homosexuality
Gabon: Senate voted to decriminalise homosexuality
Credit: unsplash.com/Teddy Österblom

Gabon senate voted in favor of decriminalising homosexuality. The bill is now awaiting ratification by President Ali Bongo Ondimba.

"Parliament is restoring a fundamental human right for its citizens: that of loving, freely, without being condemned. The Republic defends respect for everyone's privacy and remains One and indivisible beyond feelings. Yes to dignity, no to hate. #Gabon" – Sylvia Bongo Ondimba, the president's wife, voiced her support on Twitter.

Science • Space
"Ring of Fire" solar eclipse to happen on June 21
Annular eclipse in New Mexico, 2012
Annular eclipse in New Mexico, 2012 Credit: Kevin Baird / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

On June 21, an annular "ring of fire" solar eclipse can be seen in parts of Africa and Asia, while a partial eclipse will be visible in Europe and northern Australia. A "ring of fire" eclipse happens when the moon covers the view of the Sun partially, leaving a glowing ring around the moon.

Politics • African
Africa: Coronavirus outbreak accelerating across continent, according to WHO
Dr. Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, Regional Director of the WHO Regional Office for Africa
Dr. Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, Regional Director of the WHO Regional Office for Africa Credit: Jude Morel, Seychelles News Agency / CC BY (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO's Africa regional director, said that the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating in all of Africa. The virus is spreading beyond major cities and into rural areas. Cases doubled in just 18 days to 200000. Moeti: "Even though these cases in Africa account for less than 3 percent of the global total, it's clear that the pandemic is accelerating."

Politics • African
Sudan: Citizens demand lift of lockdown

Sudanese people demand the government to lift the lockdown. The population is battling famine and poverty. Government aids have failed to appear because of "technical issues". Sudan extended the lockdown until June 18th. Sudanese car mechanic Mohamed Othman: "We demand that the lockdown is lifted immediately so that we can get on with our lives because hunger is worse than corona."

Science • Space
2020 Strawberry Moon lunar eclipse occurs today
Full moon, so called "Strawberry moon" viewed  from Tochigi prefecture, eastern Japan.
Full moon, so called "Strawberry moon" viewed from Tochigi prefecture, eastern Japan. Credit: On-chan (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Today's lunar eclipse that begins at 17:45(UTC) and lasts until 21:04(UTC) will be a "penumbral eclipse," which occurs when the outer ring of Earth's shadow just grazes the moon.

This subtle lunar eclipse will be entirely visible for observers in eastern Africa, the Middle East, southern Asia and Australia. It will start at moonrise for those on the eastern coast of South America, western Africa and Europe, and at moonset for skywatchers in Japan and New Zealand.

The full moon in June is called a Strawberry Moon because it coincides with the strawberry harvest. In Europe, an old name for this full Moon is the Mead Moon or the Honey Moon.

Politics • African
Africa: 140,000 confirmed coronavirus cases

Africa now has a total of 140,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and each country has reported at least one case. 4223 people suffered death from the coronavirus.

China promised support to Africa and will donate 30 million test kits per month as well as ventilators and masks, so Cyril Ramaphosa, president of South Africa.

Politics • African
Fifty trafficked Nigerian women have been freed

In an evacuation on Sunday, fifty trafficked Nigerian women were rescued and freed from Lebanon and will soon be returned to their homes after the end of their quarantine period. NAPTIP (National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons) is to be responsible for interviewing the women. NAPTIP reports say that over 20,000 Nigerian women and girls were trafficked and forced into prostitution in 2019.

Science • Animals
Endangered African Black Rhino population is slowly increasing

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) published an update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In the statement, they announced that the number of the endangered Black Rhino population has grown from an estimated 4,845 to 5,630 wild animals between 2012 and 2018. According to the IUCN, the main reasons for the increase are "continuing law enforcement efforts and successful population management measures". Even though the numbers have increased and further population growth is estimated, the Black Rhino stays endangered.