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What will happen to the thousands of IS members who surrendered in the final phase of the battle in Syria? Neighboring Iraq might try them but the country suffers from overcrowded prisons and overworked courts.

Activists from 35 countries met in Berlin this week to call for a ban on lethal autonomous weapons, ahead of new talks on such weapons in Geneva. They say that if Germany took the lead, other countries would follow

The resignation of Kazakhstan's president has given rise to speculation over the future transfer of power in Russia. Will Vladimir Putin follow Nursultan Nazarbayev's lead? Juri Rescheto reports from Moscow.

Israel's acting foreign minister says US President Donald Trump will sign an executive order recognizing Israel's sovereignty over the Syrian border territory on Monday. Germany and other US allies oppose the move.

[Capital FM] Nairobi -Majority of Kenyans at 65 per cent support proposed constitutional amendments, according to a new survey by Infotrak Research and Consulting.

[News24Wire] A week ago, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi were hit by one of the biggest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the southern African region.

[Nation] Politicians in the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) have taken jabs at Deputy President William Ruto, accusing him of derailing President Uhuru Kenyatta's war on corruption.

[Zimbabwe Standard] Bulawayo photo-journalist Crispen Ndlovu is working on a documentary about government atrocities dating back to Gukurahundi including last year's August 1 killings.

The German government is to fund a massive 10-year modernization program, a newspaper has reported. The proposals could offer relief for commuters who have long complained about the tardiness of Deutsche Bahn trains.

[Independent (Kampala)] Masaka -Engineers have expressed fear that the section of Kampala-Masaka highway from Lwera Swamp might be scouring from underneath.

[Daily Trust] The Federal Government says it will gradually phase out the use of chemical fertilisers in agriculture to ensure the production of healthy foods for the people.

[Daily Trust] The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, says Nigeria loses over four trillion Naira annually in the extractive industry due to lack of laws and policies.

Nico Schulz had the final word in a seesawing game between rivals Germany and the Netherlands. Schulz's 90th minute strike secured his side a 3-2 win after they'd thrown away a two goal lead in the Euro 2020 qualifier.

In a thrilling 3-2 victory in Amsterdam, Joachim Löw showed he still had a few tactical tricks up his sleeve. A new look attack took the Netherlands by surprise, but his team still requires a lot of work in other areas.

[New Zimbabwe] The Zimbabwe senior national football team has booked a place in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in Egypt with a 2-0 defeat of Congo-Brazzaville in a Group G final encounter played at a packed National Sports Stadium Sunday afternoon.

[Capital FM] Nairobi -The East African Community will be fully represented at the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt in June after Tanzania beat Uganda 3-0 at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam to qualify.

Left to right: Mona Lisa (AFP), Monna Vanna (Alamy)Image copyright AFP/Alamy
Image caption Have art experts just undressed (right) the Mona Lisa (left)?

A charcoal drawing housed in another art collection for more than 150 years may have been a sketch for the Mona Lisa, a French art expert says.

The charcoal portrait of a nude woman, known as the Monna Vanna, was previously attributed only to Leonardo da Vinci's studio.

But experts have found enough clues to suggest the artist worked on both.

After tests at the Louvre Museum in Paris, curators believe the sketch is "at least in part" by Leonardo.

It has been held since 1862 in the collection of Renaissance art at the Conde Museum at the Palace of Chantilly, north of the French capital.

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was one of the great painters of the Italian Renaissance, and his Mona Lisa oil painting (also known as La Gioconda) remains one of the world's most recognisable and valuable works of art.

It is believed to have been a commission from cloth merchant and Florentine official Francesco del Giocondo for a portrait of his wife, Lisa Gherardini.

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But was Leonardo right-handed?

"The drawing has a quality in the way the face and hands are rendered that is truly remarkable," curator Mathieu Deldicque told AFP news agency.

"It is not a pale copy. We are looking at something which was worked on in parallel with the Mona Lisa at the end of Leonardo's life.

"It is almost certainly a preparatory work for an oil painting."

Louvre conservation expert Bruno Mottin confirmed it dated from Leonardo's lifetime at the turn of the 15th Century and was of a "very high quality".

The Chantilly Estate posted a photo of the work being done on the sketch.

Skip Twitter post by @chantillydomain

Analyse de la Joconde nue au @c2rmf avec Bruno Mottin, conservateur du @c2rmf et @mathieudeldicqu conservateur du @chantillydomain pic.twitter.com/alMMSu09nP

— Domaine de Chantilly (@chantillydomain) September 28, 2017

End of Twitter post by @chantillydomain

Among clues proffered by Mr Deldicque:

  • The hands and body are almost identical
  • The portraits are almost the same size
  • Small holes pierced around the figure suggest it may have been used to trace its form on to a canvas

However, Mr Mottin pointed out that hatching on the top of the drawing near the head had been done by a right-handed person while Leonardo drew with his left hand.

"We must remain prudent," he told AFP, as work continued.

"It is job that is going to take some time," he said. "It is a very difficult drawing to work on because it is particularly fragile."

Rohingya crisis: UN chief warns of 'humanitarian nightmare'

Rohingya refugees arrive at a camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: 28 September 2017Image copyright Reuters
Image caption More than 500,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh since late August

Violence in Myanmar has spiralled into the "the world's fastest-developing refugee emergency" and a "humanitarian nightmare", the UN chief has warned.

Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on Myanmar to end its military operation, which has sparked the exodus of over 500,000 Rohingya since August.

He also demanded "unfettered access" to the region to deliver humanitarian aid.

Earlier, at least 14 Rohingya, all women and children, drowned after their boat capsized off Bangladesh's coast.

Survivors say the boat overturned after apparently hitting a submerged object near the coastal city of Cox's Bazar.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption The boat capsized a short distance from the coast near the city of Cox's Bazar

In the past 48 hours, about 2,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh by boat, fleeing violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state.

In Thursday's briefing to the UN Security Council, Mr Guterres said: "The situation has spiralled into the world's fastest developing refugee emergency, a humanitarian and human rights nightmare."

"We have received bone-chilling accounts from those who fled - mainly women, children and the elderly.

"These testimonials point to excessive violence and serious violations of human rights, including indiscriminate firing of weapons, the use of landmines against civilians and sexual violence."

Mr Guterres also warned that "the failure to address the systematic violence could result in a spill over into central Rakhine where an additional 250,000 Muslims could potentially face displacement".

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionMyanmar: Who are the Rohingya?

UN aid personnel were forced to leave Rakhine when the military began a crackdown on Rohingya militants behind attacks on security personnel in August.

Fleeing Rohingya - the majority of whom are Muslim - accuse Myanmar's military, backed by Buddhist mobs, of trying to drive them out with a campaign of beatings, killings and village burnings.

Images and reports from journalists confirm many villages have been razed.

But the military say they are targeting only militants.

'New Baghdadi tape' posted by Islamic State group

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. speaking in Mosul, 5 July 2014Image copyright AFP
Image caption Russian and Iranian officials have said the IS leader is dead but the US has disagreed

Islamic State militants have released what appears to be an audio recording of their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

A speaker who sounds like the IS leader seems to refer to recent North Korean threats against Japan and the US.

He also talks of battles for IS strongholds like Mosul, which was regained by Iraqi forces in July.

Baghdadi, who has a $25m (£19m) US bounty on his head, has not been seen in public since July 2014, leading to much speculation about his fate.

The last time he appeared was to preach at the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul after IS overran the city and a "caliphate" was proclaimed.

Asked about the audio, a spokesman for US forces fighting IS, Ryan Dillon, said "without verifiable evidence of his death, we have continued to assume that he is alive".

A defence department spokesman told the BBC: "We are aware of the audio tape purported to be of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and are taking steps to examine it. While we have no reason to doubt its authenticity, we do not have verification at this point."

The militant Sunni Muslim group IS, which earned notoriety for its brutal violence towards civilians and prisoners, has been steadily pushed back in Iraq and Syria this year.

The 46-minute recording was posted by a website with links to the group and is the first such speech to appear since November.

As well as Mosul, the speaker refers to battles in Raqqa and Hama in Syria, and Sirte in Libya, saying the bloodshed would not be in vain. He also talks of Russian-brokered peace talks on Syria. Much of the tape consists of religious references.

Baghdadi may be hiding in territory still controlled by IS along the Iraqi-Syrian border.

Less than a handful people would know his whereabouts, Hassan Hassan of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy wrote in a recent article for BBC News.

That makes it hard for the US, which has dedicated special forces constantly on the look-out for him.

In June, Russia reported that it was "highly likely" Baghdadi had been killed in a Russian air force strike on Raqqa on 28 May, and an Iranian official asserted he was "definitely dead" shortly afterwards.

However, claims of his death had been made before and the reports were treated with scepticism by US officials.


Analysis: A morale boost for IS

By Frank Gardner, BBC security correspondent

So the IS leader al-Baghdadi is still alive, or at least it appears he was still alive at least as recently as August.

This concurs with the views of western intelligence agencies and Iraq's government, which were always sceptical of Russian claims to have killed him an air strike.

His apparent survival to date will give some small morale boost to the beleaguered IS fighters still clinging on in Raqqa, but it is unlikely to make any strategic difference.

Like the al-Qaeda leader Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, the IS leader is so circumscribed by the need to keep his location secret that he communicates rarely, and is unlikely to be in a position to personally direct any ongoing operations - other than to give them his blessing.

Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus reveals breast cancer diagnosis

Julia Louis-Dreyfus at the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California, 17 SeptemberImage copyright Reuters
Image caption Ms Louis-Dreyfus won another Emmy earlier this month

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the award-winning star of US TV comedy series Veep, has announced she has breast cancer, in a message posted on social media.

"1 in 8 women get breast cancer," she wrote. "Today I'm the one."

"The good news", she added, was she had a "glorious group" of family and friends supporting her and "fantastic" insurance through her union.

The actress, 56, has also featured in Saturday Night Live, The New Adventures of Old Christine and Seinfeld.

Skip Twitter post by @OfficialJLD

Just when you thought... pic.twitter.com/SbtYChwiEj

— Julia Louis-Dreyfus (@OfficialJLD) September 28, 2017

End of Twitter post by @OfficialJLD

Earlier this month, Louis-Dreyfus picked up a record-breaking sixth Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a row for her role in HBO series Veep.

In Veep, her character begins as an ineffectual US vice-president whose attempts to expand her role are continually thwarted.

Louis-Dreyfus' announcement was met with an outpouring of support from other actors and celebrities.

Her Veep co-star Tony Hale retweeted the announcement, appending the message: "We love this woman."

Christina Applegate, who had a double mastectomy in 2008 following her own breast cancer diagnosis, told Louis-Dreyfus to contact her if she wanted to talk.

HBO, the network behind Veep, also issued a statement, saying: "We have every confidence she will get through this with her usual tenacity and undaunted spirit, and look forward to her return to health and to HBO for the final season of Veep."

'Universal healthcare'

The US actors' union SAG-AFTRA provides health insurance as a membership benefit, which union members earn credits toward as they work on accredited productions.

"The bad news is that not all women are so lucky," Louis-Dreyfus said in her statement, "so let's fight all cancers and make universal health care a reality".

Her call for universal health care - at a time when US President Donald Trump is pushing through healthcare reforms - is not the first time she has made targeted political comments.

Accepting the award for outstanding performance for a female actor in a comedy series at the SAG Awards earlier this year, she referenced Mr Trump's controversial travel ban, saying: "I am the daughter of an immigrant. My father fled religious persecution in Nazi-occupied France."

"I'm an American patriot, and I love this country... this immigrant ban is a blemish and it's un-American."


Breast cancer: The facts

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the world.

The rates of breast cancer vary from country to country - about one in eight women will get breast cancer during their lifetime in the US and the UK.

About 55,000 people are diagnosed with the condition in the UK every year - about 150 people a day. It is far more common among women, affecting just one in every 870 men.

Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption Mammograms are recommended on a regular basis for women over 50

Medical experts recommend women be aware of what their breasts normally look and feel like, so they can be aware of any abnormal changes.

Possible signs of breast cancer include:

  • Changes in the outline or shape of the breast, especially those caused by arm movements or by lifting the breast
  • Changes in the look or feel of the skin, such as puckering or dimpling
  • Any new lumps, thickening or bumpy areas in one breast or armpit, with or without pain, that differs from the same part of the other breast and armpit
  • Discharge from the nipple (may be bloodstained)
  • Moist, red areas on the nipple that don't heal easily
  • Any change in nipple position, such as being pulled in or pointing differently
  • A rash on or around the nipple

Recovery chances are good if the cancer is discovered in its early stages. Breast screening programmes use a mammogram - a type of X-ray - to sweep for small cancers in their infancy.

Sources: World Health Organization, NHS, Cancer Research UK


[Observer] A three-day training on access to finance for small Liberian business under the Post Ebola loan project will today, Wednesday, March 20, 2019 commence in Monrovia.

[ISS] 'Whoever you are, wherever you are, water is your human right' reads the slogan of the 2019 United Nations World Water Day. After the 2018 crisis in Cape Town, South Africans know that although water may be a human right, it is not necessarily guaranteed. Despite receding from the headlines, water security remains a concern for millions of South Africans.

[WaterAid] On this World Water Day it is important to realise that, while Ethiopia's economy is growing, to achieve true progress and eradicate poverty we need universal access to clean water.

[Govt of SA] Earlier today the Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Barbara Thomson, launched the Gugulethu Environmental Awareness and Sustainability Initiative as part of the Good Green Deeds campaign, at the Gugulethu NY2 Indoor Sports Complex, in Cape Town.

[Innovation in Africa] The challenge for start-ups in francophone Africa is that individual country markets are relatively small and it's not easy to operate regionally across multiple countries. Russell Southwood talks to Issam Chleuh, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Suguba about how it is seeking to tackle the problem and its involvement with the L'Afrique Excelle programme.

[This Day] When Dr. Dele Sanni ran out funds for his innovative machine, he felt deeply frustrated. An opportunity later presented itself, leading to his eventual triumph. This has earned him a place on the 2019 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation long-list.

[Govt of SA] South Africa has put its signature on the international treaty establishing the Square Kilometer Array Observatory (SKAO) as an intergovernmental organisation tasked with building and operating the world's most powerful radio astronomy telescope.

[CIO] The Digital Innovation Group (DIG Africa) comprising of East Africa's top techies, recently launched the digital disruption caucus at the Strathmore University, Nairobi, Kenya.


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