News

The situation in North Africa is increasingly difficult to read, like in Algeria, or even menacing when you look at Libya. But Europe is hoping to energize ties with the difficult region through a renewable energy link.

Jim Jarmusch and Quentin Tarantino got red carpet buzz, but who are the top contenders for the prestigious Palme d'Or award on Saturday? A look at the highlights of this year's film festival.

Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, accused of sexual misconduct, has reportedly reached a multimillion-dollar provisional deal with alleged victims that covers all civil proceedings.

Despite the urgency of a 'climate emergency' we're nowhere near fulfilling the Paris agreement. Why are we so reluctant to act? Climate psychologist Per Espen Stoknes says we need to move away from pointing blame.

[VOA] Sudan's public prosecutors have called for the dismissal of the director of the National Intelligence and Security Service after agents prevented police from arresting former security chief Salah Abdallah, known as Salah Gosh.

[This Day] The Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Shimon Ben-Shosan, said Thursday that his Prime Minister, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, and the President, Mr. Reuvin Rivlin, could visit Nigeria soon, 61 years after an Israeli PM came to Nigeria in 1958.

[VOA] Foreign observers of Malawi's presidential, parliamentary and local elections issued a preliminary assessment Thursday, saying that although the process was peaceful, it lacked a level playing field.

[This is Africa] South Africa's youngest legislator ever, 21-year-old Itumeleng Ntsube of the African National Congress, was sworn into office on 23 May as a member of the National Council of Provinces, the country's upper House of Parliament.

Traditional economics has faced troubling questions since the 2008 financial crash, though its "linear" version remains dominant. Now some believe circular economics could, and perhaps should, set us on a new track.

Selling a business idea is never easy, let alone getting an investor to fund your dream project. A bunch of media startups gathered in Germany's Bonn to get an insight on how to make the perfect pitch.

The trade spat between Washington and Beijing has reached a new level, with successful Chinese telecoms equipment provider Huawei stuck in the eye of the storm. Where will this all end, asks DW's Henrik Böhme.

[VOA] The Somali government says it's not ready to take any action that could threaten its relationship with its neighbor Kenya. The announcement comes amidst simmering tensions over potential offshore oil deposits and an incident where Somali government officials and diplomats were denied entry to Kenya this week.

RB Leipzig head into the German Cup final against Bayern Munich aiming to win their first piece of silverware. Victory would send a message to German football that RB are ready to challenge the Bayern hegemony.

Niko Kovac goes in to his third consecutive final on the verge of a host of records. But making history against RB Leipzig may not keep him in his job, with much recent attention fixed on Bayern Munich's past and future.

[allAfrica] Cape Town -South Africa's women's national soccer team are off to the FIFA Women's World Cup in France - and for the first time will earn the same as their male counterparts.

[Nation] Mount Kenya United players last evening divided themselves into two groups during the SportPesa Premier League match versus AFC Leopards with one faction taking charge of the gate collections at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.

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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Poland buys famed artworks at discount

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


[Cameroon Tribune] The scheme will be implemented using financial institutions.

[Ghanaian Times] The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) has selected the Minister of Planning, Professor George Gyan-Baffour, as Data for Sustainable Development Goals Ambassador.

[UN News] Despite Somalia's persistent security threats, recurrent political crises, capacity constraints and the difficulties in navigating political obstacles to its reform agenda, the Horn of Africa country remains on a "positive trajectory," the UN Security Council was told on Wednesday.

[Observer] The Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYS), in collaboration with the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE) has begun the recruitment of 1,500 youth in 15 targeted communities for its Youth Opportunities Project (YOP).

[News24Wire] A North West University student has flown the South African flag high in Frankfurt, Germany after being crowned the winner of the 2019 Future Leaders Forum at the World Exhibition for Incentive Travel, Meetings and Events (IMEX).

[U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa] The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa hosted the Fifth Hackathon as part of its Ethiopia Hacks! Program. Participants were challenged to develop technological solutions to support the Addis Ababa river basin restoration project.

[Govt of SA] Two KwaZulu-Natal learners to fly South African flag in Sweden

[263Chat] The Zimbabwe Farmers' Union, (ZFU) through support from Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) is distributing 300 Android mobile phones to Agricultural Extension officers who will be information contact persons, disseminating important information on Climate Smart Agriculture practices from the Union to the farmers.