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  1. Four Tunisian soldiers die in helicopter crash

    Tunisian President Kais Saied (L) in a meeting with the country's defence minister Emad Memish on 8 June 2023
    Image caption: The president (L) says military equipment needs to be renewed

    Four Tunisian soldiers on military duty have died after their helicopter crashed into the sea in the country’s north-west.

    President Kais Saied on Thursday offered condolences to the bereaved families, saying the "accident cost the lives of four army men".

    He said there was a need to "renew military equipment" as he met the country's defence minister following the incident.

    President Saied also said such incidents could occur in any country – while admitting that the deterioration of some equipment in Tunisia "had led and continues to lead to such tragedies".

    In 2021, three soldiers were killed in an army helicopter crash in the southern Gabes province – the findings of the investigations into that incident have not been released.

  2. Rare ruby from Mozambique sells for record $35m

    The Newsroom

    BBC World Service

    The Estrela de Fura
    Image caption: Known as "The Estrela de Fura", meaning "Star of Fura", it was cut from a 101-carat rough ruby

    The biggest ruby ever to come to auction has been sold in New York for a record sum of just under $35m (£28m).

    The stone, a whopping 55.22 carats, was discovered last year in a mine in Mozambique.

    Uncut it was 101 carats. It has been called the "Estrela de Fura” meaning “Star of Fura” in Portuguese. The name refers to the company that mined the stone.

    Polished rubies of more than five carats are extremely rare.

    Sotheby's, who auctioned the gem, described it as a "once-in-a-lifetime" jewel.

    The same auction also saw a record sum achieved for a pink diamond.

    The 10.5 carat gem from Botswana - described as a fancy purplish-pink stone - sold for just under $35m.

  3. Video content

    Video caption: Kenya starvation cult: In the eyes of a rescue worker

    Mathias Shipeta has been at the heart of the Shakahola cult rescue operation.

  4. Opposition coalition victorious in Guinea-Bissau vote

    An electoral official shows a ballot during counting of the votes after the closing of a polling station for the Guinea-Bissau's legislative elections at a polling station in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau - 4 June 2023
    Image caption: The result means the president will have to share power with a prime minister from the opposition

    An opposition coalition in Guinea-Bissau has won an overall majority in parliament following elections on Sunday.

    This means President Umaro Sissoco Embaló will have to share power with a prime minister nominated by the PAI-Terra Ranka coalition, which includes the former ruling PAIGC party.

    The coalition won 54 out of 102 seats, with Mr Embaló’s Madem-G15 party taking 29, according to the electoral commission.

    A crowd gathered outside the PAIGC’s headquarters in the capital, Bissau, when the results were announced, with many banging saucepans to express their joy, the AFP news agency reports.

    For years the small West African nation has undergone political turmoil and numerous coups and coup plots.

    It has also been a key transit point in the trafficking of illegal drugs from Latin America.

    Mr Embaló - whose party broke away from the PAIGC - won presidential elections in December 2019 and last year survived a coup attempt.

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  5. US suspends food aid to Ethiopia over fraud fears

    Kalkidan Yibeltal

    BBC News, Addis Ababa

    Volunteers at the Zanzalima Camp unload wheat flour, part of an aid delivery from USAid, Bahir Dahr, Ethiopia - December 2021
    Image caption: Millions of Ethiopians are dependent on humanitarian support

    The US is suspending food aid to Ethiopia because it says donations are being diverted from those in need.

    The US Agency for International Development (USAid) says an investigation has uncovered a widespread and co-ordinated scheme to divert assistance.

    "We made the difficult but necessary decision that we cannot move forward with distribution of food assistance until reforms are in place," USAid said.

    It does not say who is behind the campaign, but an internal briefing document quoted by the Reuters news agency alleges that some officials are doing it using “military units across the country”.

    The US is by far the largest humanitarian donor to Ethiopia, where more than 20 million people need food aid because of drought and the recent war in the northern region of Tigray.

    This suspension comes weeks after USAid and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) halted aid to Tigray over similar claims.

  6. 'Sex for grades' outlawed by Nigeria's parliament

    Azeezat Olaoluwa

    Women’s affairs reporter, BBC News, Lagos

    A stock image of a man putting his hand on a woman's shoulder
    Image caption: It will be illegal for lecturers to make any sexual advances towards students

    Nigeria’s outgoing parliament has finally passed a bill that aims to prevent the sexual harassment of university students.

    Once it is signed into law by newly elected President Bola Tinubu it will be illegal for lecturers to make any sexual advances towards students.

    Those who do have sexual relationships with their students could face up to 14 years in jail.

    The anti-sexual harassment bill was originally introduced in 2016 but did not pass both houses of parliament.

    It was reintroduced by the senate in 2019 following a BBC investigation that uncovered alleged sexual misconduct by lecturers in Nigeria and Ghana.

    BBC Africa Eye’s Sex for Grades documentary prompted outrage, but the bill was further delayed as the house of representatives wanted some changes - and two parliamentary committees had to come to an agreement on the final wording.

    Outgoing lawmakers are trying to wrap up business before newly elected MPs are sworn in next week.

    A student told BBC news she was happy about the development and hoped President Tinubu would pass it into law soon.

    Earlier in the month, a group of students had issued a statement to express their displeasure that the National Assembly had failed to pass it in time for his predecessor - President Muhammadu Buhari - to assent to it before leaving office.

    Watch:

  7. Equatorial Guinea's deadly Marburg outbreak over - WHO

    Rhoda Odhiambo

    BBC Focus on Africa TV

    Close-up Egyptian fruit bat or rousette
    Image caption: The Egyptian rousette fruit bat is one of the main carriers of the virus

    The UN has declared an end to a Marburg outbreak in Equatorial Guinea that has officially killed 12 people since February.

    "The outbreak… ended today with no new cases reported over the past 42 days after the last patient was discharged from treatment," the UN World Health Organization (WHO) said.

    The highly infectious disease is similar to Ebola, but there are no vaccines or anti-viral treatments approved to treat the virus. It has a fatality rate of up to 88%, according to the WHO.

    It is transmitted to people from fruit bats and spreads among humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, surfaces and materials.

    The true death toll from the outbreak is likely to have been higher than the 12 officially recorded, because 23 people who came into contact with victims died without being tested - and it is too dangerous to do post-mortems.

    The four patients who recovered from the disease have been enrolled in a survivors- programme. They are receiving psychosocial and other post-recovery support measures.

    It was Equatorial Guinea's first-ever outbreak of the disease, affecting four of its eight provinces

  8. Huge blazes seen in Sudan's capital near arms factory

    Peter Mwai

    BBC Verify

    Screengrab of fire burning
    Image caption: One of the fires seen in Khartoum after fighting on Wednesday

    Massive fires are burning in an area of Sudan’s capital that houses an arms factory following clashes between paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) fighters and the army.

    Images of the blazes in the Yarmouk area in the west of the city are being posted on social media and are visible on satellite images.

    The RSF said it had taken control of the area, where there are number of factories, a military complex as well as oil and fuel storage facilities.

    It blamed the armed forces for attacking the area on Wednesday and causing the infernos.

    We have not been able to verify how the fires started, but images from Nasa on Wednesday show heat signatures picked up by satellite at several locations in the area.

    The RSF also posted on Twitter a video showing its fighters inside a building, with one of them saying they were in a warehouse that stored weapons.

    It is not clear when or for how long they were there.

    At one point, the fighters are outside and a mosque is visible in the background. We have matched this to a mosque just north of the Yarmouk area.

    Sudan’s armed forces have not commented officially on the fighting there.

    Screengrab of Nasa FIRMS data
    Image caption: Heat signatures in the Yarmouk area of Khartoum detected by satellite
  9. Saudi Arabia condemns attack on its embassy in Sudan

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Security outside the Saudi Arabian embassy in Khartoum, Sudan - November 2016
    Image caption: The Saudi embassy in Khartoum - pictured here in 2016 - has been in an area badly affected by the conflict

    Saudi Arabia has condemned an attack on its embassy in Sudan’s capital "in the strongest terms".

    The Saudi foreign ministry blamed armed groups for storming and vandalising the building in Khartoum, adding that the property and housing of Saudi employees had also been vandalised.

    Saudi Arabia, along with the US, has taken a leading role in trying to engage with the warring sides since the conflict erupted in mid-April.

    The kingdom totally rejected “all forms of violence and vandalism against diplomatic missions and representations", the foreign ministry statement said.

    It also stressed the importance of confronting groups that it said were trying to undermine the restoration of stability and security in Sudan.

    The statement, posted on Twitter, did not specify which groups were behind the attack.

    The warring factions involve the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) group - the two falling out since taking power together in a coup in October 2021.

    Saudi media outlets have sought to maintain a neutral stance in their coverage of the conflict. On Thursday, Saudi news website Al Arabiya reported that last month the army had said it could no longer provide protection for diplomatic missions, accusing the RSF of attacking embassies.

    Until last week, Saudi Arabia had been hosting ceasefire talks in Jeddah between the rivals.

    A frequently violated humanitarian truce, which began on 22 May, officially expired on Saturday evening.

    The US secretary of state was in Saudi capital, Riyadh, on Wednesday where the two countries again pledged to continue efforts to end the fighting which is now in its seventh week.

    Smoke plumes billow from a fire at a lumber warehouse in southern Khartoum amidst ongoing fighting on June 7, 2023
    Image caption: The clashes between Sudan's rival forces began on 15 April
  10. Nearly 300 children rescued from Sudan orphanage

    A view from inside an orphanage in Khartoum, Sudan - April 2023
    Image caption: The orphanage was in an area of the city "where the conflict has been raging", according to the ICRC

    Nearly 300 children have been safely rescued from an orphanage in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, aid agencies say.

    They had been staying at the Mygoma Orphanage, where more than 70 children are reported to have died from hunger and illness since the conflict in Sudan broke out in mid-April.

    The orphanage was in an area of the city "where the conflict has been raging", according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

    Aged between one month and 15 years, the 297 children have been taken to Wad Madani, about 200km (125 miles) from Khartoum, it said.

    They are now at a transit centre and the UN children’s agency (Unicef) says it is working with the relevant authorities in identifying foster families for them.

    “The safe movement of these incredibly vulnerable children to a place of safety offers a ray of light in the midst of the ongoing conflict in Sudan,” said Mandeep O’Brien, a Unicef representative.

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  11. Gay rights backlash over Kenyan academic's SA invite

    Julius Malema and members of the Economic Freedom Fighters picket against Uganda's anti-homosexuality bill at the Uganda High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa - 4 April 2023
    Image caption: EFF leader Julius Malema says allowing different views makes for more exciting discourse

    South Africa’s opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party is facing a backlash for its decision to invite a Kenyan academic to give a lecture in July at the University of Cape Town (UCT).

    Prof Patrick "PLO" Lumumba is alleged to hold homophobic views - and last month congratulated Uganda’s president for “defying Western countries and doing the right thing” by signing an anti-gay bill into law.

    The lecture he has been asked to deliver is part of events to mark the 10th anniversary of the EFF party founded by firebrand politician Julius Malema.

    It is scheduled to be held at UCT’s Sarah Baartman Hall.

    Some UCT staff and students have demanded that he not be allowed to give the address there as his presence would signal the institution's acceptance of his “homophobic stance”, local media report.

    Other South Africans on social media have asked the EFF to withdraw the invitation.

    However, the party is standing by its decision, with Mr Malema saying that “allowing different views makes a discourse even more exciting”.

    The EFF had held demonstrations in April outside the Ugandan embassy in the capital, Pretoria, to express its opposition to the anti-homosexuality bill.

    Uganda now has among the harshest anti-LGBTQ laws in the world. South Africa's constitution was the first in the world to protect people from discrimination because of their sexual orientation.

    Prof Lumumba, 60, is a respected Kenyan lawyer, and was director of the Kenya School of Law for four years and before that had headed the now-defunct Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission for a year.

  12. Northern Ghana imposes meat ban over anthrax fears

    Thomas Naadi

    BBC News, Accra

    Cows in Zuarungu, a town in the Upper East Region, Ghana
    Image caption: The movement of animals has also been banned in Upper East Region

    The slaughter, sale and consumption of meat has been banned for a month in a northern region of Ghana because of a deadly anthrax outbreak.

    Anthrax is a highly contagious bacterial disease that affects livestock and can be transmitted to humans.

    The movement of animals, such as cows, sheep, goats, pigs and donkeys, has also been banned in Upper East Region to avoid the spread of the disease.

    One person has so far died and 13 suspected cases have been identified.

    There are suspicions they ate anthrax-infected beef. Reports say at least 30 animals have died from anthrax.

    Medics are tracing the contacts of those affected and efforts to vaccinate animals free of charge to contain the spread of the disease have also been stepped up.

  13. Putin welcomes African peace mission bid - SA leader

    ussian President Vladimir Putin (R) greets South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (L) - 2019
    Image caption: African leaders, including South African President Ramaphosa (L), have largely taken a neutral stance on President Putin's invasion of Ukraine

    South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have spoken over the phone about the upcoming peace mission by six Africa leaders to Russia and Ukraine.

    "President Putin has welcomed the initiative by African heads of state and expressed his desire to receive the peace mission,” a statement from the South African presidency said.

    On Tuesday, the African leaders involved had held discussions “exploring ways of bringing an end to the conflict”, it added.

    The other leaders in the peace bid are from the Comoros, Egypt, Senegal, Uganda and Zambia - and according to a statement from the presidency on Wednesday all said they were available to travel in mid-June.

    "The leaders agreed that they would engage with both President Putin and President [Volodymyr] Zelensky on the elements for a ceasefire and a lasting peace in the region."

    Their foreign ministers were now in the process of finalising the elements of a road-map to peace, it added.

    Separately a Russia-Africa summit is scheduled to take place at the end of July in St Petersburg, the presidency said.

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  14. Sudan's military ruler replaces two state governors

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    A Sudanese armed forces' (SAF) armoured personnel carrier (APC) is pictured in southern Khartoum amidst ongoing fighting on June 7, 2023.
    Image caption: Fighting between rival forces has intensified in Sudan

    Sudan's army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has replaced two state governors, state-run new agency Suna reports.

    It comes as fighting intensifies in the capital, Khartoum, and other areas between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) - the two seized power in a coup in October 2021 but are now involved in a power struggle.

    Gen Burhan dismissed North Kordofan state governor Fadlallah Mohamed Ali al-Tom, and Sennar state's Al-Alim Ibrahim al-Nour. Caretaker governors have been appointed.

    No reason was given for their dismissal.

    Parts of North Kordofan have witnessed fierce battles between the warring parties though there has been no fighting in Sennar state.

    At least 883 civilians have been killed and more than 3,800 others wounded since the conflict erupted on 15 April.

  15. SA president to visit epicentre of cholera outbreak

    South African President Ramaphosa, 25 May 2023
    Image caption: Cyril Ramaphosa's visit follows the death of at least 26 people from cholara

    South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is due to lead a delegation of government leaders to Hammasnkraal, a township north of the capital, Pretoria, where there was a deadly outbreak of cholera.

    Mr Ramaphosa said the outbreak had caused devastation and government agencies had been working on measures to contain the spread of the disease.

    His visit follows the death of at least 26 people, mostly in Hammanskraal, the epicentre of the outbreak.

    More than 130 residents have been treated for the waterborne disease.

  16. Ugandan president tests positive for Covid

    Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni speaks during a press conference after a meeting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (not seen) at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 28 February, 2023.
    Image caption: Yoweri Museveni will continue performing his duties despite contracting Covid

    Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has said he has contracted Covid-19 after one of three tests conducted on him turned out positive.

    Mr Museveni, who gave a state of the nation address earlier on Wednesday, said he had developed a slight cold, prompting him to get tested.

    The permanent secretary at the health ministry, Diana Atwine, said the president had developed mild flu-like symptoms but was in good health and would continue his duties.

    She said the president would adhere to standard operating procedures for Covid cases while performing his role.

    Uganda had some of the strictest measures in Africa to limit the spread of the virus at the height of the pandemic, including long curfews and closure of schools and businesses.

    The country fully reopened in February 2022.