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  1. Huawei technicians helped the Ugandan and Zambian governments spy on their political opponents, leading to their arrest, according to The Wall Street Journal. There's no evidence that Huawei or China approved or even knew about the actions of the Huawei employees stationed in Uganda and Zambia. Nothing indicates that the Huawei technology used in the alleged spying was specialized or exclusive, suggesting that any similar technology from any company could be used for the same effect. The report comes amid scrutiny from the US toward Huawei based on the risk that China could use Huawei telecoms equipment to spy on the US. Huawei employees stationed in Uganda and Zambia have helped the Ugandan and Zambian governments spy on their political opponents, which has led to the opponents' arrests in both countries, the Wall Street Journal reports. In Kampala, Uganda, Huawei employees reportedly helped Uganda's cyber-surveillance unit break into the WhatsApp group belonging to Bobi Wine, a political opponent to the current Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni. The Huawei employees used spyware made by an Israeli company to break into the WhatsApp group, which led to Wine's arrest, as well as the arrest of dozens of his supporters. In Zambia, Huawei technicians reportedly helped the government access the phones and Facebook pages belonging to bloggers who oppose Zambian president Edgar Lungu's regime. This allowed the Zambian cyber-surveillance unit to locate the bloggers' locations, which led to their arrest. In both instances in Uganda and Zambia, the Journal's report that Huawei helped those governments to spy on their political opponents were corroborated by senior security officials. It's also said that the Huawei employees used Huawei and other technology to aid the Ugandan and Zambian governments spy and arrest their political opponents. There was no evidence that the Huawei employees who helped the Ugandan and Zambian government allegedly spy on their opponents acted on behalf of Huawei or the Chinese government, nor did Huawei or China know about the Huawei employees' actions, according to the Journal. There was nothing exclusive or specific about the Huawei technology that was used, either, suggesting that any similar technology from any company could have been used to the same effect. Business Insider has requested comment from Huawei, as well as the Ugandan and Zambian government, but did not hear back before publishing. Huawei responded to the Journal's report by outright denying that the company or its employees were involved. Still, the report comes at an inopportune time for Huawei, which faces scrutiny from the US government over fears that Huawei telecoms technology could be used by the Chinese government to spy on the US. In 2018, the White House banned federal agencies and employees from using telecoms equipment from Huawei, to which Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei responded that the company has never been used to spy on behalf of the Chinese government, nor would it comply to a request to do. Source
  2. Sahle-Work Zewde leaves the Parliament after being elected as Ethiopia's first female President in Addis Ababa on October 25, 2018. Ethiopia on Thursday appointed a woman to the largely ceremonial position of president for the first time, further increasing female representation in the government of Africa's second most populous nation. In a unanimous vote, Ethiopian lawmakers picked career diplomat Sahle-Work Zewde, 68, to replace Mulatu Teshome who resigned in unclear circumstances. Ethiopia's reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed last week appointed a slimline 20-person cabinet in which half the posts are held by women. They include defence minister Aisha Mohammed and Muferiat Kamil who leads the newly created Ministry of Peace, responsible for police and domestic intelligence agencies. "If the current change in Ethiopia is headed equally by both men and women, it can sustain its momentum and realise a prosperous Ethiopia free of religious, ethnic and gender discrimination," Sahle-Work said Thursday. Sahle-Work, who was born in the capital Addis Ababa and attended university in France, has been Ethiopia's ambassador to France, Djibouti, Senegal and the regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Just prior to her appointment as president she was the UN's top official at the African Union. She is fluent in English and French as well as Amharic, Ethiopia's main language. As president she is expected to serve two six-year terms. Symbolism and influence "Mulatu has shown us the way for change and hope, he has shown life continues before and after leaving power. I call on others to heed his example and be ready for change," said Sahle-Work in a speech to parliament. Political power in Ethiopia is wielded by the prime minister with the president's role restricted to attending ceremonies and functions. Nevertheless, Sahle-Work's position carries important symbolic weight and social influence. "Government and opposition parties have to understand we are living in a common house and focus on things that unite us, not what divides us, to create a country and generation that will make all of us proud," she said. "The absence of peace victimises firstly women, so during my tenure I will emphasise women's roles in ensuring peace and the dividends of peace for women." Sahle-Work becomes Africa's only serving female head of state, albeit in a ceremonial role. A handful of African countries have in the recent past been led by female presidents with executive powers, including Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Liberia (2006-18) and Joyce Banda in Malawi (2012-14). Banda was elevated to the presidency following the death in office of Bingu wa Mutharika, while Sirleaf won two elections before standing down earlier this year at the end of her constitutionally mandated terms. Source
  3. Benin has joined a growing list of African states imposing levies for using the internet. The government passed a decree in late August taxing its citizens for accessing the internet and social-media apps. The directive, first proposed in July, institutes a fee (link in French) of 5 CFA francs ($0.008) per megabyte consumed through services like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter. It also introduces a 5% fee, on top of taxes, on texting and calls, according to advocacy group Internet Sans Frontières (ISF). The new law has been denounced, with citizens and advocates using the hashtag #Taxepamesmo (“Don’t tax my megabytes”) to call on officials to cancel the levy. The increased fees will not only burden the poorest consumers and widen the digital divide, but they will also be “disastrous” for the nation’s nascent digital economy, says ISF’s executive director Julie Owono. A petition against the levy on Change.org has garnered nearly 7,000 signatures since it was created five days ago. The West African nation joins an increasing number of African countries that have introduced new fees for accessing digital spaces. Last month, Zambia approved a tax on internet calls in order to protect large telcos at the expense of already squeezed citizens. In July, Uganda also introduced a tax for accessing 60 websites and social-media apps, including WhatsApp and Twitter, from mobile phones. Officials in Kampala also increased excise duty fees on mobile-money transactions from 10% to 15%, in a bid to reduce capital flight and improve the country’s tax-to-GDP ratio. Digital-rights advocates say these measures are part of wider moves to silence critics and the vibrant socio-political, cultural, and economic conversations taking place online. The adoptions of these taxes, they say, could have a costly impact not just on democracy and social cohesion, but on economic growth, innovation, and net neutrality. Paradigm Initiative, a Nigerian company that works to advance digital rights, has said it was worried Nigeria would follow Uganda’s and Zambia’s footsteps and start levying over-the-top media services like Facebook and Telegram that deliver content on the internet. But taxing the digital sector might have a negative impact in the long run. Research has already shown that Uganda’s ad hoc fees could cost its economy $750 million in revenue this year alone. “These governments are killing the goose that lays the golden egg,” Owono said. Source
  4. Google says it will train 10 million people in Africa in online skills over the next five years in an effort to make them more employable. Google also hopes to train another 100,000 software developers in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. Chief Executive of Google, Sundar Pichai said the company will also unveil Launchpad Accelerator with free seed equity fund of $3million. This marks an expansion of the Digital Skills for Africa launched in April last year by Google to train young Africans in digital skills. Pichai said in March this year, the firm achieved the initial target of training one million people. The company is "committing to prepare another 10 million people for jobs of the future in the next five years. The free funding would help start-ups to achieve their dreams and further help increase the GDP of the economy, which currently stood at 10 per cent," he said during his first visit to Nigeria. In her welcome address, Google Nigeria Country Manager, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, said by 2034 Africa is expected to have the world’s largest working-age population of 1.1 billion, yet only between three and four million jobs are created yearly. "That means there’s an urgent need to create opportunities for the millions of people on the continent who are creative, smart and driven to succeed. The internet and technology offer great opportunities for creating jobs, growing businesses and boosting economies. But people need the right skills, tools and products to navigate the digital world and to make it work for them, their businesses and their communities," she said. < Here >
  5. A female student of the African University of Science and Technology, Abuja, Sandra Musujusu, has developed an alternative treatment for chest cancer, TribuneOnline reports. The scientific breakthrough might lead to a lasting solution in the treatment of chest [breast] cancer prevalent among women world over. This was made known on Tuesday in Abuja when the World Bank Education Director, Dr Jaime Saavedra Chanduvi with his team visited the University as part of his assessment tour of the 10 African Centres of Excellence (ACE) centres. The World Bank has committed about $10 billion for the ACE project in Nigeria, as part of efforts to encourage conduct of cutting-edge research and specialisation of the beneficiaries institutions in specific development problems faced in Nigeria and indeed the African continent. AUST, is hosting one of the Centres of Excellence, known as Pan African Material Institute (PAMI), with research focus electrical power, disease detection and treatment. Musujusu, research, using macromolecular science is aimed at developing bio-degradable polymer material which could be used as alternative for the treatment of chest cancer in the near future. She revealed that her research focuses on triple negative chest cancer which is the aggressive sub-type of chest cancer that is common with women from African ancestry. Musujusu, a Sierra-Ionian national is conducting the research under the sponsorship of the Pan African Materials Institute (PAMI). Out of 19 African Centres of Excellence, 10 Nigerian tertiary institutions won slots to churn out special research works that could compete effectively with global standards. The ACE universities include Redeemers University, Mowe; Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; University of Jos, Jos; University of Benin; and African University of Science and Technology, Abuja. Others are University of Port-Harcourt; Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife; Bayero University, Kano; Benue State University, Makurdi; and Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. It would be recalled that when the Ebola Virus Disease broke out in Nigeria in the year 2014, one of the ACE centres, Redeemers University served as the testing site before it was brought under control. Musujusu said, “My research is actually centred on the development of bio-degradable polymers for treatment of chest cancer.” “I will be focusing on triple negative chest cancer which is actually the aggressive sub-type of chest cancer that is common with women from African ancestry.” “I believe there is a bright future for Africa, and as a woman there is much more we can do if we are empowered. This award given to me by PAMI has empowered me to face my studies with more confidence and actually contribute to the frontier of knowledge and move Africa forward.” < Here >
  6. BBC TV presenter Komla Dumor has died suddenly at his home in London at the age of 41, it has been announced. Ghana-born Dumor was a presenter for BBC World News and its Focus on Africa programme. One of Ghana's best-known journalists, he joined the BBC as a radio broadcaster in 2007 after a decade of journalism in Ghana. BBC Global News Director Peter Horrocks called Dumor a leading light of African journalism who would be deeply missed. "Komla's many friends and colleagues across Africa and the world will be as devastated as we are by this shocking news," Mr Horrocks said in a statement. "The sympathies of all his colleagues at the BBC are with his family and friends." 'Sadness and gratitude' Komla Dumor was born on 3 October 1972 in Accra, Ghana. He graduated with a BA in Sociology and Psychology from the University of Ghana, and a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University. He won the Ghana Journalist of the Year award in 2003 and joined the BBC four years later. From then until 2009 he hosted Network Africa for BBC World Service radio, before joining The World Today programme. In 2009 Komla Dumor became the first host of Africa Business Report on BBC World News. He travelled across Africa, meeting the continent's top entrepreneurs and reporting on the latest business trends around the continent. He interviewed a number of high-profile guests including Bill Gates and Kofi Annan. Last month, he covered the funeral of former South African President, Nelson Mandela, whom he described as "one of the greatest figures of modern history". He anchored live coverage of major events including the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the funeral of Kim Jong-il, the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, the Norway shootings and the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. In his review of 2013, published last month, Dumor said the passing of Mandela was "one of the moments that will stay with me". "Covering the funeral for me will always be a special moment. I will look back on it with a sense of sadness. But also with gratitude. I feel lucky to have been a witness to that part of the Mandela story." Source
  7. geeteam

    Nelson Mandela dies at age 95

    South Africa's first black president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela has died, South Africa's president says. Mr Mandela, 95, led South Africa's transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s, after 27 years in prison. He had been receiving intense home-based medical care for a lung infection after three months in hospital. In a statement on South African national TV, Mr Zuma said Mr Mandela had "departed" and was at peace. "Our nation has lost its greatest son," Mr Zuma said. He said Mr Mandela would receive a full state funeral, and flags would be flown at half-mast. BBC correspondents say Mr Mandela's body will be moved to a mortuary in Pretoria, and the funeral is likely to take place next Saturday. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate was one of the world's most revered statesmen after preaching reconciliation despite being imprisoned for 27 years. He had rarely been seen in public since officially retiring in 2004. "What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves," Mr Zuma said. "Fellow South Africans, Nelson Mandela brought us together and it is together that we will bid him farewell." UK Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to Mr Mandela, saying "a great light has gone out in the world". Earlier, the BBC's Mike Wooldridge, outside Mr Mandela's home in the Johannesburg suburb of Houghton, said there appeared to have been an unusually large family gathering. A number of government vehicles were there during the evening as well, our correspondent says. Since he was released from hospital, the South African presidency repeatedly described Mr Mandela's condition as critical but stable. Born in 1918, Nelson Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1943, as a law student. He and other ANC leaders campaigned against apartheid (white-only rule). A look back at the life of Nelson MandelaHe was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964, but was released in 1990 as South Africa began to move away from strict racial segregation. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and was elected South Africa's first black president in 1994. He stepped down after five years in office. After leaving office, he became South Africa's highest-profile ambassador, campaigning against HIV/Aids and helping to secure his country's right to host the 2010 football World Cup. He was also involved in peace negotiations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and other countries in Africa and elsewhere. Nelson Mandela was in hospital for nearly three monthsWhat is your reaction to Nelson Mandela's death? Did you meet him? What are your memories of him? You can share your views below. Source
  8. geeteam

    90 minutes to go in Africa

    For the ten countries remaining in Africa's FIFA World Cup™ qualifying campaign, the journey will come to an end this week with five sides holding tickets to Brazil 2014. Each of the five ties features a side that reached South Africa 2010, so depending on the results from the second leg of the home-and-away play-offs, the continent might have a repeat of the qualifiers from four years ago. The big gameAlgeria - Burkina Faso, 19 November, Mustapha Tchaker Stadium, Blida, 19:15 (local time)Last time around, Algeria were the only African country that qualified via a play-off after finishing equal on all levels with Egypt, whom they edged out with a 1-0 victory. They are looking to emulate that success against Burkina Faso, who travel to North Africa with a 3-2 advantage from the home leg. The Stallions, who are looking for a first-ever appearance at the World Cup finals, will be able to call on the previously injured Aristide Bance, who scored the decisive third goal from the spot in the first leg after having earlier missed a penalty. Algerian coach Vahid Halilhodzic has called up a string of European-based players, including the Inter Milan duo of Saphir Taider and Ishak Belfodil and will be confident in overturning the first-leg deficit with two away goals. ElsewhereAlthough Ethiopian coach Sewnet Bishew is cautiously optimistic that his team can turn around a 2-1 first-leg home defeat against African champions Nigeria on Saturday in Calabar, anything but a Nigerian victory would be a major surprise. The coach welcomes back South African-based striker Getaneh Kebede, who has recovered from a knee injury that forced him out of the first leg. “[Getaneh's] presence will be an added advantage for my attacking options," the coach said. Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi, meanwhile, has once again opted for his strategy of complimenting international stars with locally-based players, and he has also called up American-born Toronto FC striker Bright Dike as a late replacement for Uche Nwofor. Also on Saturday, Senegal face Côte d'Ivoire in neutral Morocco as the Lions of Teranga are still barred from playing at home. Senegalese coach Alain Giresse has once again omitted explosive striker Demba Ba because he has failed to find regular playing time with Chelsea this season. It is a controversial decision since Giresse's team are down 3-1 from the first-leg and in need of goals. He has, though, changed things up by bringing in three new players: defender Zarco Toure, midfielder Pape Diop as well as former Manchester United striker Mame Biram Diouf. As one of the continent's most experienced sides, and with players like Yaya Toure and Didier Drogba available, the Ivorians are favoured to protect their advantage and reach their third finals on the trot. The only match on Sunday sees Tunisia travel to Cameroon with the tie all-square after the two played to a goalless draw in the first leg. Cameroon coach Volker Finke has made a plea for team spirit ahead of the game saying: "We don’t need more quarrels and confusion within the national team. We need unity and peace in order to overcome the hurdle of Tunisia, which is in the interest of the entire nation,” he said. Tunisian coach Ruud Krol made several changes to his squad for the return leg, bringing in Fabien Camus and Stefan Nater, who are based in Belgium and Switzerland respectively, while leaving out former national team captain Karim Haggui and Wahbi Khazri. Next week's other match sees Egypt trying to keep their dream alive of a first finals since 1990, but a 6-1 thumping in the first leg has all-but the most die-hard fans admitted the task is probably impossible, even with a full stadium in Cairo expected. Pharaohs' coach Bob Bradley, who says they will have a "different approach" in the return leg, has opted to retain most of the squad, giving the players an opportunity to redeem themselves. He has picked 11 players from new African champions Al Ahly, and Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah has is taking no chances by selecting his strongest squad for the game, including the Ayew brothers, Jordan and Andre. Did you know?Burkina Faso will have their work cut out for them if they want to prevail in Algeria, as the Fennec Foxes have never lost a match in Blida, winning all but four of the 21 games they have played in the city at the base of the Tell Atlas. However, one of the four teams that escaped with a draw were the Stallions, who managed a 2-2 draw in 2004 in a friendly. Algeria's record in World Cup qualifiers in the city is even more impressive, having won all nine games with a goal difference of 22-5. Player to watchAlthough the Black Stars have all-but qualified, Ghana's players will be eager to show that they are worthy of being included in the World Cup squad. Germany-born Kevin-Prince Boateng has had a mixed relationship with the national team, but since returning to the Bundesliga from AC Milan at the start of the season, the midfielder has been on song for Schalke 04, and he'll no doubt be looking to cement a spot in the team with a strong performance. What they said"I think [an African team] may have a stronger chance [to win the World Cup next year] than any of the European teams, to be perfectly honest, because of the climate. There are many African players out there of excellent quality who play in the top European leagues and that makes the African nations very strong," England manager Roy Hodgson. Source
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