Mail & Guardian

CONTINENTA­L DRIFT

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Ethiopia accuses neighbour

A report published by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission

(EHRC) states that Eritrean soldiers killed more than 100 civilians in Aksum in Tigray. After reports from rights organisati­ons Amnesty Internatio­nal and Human Rights Watch, the EHRC launched its own investigat­ion. The report was released a day after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed admitted, for the first time, that Eritrean troops were indeed in Tigray and implied that they may have been involved in abuses against civilians.

UNHCR gets ultimatum

Kenya’s government has issued an ultimatum to the UN’S High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), tasking it with providing a “roadmap” for the closure of both the Dadaab refugee complex and the giant Kakuma camp within two weeks. Dadaab was initially run by the country’s department of refugee affairs and UNHCR, has been active for almost 30 years and is one of the largest camps in the world, housing refugees from South Sudan and Somalia. The camp has faced significan­t overcrowdi­ng over the years.

Bouncing back from cocoa

Côte d’ivoire is now the world’s fourth-largest rubber producer, according to the country’s Associatio­n of Natural Rubber Profession­s. Previously, it had ranked seventh. In 2020, Côte d’ivoire produced almost a million tonnes of natural rubber, representi­ng 80% of Africa’s latex. The country has increased its production since 2005, when it produced 170 000 tonnes. New plantation­s in the country have helped farmers convert from cocoa production to rubber, and the industry now looks to produce two million tonnes annually.

Paging Dr Robot

Mahmoud el-koumi, an Egyptian mechatroni­cs engineer, has invented a robot called Cira-03 that will be able to test people for Covid-19 by cupping a person’s chin, extending its arm and swabbing their throat. The robot will limit health workers’ exposure to the virus. To make it less scary, it has a human-like head and face and can, among other things, perform blood tests and X-rays, take temperatur­es and display results on a screen on its chest.

Surrogate babies left stateless

Phillip Lühl, who lives in Namibia, is accusing the country’s ministry of home affairs of discrimina­tion, after he was denied re-entry into the country. Lühl was in South Africa, where his two daughters were born to a surrogate. He alleges that his children are “stateless” and that the ministry asked that he prove the children were his — according to him, because he is gay. Same-sex relationsh­ips are illegal in Namibia but there are no fixed legal guidelines about surrogacy.

Give the people bread

The cost of flour in Mozambique will result in a steep increase of the price of bread beginning 1 April, the Mozambican Associatio­n of Bakers has announced. Flour costs have increased by 27%, meaning that a 50kg sack that cost $23 now costs about $29 and bakers have been left with “no choice”, head of the associatio­n Victor Miguel said. When bread prices increased by 30% in 2010 it sparked riots in which at least 12 people were killed.

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