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A daily chronicle of a rapidly changing continent.

African Union News: UN Secretary General calls for respect for gay rights on the continent

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said African nations must respect gay rights.
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UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon arrives on January 29, 2012 for the official opening of the African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. African Union leaders met Sunday for their first summit since the death of the bloc's founder Muammar Gaddafi, with intense lobbying for its top jobs overshadowing the start of the talks. (TONY KARUMBA /AFP/Getty Images)

BOSTON — While speaking to delegates at the African Union’s two-day summit, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged stronger protection of homosexual rights, BBC news reported.

More from GlobalPost: Ban Ki Moon tells African leaders to respect gay rights


Charles Taylor, former Liberian president, not a CIA agent after all (VIDEO)

Boston Globe admits its claim that Charles Taylor was a CIA spy lacked evidence.
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Charles Taylor, former Liberian president, sits at the International Criminal Court in the The Hague prior to the hearing witnesses testify against him in on Jan. 2008. Taylor is accused of controlling militia that killed and raped thousands in Sierra Leone. He is the first African head of state to appear before an international war crimes tribunal. (Michael Kooren/AFP/Getty Images)

NAIROBI, Kenya — The Boston Globe has all but retracted its recent story alleging that former Liberian President Charles Taylor had worked for the CIA.

Taylor's lawyer Courteney Griffiths had responded angrily — and threatened legal action — on behalf of his client who denies the allegation.

More from GlobalPost: Did Charles Taylor work for the CIA?

This week the Globe published a correction saying it "drew unsupported conclusions and significantly overstepped available evidence when it described former Liberia President Charles Taylor as having worked with US spy agencies as a 'sought-after source.'"

Before getting too carried away it's important to remember that Taylor may not have been a spook, but he still stands accused of some heinous war crimes committed in Sierra Leone. The trial in The Hague continues.

A video of Charles Taylor on trial at the Hague:


Sudan and South Sudan are on the brink, again

Sudan and South Sudan leaders meet at a regional summit in Addis Ababa amid oil-management tensions.
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A view of the new African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa on January 24, 2012. The AU headquarters was built and fully funded by the Chinese government at a cost of $200 million. The building will host this year’s AU Summit in the Ethiopian capital, which brings together heads of state from across the continent. The towering building – Addis Ababa’s tallest – symbolizes China’s strengthening ties with Africa, a major source of foreign investment from China. (Jenny Vaughan/AFP/Getty Images)

NAIROBI, Kenya — The leaders of the two Sudans are meeting at a regional summit in Addis Ababa today amid growing tensions between the neighbors over oil.

Salva Kiir, the president of South Sudan, and Omar al-Bashir, the leader of Sudan, were bitter civil-war enemies. Although the outright fighting is over, the suspicion and enmity are very much alive.

This week, South Sudan began shutting down its oil installations in protest over Khartoum confiscating southern oil, a move it says was to reclaim funds owed by Juba.

More from GlobalPost: South Sudan charges that Sudan steals oil

In the run up to the South's official independence last July, most analysts guessed that Sudan's shared oil would bind them together. Most of the oil lies in the south, but all the pipelines and refineries are in the north.

The two need each other, so the argument went. Instead it has proved increasingly divisive.

Earlier this week South Sudan struck a deal with Kenya to build a new pipeline to export the oil southwards, a move that might offer the south a way around the north. That has angered Khartoum. It's not quite make-or-break at the Addis talks, but fears of a return to conflict are growing.

More from GlobalPost: South Sudan, Kenya agree to oil pipeline


Somalia: Turkey makes presence known in Mogadishu

Turkey is showing its interest in Somalia both on a political and economic level.
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Turkish deputy prime minister Bekir Bozdag (4-L) with Somalia Prime Minister Abduweli Mohamed Ali(2-L) and Turkey ambassador in Somalia, Kani Torun(3-R) walk together on November 26, 2011 at the airport soon after Bozdag arrived in Mogadishu. (Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP/Getty Images)

NAIROBI, Kenya — At a ceremony in Mogadishu this week to mark the relocation of the UN's top diplomat for Somalia to the capital, the country's hierarchy was made clear.

At the head of the table sat the president. To his right was the speaker of parliament and next to him the prime minister. To the president's left sat Augustine Mahiga, Ban Ki-moon's special representative. Next to him was the ambassador of Turkey.

Everyone else was Somali. Turkey is playing an interesting diplomatic game in Somalia.

More from GlobalPost: Iran: Turkey best location to hold nuclear program talks

Turkey opened an embassy a few months ago, its staff as well as Turkish aid workers and journalist travel around the city independently without the armed escorts or armored vehicles that others use.

Turkey is providing humanitarian relief to the victims of the drought and famine and is winning contracts for rebuilding war-shattered infrastructure. In the future, it has its eyes on investment and commercial opportunities.

More from GlobalPost: What role will Turkey play in Iran?

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan led the charge, visiting Mogadishu in August and taking his family with him. His aid workers and diplomats soon followed.

As a moderate Islamic nation straddling the divide between Europe and the Arab world, Turkey is in a peculiarly strong position to mediate between these often conflicting worlds. But Turkey is also doing undoubted good on the ground in Somalia. An article in today's Guardian newspaper in the UK praises Turkey's engagement and chides others for not following suit.

Authors Osman Jama Ali and Mohamed Sharif Mohamud said:

What can be learned from the Turkish initiative is that when you provide sincere assistance directly and immediately to those who are most in need, you gain the hearts and minds of the people.


Lions: Africa's King of the Jungle wows photographer (VIDEO)

Mr Big roars and struts his stuff for wildlife photographer.
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Lions roar and are a fearsome sight. Here a lion performs during the awards ceremony for the 36th Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in Monaco on January 24, 2012. (Valery Hache /AFP/Getty Images)

They don't call him "King of the Jungle" for nothing.

Lions are endangered because humans are steadily reducing their habitat and their hunting grounds. 

But in the parts of Africa that remain wild, lions rule. Their roars at night can be heard for miles and other animals scatter when a pride of lions is around.

I know because I've had a close encounter with a lion. Too close for comfort.

I was fishing with a friend on the Zambezi River at Zimbabwe's Mana Pools National Park. Mana Pools is famous for its abundance of wildlife including elephants, hippos, rhinos, crocodiles and, of course, lions.

Looking for a good fishing spot, we hiked up a ridge that had a great vantage point to see the sweep of the river below. We followed a path through some bushes to a little opening, with lots of grasses tamped down.

"Pew," said my friend. "That stinks like meat eaters shit." And we saw some piles of feces. And some bones.

We were in a lion's lair.

We went down to the Zambezi and started to fish, catching some Tilapia and one of the prized Tiger Fish.

We looked back at the ridge and saw a lion sitting there. I looked through the binoculars. He was looking right at us.

"I hope he's not hungry," I said.

 He was sitting right on the path back to our campsite.

We stopped fishing and decided to hike along the river to take a much longer, but safer, route back to the campground. I kept looking at the lion and he kept looking at us.

Apparently he was not hungry. We got back to the campsite just as it was starting to get dark. That night when we heard the deep, somehow hollow sound, of a lion's roar, I got the shivers.

Now, just for fun, take a look at Mr Big. He is a lion with attitude. Imagine coming across him in the wild!


Joel gets up close and personal with “Mr. Big,” a lion who likes to express himself.





Nigeria: Boko Haram suspects arrested after Kano bombings (VIDEO)

Nigeria arrested 158 Boko Haram members after recent bombings in Kano.
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Shehu Idris, a cousin of suspected member of the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram, Uzairu Abba Abdullahi, squats on Jan. 24, 2012 in his blood-stained home in the Tsamiyar Boka neighborhood of the northern Nigerian city of Kano. (Aminu Abubakar/AFP/Getty Images)

The Nigerian Joint Miltary Task Force arrested 158 suspected members of the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, three days after a series of bomb attacks that left at least 200 people dead in Kano, Nigeria's second largest city.

One resident said in the dawn operation raid police officers encircled a house where a Boko Haram suspect was believed to be hiding, reported BBC.

"They began shooting, and he fired back ... This was followed by a barrage of gunfire by the security men," said Mohammed Maikubi Bala to the AFP news agency, reported BBC.

The raid lasted several hours.

More from GlobalPost: Dozens killed in Kano bomb, gun attacks

Unknown attackers threw explosives at a police station and opened fire on the building on Tuesday evening.

Here is a video of the attack on police in Kano, Nigeria's second largest city:

RAW VIDEO: Attack on Police in Kano, Nigeria
World News Videos by NewsLook

Police announced that they seized 10 cars laden with explosives and found 300 other improvised explosive devices hidden in soft drink cans and bottles at a number of locations in Kano, according to CNN.

More from GlobalPost: Boko Haram goes from bad to worse

Increasingly violent attacks by Boko Haram members, who want to overthrow Nigeria's government and impose Islamic law, killed close to 1,000 people last year, reported BBC.

Below is a video of Kano's aftermath of the recent Boko Haram attacks:

Nigeria Copes With Aftermath of Attacks
World News Videos by NewsLook

Sudan News: Clooney satellite project shows preparations for assault

Satellite photos show Sudan army prepares for major assault on Nuba civilians.
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George Clooney in South Sudan in October 2010. (Tim Freccia/Enough Project/GlobalPost)

BOSTON — The Sudan army is preparing a major assault against the Nuba people who live in Sudan’s southern state of South Kordofan, according to new imagery from George Clooney's Satellite Sentinel Project.


Navy SEALs: Somalia raid frees Jessica Buchanan, Poul Thisted

US Navy SEALs attack pirates in Somalia and free hostages Jessican Buchanan, Poul Thisted.
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Jessica Buchanan and Poul Thisted, both aid workers with the Danish Refugee Council in Somalia, were freed by US military forces on Jan. 24. (Danish Refugee Council/Courtesy)
MOGADISHU — US Navy SEALs early Wednesday morning made a daring raid close to the town of Adado in Somalia that left nine pirates dead and safely freed two hostages — American Jessica Buchanan and Dane Poul Thisted.

Kenya News: Deputy Prime Minister and other officials do not face dismissal

Despite standing trial for human rights violations and crimes against humanity, four top Kenyan officials are not forced to resign.
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Kenyan Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta (2ndL), and Cabinet secretary Francis Muthaura (2ndR) attend a hearing, at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, on April 8, 2011. (Bas Czerwinski/AFP/Getty Images)

BOSTON – Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s finance minister and deputy prime minister, will not resign nor will he be fired although he must stand trial for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, BBC News Africa reported.

Githu Muigai, Kenya’s attorney general, stated Tuesday that the government plans to postpone any action toward Kenyatta or the state’s top civil service official, Francis Muthara, until the international court has ruled on Kenyatta’s appeal. 

More from GlobalPost: Presidential candidates Kenyatta and Ruto accused of crimes against humanity

Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s founding President Jomo Kenyatta, and Muthara are accused of gross human rights violations, including directing a militia to murder and rape ethnic Kalenjins and members of then presidential candidate Raila Odinga's Luo tribe in retaliation to accusations of electoral corruption, according to Reuters Africa.

Former Education Minister William Ruto, who plans to run for president in 2013, and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang are currently facing similar charges in a different case.

The violence, which originally was only between supporters of current President Mwai Kibaki and Odinga, spiraled into a dire situation marked by personal vendettas and bloody ethnic violence. The ICC said that the attacks, “were directed against particular groups, namely the Kikuyu, Kamba, and Kisii ethnic groups, because of their perceived political affiliation to Kibaki's Party of National Unity.”

More from GlobalPost: Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto among 4 suspects to stand trial for Kenya post-election violence

The Kenyan Red Cross reported that the violence led to over 1,000 deaths and displaced more than 350,000 people. All four deny the allegations asserted by the ICC.

Both Kenyatta, who reportedly has presidential ambitions of his own, and Muthara have a powerful ally in President Kibaki, who has publicly supported both officials and resisted calls for their resignation.

Kenyatta has not been averse to working with the tribunal. Today, the ICC commended the four individuals standing trial for cooperating, stating that Kenya, “is showing a 21st-century model to manage conflict,” the Associated Press reported

The ICC’s prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo stated that it could take 18 months or longer to actually bring all of those allegedly responsible to trial, creating a real possibility that a candidate elected president in Kenya’s 2013 elections would have to stand trial for crimes against humanity.

More from GlobalPost: High Court delays election date until 2013


Africa News: Business use of iPads is increasing

47 percent of African respondents said their iPads are corporate-issued.
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Ivory Coast's internationally recognized President Alassane Ouattara (L) uses an iPad on Mar. 10, 2011 prior to attending African Union talks in Addis Ababa. (Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images)

BOSTON — When African iPad users think of their glossy tablets, Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja may be the last thing on their minds.

The latest "iPad for Business Survey 2012" from IDG connect reveals that at 13 percent, the proportion of African respondents who say they use their iPad for entertainment is the lowest in the world.

More from GlobalPost: iPad falls from space, still works

African users tend to use their iPad less for entertainment and personal communication than for business purposes.

In fact, the surveys shows that 47 percent of the iPads used in Africa was purchased for the worker by the employee. This is compared to the global average of 24 percent. 

That means African professionals are almost twice as likely as the global average to be supplied with an iPad by their employer, according to ITWeb.

More from GlobalPost: Africa is the fastest growing mobile market in the world

“The research shows that the iPad has emerged as true work device," IDG Kathryn Cave said. "It has heralded seismic shifts in the way its users access and digest information. And it has shown that the African continent has its own unique business landscape."

Of those African professionals who own iPads, 83 percent said they always use their iPad at work, compared to the global average of 51 percent.

The survey revealed other notable statistics: 97 percent of professionals use the iPad for reading and 66 percent say their iPad has partially or completely replaced their laptop.

More from GlobalPost: Apple iPhone Siri, meet competitor Evi, from True Knowledge

Apple’s iPad officially launched in South Africa last January. The iPad 2 with Wi-Fi hit stores in South Africa on April 29.

The "iPad for Business Survey 2012" which you can download here is based on interviews with IT and business professionals across every continent, reported ITWeb.

IDG Connect has not specified the exact size and demographics of its research sample.