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  1. Libya bomb targets police recruits in Zliten
  2. Kenya teacher sentenced to 20 years for radicalising pupils
  3. US donates 24 armoured vehicles to Nigeria
  4. Malawi pastor defends third jet purchase
  5. Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas Day

Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams and Lucy Fleming

All times stated are UK

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  1. Scroll down for Thursday's stories

    We'll be back tomorrow

    That's all for today from the BBC Africa Live page. Listen to the Africa Today podcast and keep up-to-date with developments across the continent on the BBC News website.  

    Today's wise words are: "A fallen tree will be hit by many axes." An Ethiopian proverb sent by Yibekal A Tessema in Switzerland

    Click here to send us your African proverbs

    And we leave you with photo of Esrom and Kenake Isayas, aged four and two, getting into the Orthodox Christian spirit. Thanks go to their father Isayas Mekonnen for sending it in. 

    Esrom and Kenake Isayas
  2. Who will win CAF footballer of the year?

    Conference centre in Abuja, Nigeria

    Security is tight around the venue in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, where the winner of the Confederation of African Football's (Caf) footballer of the year award will be announced tonight.

    The three players are up for the award are:

    • Gabon and Borussia Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
    • Ghana and Swansea's Andre "Dede" Ayew
    • Ivorian and Manchester City's Yaya Toure

    And rehearsals have been going on for the award show:

    View more on twitter
  3. Your photos: Orthodox Christmas celebrations

    Earlier, we put a call out to Orthodox Christians asking for photos of today's Christmas celebrations.

    Kidist, a 22-year-old student sent us these photos of her little sister Matu and grandmother Brhane getting ready to go to church this morning in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa:

    granny and grand daughter
    Granny and granddaughter

    So what's Christmas like in Addis? Kidist told us a bit more: 

    "After midnight, we all gathered to eat 'doro wot' (traditional Ethiopian chicken stew) as we've been fasting for the past 43 days. 

    "In the morning we had 'difo dabo' (traditional bread), drank coffee and 'tela' (traditional beer) and in the afternoon all our neighbours came for lunch. We had a blast!" 

    Mikias has sent us this picture of an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian service in Las Vegas, the same US city where many could say gambling is the dominant religion for the millions who flock to its casinos every year. 

    Orthodox service in las vegas

    And Fesseha, who is in Germany at the moment, has sent us this picture of his family in Ethiopia tucking into a large plate of the doro wot.

    Alas, he tells us, he's not getting any of it: "Unfortunately I'm not home for the holiday. My family sent this pic for me from Addis Ababa. So jealous."

    Thank you for all the photos you've sent in. Apologies that we haven't been able to use them all.

    You can always contact the BBC Africa Live Page on our WhatsApp number +44 7341070844 or email us at

    And click here to see the BBC photo gallery of Orthodox Christmas celebrations round the world.

  4. South Africa lifts ban on US meat imports

    Russell Padmore

    Business correspondent, BBC News

    US meat that was exported

    It looks like a threat by President Barack Obama to exclude South Africa from a lucrative trade deal has forced the government in Pretoria to lift a ban on imports of US meat.

    Most of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa enjoy access to the US market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), a free trade deal designed by Washington to boost trade with the continent.

    By taking advantage of the Agoa deal South Africa exported $176m (£120m) of agricultural products to the US in 2014, notably wine and fruit.

    However, following an outbreak of bird flu in certain states the South Africans banned imports of chicken and beef from the US, a move that provoked a trade dispute between both countries.

    The threat from the White House to revoke South Africa’s duty free status seems to have worked, even though a deadline for an agreement did pass without a settlement.

    Today South Africa's Trade Minister Rob Davies said "we think we have cracked the deal", to allow the country to continue enjoying the benefits of Agoa, pending confirmation from Washington.

    Quote Message: We have succeeded in achieving a balance in maintaining the trade opening with the US and the animal health in South Africa from South Africa's Trade Minister Rob Davies told reporters today
    South Africa's Trade Minister Rob Davies told reporters today

    Earlier this week the chief executive of South Africa’s Chamber of Commerce, Alan Mukoki, told BBC World Business Report that the business community was concerned about the trade dispute.

    He told us: “Quite clearly American chicken farmers would feel hard done by if they feel that South Africa is trying to stop their product coming in.” 

  5. US donates 24 armoured vehicles to Nigeria

    US military official showing armoured vehicle to a Nigerian military officers

    The US has handed over 24 armoured vehicles worth $11m (£7.5m) to Nigeria’s military in Lagos today.

    "These vehicles provide increased protection from improvised explosive devices, roadside bombs, and small arms fire, while offering more maneuverability and better fuel economy than other types of armored personnel carriers,” US defence attache to Nigeria Colonel Patrick Doyle said in a statement.

    The US mission to Nigeria said the equipment "represents part of the continuing US commitment to Nigeria and its neighbours to counter Boko Haram’s senseless acts of terror and promote regional security".

    It said the US is also providing the military with advisers, intelligence, training and logistical support.

    US military official showing armoured vehicle to Nigerian military officers
  6. 'Zimbabwe on its last legs'

    Harare resident Kumbirai Mafunda sent us this photo of a headline banner for the respected Zimbabwean weekly financial newspaper Financial Gazette which came out today:

    Headline from the Financial Gazette

    The paper focuses on the economic crisis facing the country, writing:

    Quote Message: Highlights of the crisis have been in the form of government pushing back salary dates for its increasingly restive 500 000-strong workforce as all key revenue streams such as levies, taxes and duty, dry up

    For more on the civil servants' complaints about their salary payments see our earlier 13:46 post.

  7. South Sudan rivals agree on cabinet positions

    South Sudan has not had much progress to show yet from the peace agreement signed in August.

    But today the warring parties have agreed on how to share out ministerial positions in a transitional government of national unity, the body monitoring the process has said.

    Here’s how key ministries have been divided:

    • Finance, defence, justice and information: President Salva Kiir’s team
    • Petroleum and interior: Rebel leader Riek Machar’s team
    • Foreign and transport: Former detainees aligned to neither side

    A group of unarmed opposition parties will run the cabinet affairs and agriculture portfolios.

    Fighting between forces loyal to Mr Kiir and Mr Machar over the last two years has forced more than 2.2 million people from their homes in South Sudan, which broke away from Sudan in 2011.

    Salva Kiir (l) and Riek Machar (r)
    Image caption: Riek Machar (R) used to be President Kiir's (L) deputy
  8. 'Merry Christmas' to Ethiopian Gooners

    English Premier League football team Arsenal has posted a video of its players wishing their fans in Ethiopia "Melkam Gena", a Christmas greeting in Amharic:

    View more on youtube
  9. Buhari ally arrested in Nigeria arms deal scandal

    Nigeria's anti-corruption agency has arrested a former political associate of President Muhammadu Buhari as part of an ongoing investigation into missing government money earmarked for the purchase of arms to fight Boko Haram, AFP news agency reports.  

    Lawal Jafaru Isa, a former Kaduna state military governor, was detained on Wednesday in Abuja, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) told AFP.

    He is the first ally of Mr Buhari to be arrested as part of the inquiry. 

    There has been criticism from the opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP) that only its members have been targeted by Mr Buhari's administration. 

    Image caption: President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to crack down on corruption
  10. Former PMs to go head to head in CAR run-off

    Abdourahmane Dia

    BBC Afrique

    It’s official: Anicet Georges Dologuele and Faustin Touadera will be the candidates in a presidential run-off in the Central African Republic (CAR) on 31 January.

    The provisional results from the electoral commission for the first round held on 30 December are:

    • Anicet Georges Dologuele: 23.78%, 281,240 votes
    • Faustin Touadera: 19.42%, 229,564 votes
    • Desire Kolingba: 12.6 %, 149,134 votes
    • Martin Ziguele: 10.82%, 121,009 votes

    Turnout: 79%

    The two front-runners are both former prime ministers – and it is hoped the winner will help the country recover from a religious conflict that has wracked the country for the last three years.

    Anicet Georges Dologuele
    Image caption: Anicet Georges Dologuele worked for several years at the Development Bank of Central African States
    Faustin Touadera
    Image caption: Faustin Touadera is an academic and former maths lecturer
  11. Food crisis 'looming in Ethiopia'

    The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization has picked up a story by Bloomberg, which is reporting on the chronic food shortages facing Ethiopians, who have been hit by record droughts: 

    View more on twitter
  12. Life under Boko Haram: Survivors tell their stories

    More than two million Nigerians have fled their homes seeking refuge from Boko Haram insurgents over the last six years.

    One of the largest camps is outside the town of Dalori, just outside the north-eastern city of Maiduguri. 

    BBC Africa's Jimeh Saleh has been speaking some of the camps 18,000 residents about their experiences: 

    View more on youtube

    Read more of Jimeh's reports on the Boko Haram crisis

  13. Coach leaves African champions TP Mazembe

    Coach Patrice Carteron has left African club champions TP Mazembe after his contract with the DR Congo club was not renewed.

    His deal with the club ended on 23 December but the club only made their decision official on 7 January.

    Patrice Carteron

    Read the full story

  14. Top SA news anchor suspended after 'making fun' of minister's accent

    A top news anchor for South African network eNCA has been suspended after mocking a minister's English pronunciation live on air. 

    Following a clip of a speech by Minister for Basic Education Angie Motshekga, cameras cut back to Andrew Barnes in the studio, who then said: 

    “Maybe someone should have a word with the basic education minister about how to pronounce the word ‘epitome’.”

    Andrew Barnes later posted an apology on Twitter, after many reacted angrily to his comments:

    eNCA has described his comments as "not only hurtful and unnecessary, but deeply insensitive”, announcing that he had been taken off air. 

    View more on twitter

    In a week where the issue of race in South Africa has once again been widely discussed, many of those on Twitter detected a racial bias in Mr Barnes' comments: 

  15. Rainy Christmas in 'the Jungle' camp

    It has been a rainy Christmas for Orthodox Christians - many of them Eritrean - celebrating in makeshift churches in the migrant camp in the French port of Calais, known as "the Jungle":   

    Eritrean Orthodox Christians pray beneath a depiction of an angel on the wall of a church in the camp known as "The Jungle" on 7 January 2016 in Calais, France
    An Orthodox church in the so-called Calais jungle camp
    An Eritrean Orthodox Christian woman arrives to attend a Christmas service at a church in the camp known as "The Jungle" on 7 January 2016 in Calais, France
  16. Libya's deadliest single explosion

    Rana Jawad

    BBC North Africa correspondent

    A medical team in Misrata treating the injured
    Image caption: Many of the wounded have been taken to Misrata for treatement

    This bombing at the police academy in Zliten is the deadliest single explosion in Libya to date and comes as hospitals have been suffering from severe shortages in medical supplies.

    Its scale is similar to the multiple bombings in the eastern town of al-Qubbah that targeted a petrol station in February last year. 

    So-called Islamic State (IS) said it was responsible for that attack, just a few months after the radical group first established a foothold in the country.

    Today’s blast has not been officially claimed by any group yet, but it comes against the backdrop of intensified attacks this week by IS militants near Libya’s eastern oil ports.

    Dozens of young police recruits have died today in a country where rival political bodies backed by militias are still playing tug-of-war to assert their control.

    If nothing else, the latest bombing is an indication of how the political and military chaos is degrading the capabilities of institutions.

    Devastating attacks of this kind are on the rise and the ability to prevent them and deal with the aftermath is at an all-time low.

    A wounded boy in Misrata, Libya
    Image caption: This young man is also being treated in Misrata. Hospitals in Libya have been short of supplies for the last year
  17. Zimbabwe journalists arrested over bonuses story

    Brian Hungwe

    BBC Africa, Harare

    Two Zimbabwean journalists have been arrested for a story published in the private Newsday newspaper that said agents from the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) were paid a bonus ahead of other civil servants.

    The bonus, known as the “13th cheque”, should have been paid to all civil servants in December.

    The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) has condemned the arrest of editor Nqaba Matshazi and reporter Xolisani Ncube.

    “We urge the authorities to desist from media repression and follow what normal and decent countries are doing, which respects professional journalism," ZUJ’s Foster Dongozi told the BBC.

    The authorities say the Newsday story is not true.

    The general late payment of civil servants’ salaries has been a pressing issue for the last year.

    Soldiers, policemen and teachers no longer have a firm salary date – and in December none of them received their pay before Christmas.

    Today, the state-run Herald newspaper says government negotiators, who met worker representatives on Wednesday, have announced specific dates for future salary payments – and also promised to soon tell civil servants when their 2015 bonuses will be paid.

    Zimbabwean soldiers on parade
    Image caption: For about a year soldiers, police and teachers have not know what date their monthly salary will be paid
  18. Libya health ministry declares state of emergency

    Rana Jawad

    BBC North Africa correspondent

    Tripoli’s health ministry has declared a state of emergency following the truck bomb at a police academy in the south-western town of Zliten.

    A statement on the ministry's Facebook page called on all hospitals in the Libyan capital and in the western city of Misrata to prepare to receive the dead and wounded.  

    A health ministry spokesman says at least 47 people have been killed and more than a hundred injured in the bombing.

  19. Third private jet for Malawian pastor

    “I am what God says I am. I was born a winner," is how a Malawian pastor, known as Prophet Shepherd Bushiri, has described himself after the acquisition of his third private jet, reports Malawi's Nyasa Times newspaper

    Mr Bushiri is thought to be the richest man in Malawi and has recently revealed that he plans to open a bank and mobile company in South Africa, the paper adds. 

    He posted pictures of the new jet on his Facebook page.

    The latest jet is reportedly a Gulf Stream III jet, which costs $37m (£25m). 

    More than half of Malawi's population of 16 million live under the poverty line. 

    When criticised for spending money that could have been used to help the poor by one follower on Facebook, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri replied:

    "When are you going to sell your phone which you have used to type here and give the money to the poor?" 

  20. IAAF imposes life ban on Papa Massata Diack

    World athletics' ex-marketing consultant Papa Massata Diack has been banned for life from involvement in the sport by the world athletics body.

    The son of ex-world athletics chief Lamine Diack, he was charged with breaches of the IAAF's code of ethics.

    Former All-Russia Athletic Federation chief Valentin Balakhnichev and coach Alexei Melnikov were also banned for life by the IAAF.

    All their charges related to the payment of about £435,000 ($633,000) that Russian former London Marathon winner Liliya Shobukhova allegedly made to have her doping violations covered up.

    “Any lesser sanction would not meet the gravity of their offences,” the IAAF Ethics Commission said.

    Last month, Papa Massata Diack, who lives in Senegal, said he totally rejected accusations by French prosecutors that he had any role in alleged extortion and bribery.

    Papa Massata Diack
    Image caption: Papa Massata Diack, whose father stood down in August, lives in Senegal