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Live Reporting

Clare Spencer and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

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  1. Scroll down for Tuesday's stories

    We'll be back on Thursday

    That's it from us today. We won't be here tomorrow but don't fret as we'll be back on Thursday.  In the meantime, keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or checking the BBC News website

     Here's a reminder of today's wise words:

    Quote Message: A child's lie is like a dead fish in a pond that in the end always comes to the surface." from A Luo proverb sent by James Otieno Ouma, Homabay, Kenya.
    A Luo proverb sent by James Otieno Ouma, Homabay, Kenya.

    Click here to send us you African proverbs

    And we leave you with this picture of an Ivory coast fan in Oyem in northern Gabon with his specially adapted vuvuzela ahead of his team's match against Morocco later this evening:  

    man with horn
  2. Will verbal divorce be outlawed in Egypt?

    BBC World Service

    Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has expressed alarm at the high divorce rate in the country and suggested introducing legislation to outlaw the practice of verbal divorce.

    Muslim men can divorce their wives by saying "I divorce you". In 2015, Egypt had one case of divorce every four minutes. 

    About 40% of divorces take place in the first five years of marriage. 

    Mr Sisi said the proposed legislation could give couples an opportunity to reconsider.

    There has been no comment from religious leaders yet. 

  3. Uganda's book group trend extends to a psychiatric hospital

    #UgandaReading is a hashtag where each month everyone in the country is encouraged to read the same book. 

    It has been spreading throughout the country, even at a psychiatric hospital.

    BBC Focus on Africa went to visit Butabika hospital in the capital, Kampala, for the launch of their book club:

    View more on twitter

    People donating books were told to write the name of the hospital down the side of the book:

    View more on twitter

    The person who started the national challenge, Raziah Athman, told Focus on Africa that she started it with much more modest plans - to help her motivate herself to just open a book once in a while.

    Listen to the whole interview on Focus on Africa radio.

  4. Trump's abortion policy 'punishes poor'

    23/01/2017 AFP/Getty Images US President Donald Trump after signing several executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, January 23, 2017.
    Image caption: Mr Trump won a highly divisive election in the US

    US President Donald Trump is punishing poor countries by banning funding for pro-abortion groups, says Evelyne Opondo of the Centre for Reproductive Rights in Kenya's capital, Nairobi.

    In a BBC interview, she said the decision would have a huge impact in Africa where many health ministries were heavily dependent on aid: 

    Quote Message: This is a very unfortunate move because this move disqualifies organisations from US assistance... even where abortion is legal in their own countries and even though abortion is legal in the US. It feels like this is punishing the countries that are poor, just for being poor and because the US extends a hand in supporting us in one way or another.

    She said withdrawing funding could potentially affect the lives of many women, including in cases where "women have been raped, in cases of incest and even when their lives will be in danger".

    See earlier post for more details

  5. Fury over Big Brother Nigeria being staged in South Africa

    Image caption: The reality show is extremely popular

    Nigeria's government has ordered the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to investigate why reality TV show Big Brother Nigeria is being filmed in South Africa.

    The NBC should determine whether South African-owned entertainment firm MultiChoice breached the Nigerian Broadcasting Code by staging the show in South Africa, and whether it was involved in "possible deceit" against the viewing public, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed said in a statement.

    He added:  

    Quote Message: “As a country of laws, only the outcome of the investigation will determine our next line of action.’’

    Multichoice has not yet commented. 

  6. 'Stop in-laws stealing widows' houses'

    People outside house

    The Zimbabwean government should stop in-laws from taking widows' homes from them when their husbands die, says campaign group Human Rights Watch (HRW).

    In 2013, Zimbabwe adopted a new constitution that provides for equal rights for women, including for inheritance and property. 

    But, HRW says in a report out today that in practice this laws only apply to widows in officially registered marriages and at least 70% of rural marriages are customary, according to UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates.

    HRW are calling for widows with customary marriages to have these rights too.

    Some of those interviewed by HRW said their in-laws simply forced them out of their homes immediately after their husbands died. 

    Others said their in-laws threatened, physically intimidated, and insulted them to make them leave. In some cases, distant relatives of the deceased showed up years later and took over their property.

  7. Gambian MPs brand Jammeh a 'dictator'

    Image caption: Mr Jammeh seized power in a coup in 1994

    A journalist has tweeted that lawmakers in the Gambia have promised that they will not allow another "dictator" to emerge in the tiny West African state as they prepare for former estate agent Adama Barrow's presidency after Yahya Jammeh was forced into exile after 22 years in power:  

    View more on twitter

    Read: from estate agent to president

  8. Off-grid Kenyans get satellite TV

    People watching TV

    People living off the mains electricity grid in Kenya have been trying out solar power for a few years now.

    But for the first time in December, they now have access to pay-TV satellite channels.

    A solar company, Azuri Technologies and satellite TV provider Zuku teamed up to make solar TV kits.

    Solar panels are fixed to the roof of homes, and connect to a batteries which power a range of appliances, including lamps, mobile phone chargers, and a 24-inch (61cm) TV which accesses Zuku's Smart satellite TV service.

    Users pay an upfront fee of 4,999 Kenyan shillings ($49, £39) for the system and thereafter pay 149 shillings per day. By the end of two years on this payment schedule, customers own the kit outright.

    Read more about solar power innovations on the BBC News website.

  9. Gambia state of emergency lifted

    The Gambia's Parliament has scrapped the state of emergency it imposed last week in a failed bid to help strongman Yahya Jammeh stay in power, reports the BBC's Umaru Fofana from the capital, Banjul. 

    A member of Mr Jammeh's party apologised for parliament's decision to back the 90-day emergency, which Mr Jammeh declared to prevent Adama Barrow from taking office, our correspondent adds. 

    Mr Jammeh had rejected Mr Barrow's victory in the 1 December election, but was forced into exile on Saturday.  

    ECOWAS (Economic Community of Western Africa States) troops from Senegal move towards the Gambian statehouse on January 23, 2017 in Banjul, The Gambia.
    Image caption: Regional troops are in The Gambia to help secure the country for Mr Barrow
  10. Trump strikes fear among pro-abortion groups

    Anne Soy

    BBC Africa, Nairobi

    Groups which support abortion in Kenya have decried the decision by US President Donald Trump to reinstate a policy which denies them American funding. 

    The so-called Global Gag Rule was established by then-President Ronald Reagan in 1984 but has been abolished each time a Democrat took office and reinstated by their Republican counterparts. 

    At least a dozen Kenyan clinics affiliated to International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPFF) are likely to be affected by Mr Trump's decision to bring back the Global Gag Rule.  

    Five of them were shut down 16 years ago when then-President George W Bush reinstated the controversial policy. 

    Having learnt from experience, they now fear the worst. 

    President Barak Obama (R) and President-elect Donald Trump smile at the White House before the inauguration on January 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C.
    Image caption: Mr Trump has promised to reverse key policies of Mr Obama
  11. When will Barrow return to The Gambia?

    The Gambia's President Adama Barrow may return home on Thursday, the Africa correspondent of the UK-based Times newspaper has tweeted:

    View more on twitter

    Mr Barrow is in Senegal, where he took the oath of office last Thursday after his predecessor Yahya Jammeh declared a state of emergency in a bid to cling to power. 

    But Mr Jammeh went into exile on Saturday following mediation by regional leaders and the threat by Senegalese-led forces to forcibly eject him from the presidential mansion.  

  12. The anthem of Gambia's political crisis

    Red Card, a song by Silky Criss, became the anthem of The Gambia’s recent political crisis.

    The Gambian singer himself then got involved in spraying graffiti urging Yahya Jammeh, who went into exile in Equatorial Guinea over the weekend, to stand down as president after losing elections in December.

    Video content

    Video caption: 'Gambian anthem': Red Card for Jammeh
  13. Ethiopian-born actress up for Oscar

    Ruth Negga

    Ethiopia-born actress Ruth Negga has been nominated for an Oscar for best actress for her part in the film Loving.

    The story is based on a real-life couple, Richard and Mildred Loving, who were arrested in Virginia, US, five weeks after their wedding in 1958, when inter-racial marriage was still banned in the state. 

    They challenged - and changed - the US's last remaining segregation laws, People Magazine explains.

    As for the actress herself, Ms Negga was seven when her Ethiopian father died in a car accident. She was raised by her Irish mother, a nurse, and they moved around before settling in Dublin, reports The Guardian.  

    Ms Negga is up against Meryl Streep for her performance in Florence Foster Jenkins and Natalie Portman for her portrayal of Jackie Kenedy.

    Read the full list of nominations on the BBC News website.

  14. Forty years in a refugee camp

    Thousands of Sahrawis, natives of Western Sahara, have been living in refugee camps in Algeria for more than 40 years. 

    As the political deadlock continues, they face a cut in aid and some fear renewed conflict.

    Watch their story:

    Video content

    Video caption: Western Sahara: Forty years in a refugee camp
  15. Anti-Rhodes activist gets Rhodes scholarship

    Andrew Harding

    BBC News, Johannesburg

    A South African activist who campaigned to remove a statue of Cecil Rhodes from an Oxford college in the UK has accepted a university scholarship from the Rhodes Trust, prompting allegations of hypocrisy. 

    Joshua Nott was heavily involved in the Rhodes Must Fall movement, which condemned the British industrialist as an outdated symbol of racism and colonialism. 

    But today Mr Nott is heading to Oxford University with a Rhodes scholarship, paid from a trust set up by the imperialist and mining magnate more than a century ago. 

    On social media, the word hypocrisy has been widely used. 

    View more on twitter

    Mr Nott, the son of a wealthy South African lawyer, has rejected the criticism. 

    He said he would use the scholarship to fight against the ideals that Rhodes once represented. 

    The Rhodes Trust has also defended its decision and praised Mr Nott's dedication to social justice. 

    Other critics have wondered whether poorer South Africans might be more deserving of a scholarship worth some $50,000 (£40,000). 

    Students attack the defaced statue of British mining magnate and politician, Cecil John Rhodes, as it is removed by a crane from its position at the University of Cape Town on April 9, 2015, in Cape Town.
    Image caption: Rhodes statue was removed from South Africa's University of Cape Town in 2015
  16. Headlines from outside Africa

    BBC World Service

     * The British government will introduce legislation within days to comply with a Supreme Court ruling that it must let parliament vote on the process of triggering the UK's departure from the European Union. The minister overseeing Brexit, David Davis, said the new law would not delay the government's plan to start the leaving procedure by the end of March.

    * Russia, Iran and Turkey have agreed to set up a mechanism to monitor the fragile ceasefire in Syria. They've issued a joint declaration at the end of two days of peace talks in Kazakhstan. 

    * China has said it won't back down over its claims to the South China Sea, saying it has indisputable sovereignty over the islands there and surrounding waters. The comments follow the Trump administration's pledge that the US will protect international territories in that area. 

    This aerial view of the city of Sansha on an island in the disputed Paracel chain, which China now considers part of Hainan province on July 27, 2012
    Image caption: China is one of a number of countries who lay claim to parts of the South China Sea
  17. Nigeria air strike 'killed 115'

    The number of people killed in last week's botch air strike by Nigeria's military has been revised from 236 to 115. 

    Local official Babagana Malarima told the BBC that the number of wounded had been mistakenly added to the number of killed, resulting in the earlier figure of 236. 

     He said he had just been to the community which had been affected by Thursday's bombing in a remote area of Rann, near the border with Cameroon, and had confirmed that the death toll was 115.


    The military said it acted on wrong intelligence, thinking it was bombing a Boko Haram camp when it was, in fact, a camp of people who fled the militant Islamists.

  18. UN urged to speed up deployment of South Sudan peacekeeping force

    UN peacekeeper

    The body monitoring the peace agreement in South Sudan has called on the UN Security Council to speed up the deployment of a regional peacekeeping force to the capital Juba. 

    It also said that the national dialogue initiative announced by President Salva Kiir would only work if it was genuinely inclusive, and addressed the fighting in Juba in July. 

    Rebel leader Riek Machar, who had signed a peace agreement, was forced out of the capital during those clashes, and hundreds of people died. 

    Many analysts believe that the peace agreement collapsed at that point. 

    The three-year-old South Sudanese civil war has displaced more than three million people, and killed tens of thousands.

  19. Zanu-PF hits back at Malema over Mugabe jibe

    South African opposition radical party Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema is pictured during the EFF official local election manifesto launch at Soweto's Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg on April 30, 2016.
    Image caption: Mr Malema styles himself as a revolutionary

    A Zimbabwean ruling party MP has dismissed South Africa's firebrand opposition politician Julius Malema as a "little and irrelevant man" after he called President Robert Mugabe, 92, a "grandpa" who should retire. 

    In a Facebook post, Zanu-PF MP Psychology Maziwisa said:   

    Quote Message: Not bothered at all by Julius Malema's latest ranting. He is a little and irrelevant man who is trying desperately to gain political mileage in South Africa by insulting a great man in Zimbabwe. Won't win!"

    Yesterday, Mr Malema, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), said he supported efforts to address the legacy of minority rule in Zimbabwe, but he felt Mr Mugabe needed to step down: 

    Quote Message: We say this out of love. Not because we hate him. We celebrate Mugabe, we celebrate what he has done and we will continue his legacy, but grandpa it's enough now."

    Mr Mugabe will celebrate his 93rd birthday next month. He has been in power since 1980, and has been nominated by Zanu-PF as its presidential candidate in election due next month. 

    Robert Mugabe
    Image caption: Mr Mugabe is the world's oldest ruler
  20. Egypt airs video of murdered Italian student

    video conversation

    Egyptian state television has aired a video of murdered Italian student Giulio Regeni, showing him being asked for money weeks before his death.

    Footage shows the head of a Cairo street vendors' union Mohamed Abdallah repeatedly asking for payments for his wife's cancer operation. 

    The 28-year-old Cambridge University student, who was conducting postgraduate research into trade unions, said academic funding could not pay for personal costs. 

    Mr Abdallah reported him to police a few weeks before he died.

    His body was found tortured in a ditch at the beginning of 2016.

    No-one has been arrested over Mr Regeni's death, although in March Egyptian authorities said they had found a criminal gang responsible for his kidnapping and murder.

    All the gang members were killed in a shoot-out, they said. The reports were branded "implausible" by academics who have criticised the Egyptian authorities.

    Egyptian officials have denied any involvement in the student's death.  

    Read more on the BBC News website.