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  1. Scroll down for Thursday's stories

    We'll be back on Friday

    That's all from BBC Africa Live for now. There will be an automated service until Thursday morning.

    Or you can keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast.

    A reminder of our wise words of the day:

    Quote Message: A crab only refuses to carry a load on its head because its eyes are on top of it." from A Wolof proverb sent by Joseph Grante and Karamba Jabbi, both from The Gambia
    A Wolof proverb sent by Joseph Grante and Karamba Jabbi, both from The Gambia

    Click here to send in your African proverbs.

    And we leave you with a picture posted on Instagram earlier on Thursday by British-Ghanaian grime artist Stormzy. He said his collaboration with Ed Sheeran and Burna Boy is due to be released at midnight GMT.

    View more on instagram
  2. Ethiopia's ruling coalition parties agree to merge

    BBC World Service

    Ethiopia"s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks at a news conference at his office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia August 1, 2019
    Image caption: Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed says the new party would help reduce ethnic divisions in Ethiopia

    Politicians from Ethiopia's governing Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front coalition have approved the idea of forming a new political party - a plan that has been backed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

    Mr Abiy said the new Ethiopian Prosperity Party would help break down ethnic divisions and unite the country.

    He wants it to become the national driving force to replace the three-decade old ethnically based coalition.

    But one coalition member, the Tigray People's Liberation Front, which dominated the government before Mr Abiy came to power, has refused to join the new party, fearing its influence will be further eroded.

    In a tweet the prime minister called the merger a "crucial step in harnessing our energy to work toward a shared vision".

    View more on twitter
  3. Job seeker: 'Going into labour wouldn't stop me taking exam'

    Florentine Kwizera

    BBC Great Lakes

    Emilienne Manigirubuntu with her baby
    Image caption: Emilienne Manigirubuntu was looking forward to getting a job

    The heavily pregnant Emilienne Manigirubuntu woke up on the morning of her teachers’ recruitment exam last month hoping that a year of unemployment would soon come to an end.

    But the 29-year-old Burundian’s baby had other ideas.

    Nevertheless, even when the first signs of labour began, Ms Manigirubuntu told BBC Great Lakes that she was determined to go ahead with her plan of finishing the exam and then rushing to the maternity ward.

    “This was my third child and I was confident based on my previous experience, that I would make it to the evening, even the following day before giving birth,” she said.

    Her confidence was misplaced, especially as the test was hit by a delay.

    It was supposed to start at 08:00, but the exam paper had still not arrived by 10:00 by which time Ms Manigirubuntu said she could no longer bear the pain

    She discreetly asked a friend to get her a motorbike taxi to the nearby hospital.

    But the labour was progressing so quickly that an official at the exam centre took her to the hospital on his own motorbike.

    Ms Manigirubuntu gave birth to a healthy girl, but soon left the maternity ward and her new born with a midwife and went back to sit the exam.

    Young baby
    Image caption: Emilienne Manigirubuntu gave birth to a healthy girl

    “Unemployment is painful… I told myself that rather than missing this opportunity, I would go and do it, even though I worried that I could feel unwell before the end,” she said.

    There are high levels of unemployment among young people in Burundi.

    Giving birth did not seem to affect Ms Manigirubuntu’s performance and she received an outstanding score.

    She is now hoping to get a job in a secondary school.

    And the name of the baby girl? Itangumugisha, which means “God provides blessings”.

  4. EU and Zimbabwe start high-level talks to smooth relations

    Shingai Nyoka

    BBC News, Harare

    European Union officials are holding their highest level talks with Zimbabwe for almost 20 years in an effort to improve relations which soured under former President Robert Mugabe's rule.

    The talks between ministers, rather than civil servants, could lead to the resumption of financial assistance to Zimbabwe which is in an economic crisis.

    In 2002, the EU imposed sanctions on individuals and businesses due to human rights abuses and a controversial land reform programme.

    When President Emmerson Mnangagwa came to power two years ago, he pledged to repair diplomatic ties.

    The talks come amidst the EU’s growing concern over intimidation, harassment and physical attacks on human rights activists, trade union and civil society representatives, and opposition politicians.

    The EU is expected to raise concerns about this, as well as about government expenditure.

    An anti-riot police man in Zimbabwe tackles a woman with his boot as they dispersed a crowd gathered to hear an address by leader of the MDC
    Image caption: On Wednesday, violently dispersed a crowd near the headquarters of the opposition MDC
  5. Ivory Coast expecting record cotton crop

    Russell Padmore

    Business correspondent, BBC News

    The current cotton crop in Ivory Coast is expected to reach a record amount in this harvest.

    The Cotton Ginners Association has forecast that it will hit a record 510,000 tonnes, up from about 468,000 tonnes in the previous season.

    It says that part of the explanation lies in the good rains, but also the amount has risen as more land has been devoted to growing the crop.

    Almost all of the cotton the country produces is exported and processed elsewhere. Ivory Coast joins Mali, Benin, and Burkina Faso as one of the continent's main cotton exporters.

    The government aims to achieve 600,000 tonnes of production by 2020.

  6. Measles kills nearly 5,000 in DR Congo

    Gaius Kowene

    BBC Africa, Kinshasa

    Image caption: There has been a vaccination campaign, but there are not enough vaccines available

    A measles outbreak has killed nearly 5,000 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the beginning of the year.

    Cases of the contagious disease have now reached all of the country's 26 provinces.

    The DR Congo is battling the world’s worst outbreak amid immense logistical challenges.

    The ministry of health says there have been more than 240,000 cases since January - making it by far the worst year in a decade.

    Although four million children have been vaccinated, experts say less than half of the country's children have been reached and there are not enough vaccines available.

    The extremely poor road network means it is hard for health workers to access every community.

    This measles outbreak has killed twice as many people as the current Ebola crisis.

  7. Sky 'regrets report based on misleading information'

    Sky News has said that its report identifying the stowaway who in June fell from a Kenya Airways plane onto a garden in London as Paul Manyasi was "founded on misleading information".

    Its investigation released earlier this month included interviews with a man it had identified as Mr Manyasi's father.

    But that man has told Kenyan Daily Nation newspaper that his son - named as Cedric Shivonje Isaac - is alive, and being held in prison for an unrelated crime.

    In its first comments since the controversy around its investigation blew up, Sky News said it regretted the fact that it had been misled.

    Sky News had also said that Mr Manyasi had worked for a cleaning company called Colnet, which operates in Nairobi's main airport. But in Thursday's statement Sky said "we apologise to Colnet for suggesting the stowaway was one of their employees".

    Both the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) and Colnet have issued statements saying they are not aware of anyone called Paul Manyasi, and in particular that an airport security pass has never been issued in that name.

    Read more:

  8. Cameroonian teen wins international peace prize

    Indian children"s right"s activist and 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kailash Satyarthi (L) presents the International Children"s Peace Prize 2019

    Fifteen-year-old Cameroonian Divina Maloum has won a children's international peace prize for her work with young people who have suffered extremist violence, particularly in the north of her country.

    The prize was awarded by Dutch organisation KidsRights, which says it wants children to be recognised for their efforts to improve their own situation. Environmental activist Greta Thunberg also won the award alongside Ms Maloum.

    In 2014, the Cameroonian teenager founded the Children for Peace movement to work with child victims of terror.

    She goes to communities to talk to children about their rights and tell them that they do not have to be drawn into the violence.

    Boko Haram - which is based in Nigeria - has been carrying out attacks over the border in Cameroon since 2014.

    The group often recruit children - particularly girls - to carry out attacks. A video produced by KidsRights shows Ms Maloum warning young Cameroonians not to get involved.

    She can be seen displaying a cartoon, with the title "I'm not a hero when I carry bombs", which shows a young girl refusing to wear a suicide vest.

    Still froma You Tube film

    Ms Maloum has "organised an inter-community children's peace camp, established peace clubs in mosques, and together with other children, made a children's declaration against violent extremism", KidsRights says.

    Accepting the award in The Hague on Wednesday, she said that "to end violence and build peace we need children" and she dedicated her award "to all children who are suffering atrocities due to war".

    She wrapped up her speech saying: "I invite my fellow children around the world to stand up for their rights."

  9. A boost to Ramaphosa's war on corruption

    Analysis on the arrest of ex-South African minister

    Milton Nkosi

    BBC Africa, Johannesburg

    The shocking arrest of Bongani Bongo - a senior member of the governing African National Congress (ANC) - on 13 charges of corruption and bribery sends a powerful message about the war against corruption in South Africa.

    President Cyril Ramaphosa has often been criticised for being too slow in his fight against corruption, but the arrest of a senior member of his own party might allay fears of those who thought that he was a toothless president.

    Obviously the main test will be whether there is a conviction at the end of a corruption trial.

    The numbers of those who end up behind bars after being arrested for corruption is still unacceptably low.

    Mr Bongo did not enter a plea in his court appearance on Thursday. He was released on bail and is due back in court in January.

    View more on twitter
  10. Wydad coach Manojlovic thrilled to work in Morocco

    Wydad Casablanca's Serbian coach Zoran Manojlovic

    The usually reticent Serbian coach Zoran Manojlovic says he is thrilled to be working at Morocco's Wydad Casablanca.

    Manojlovic has been in charge of the former African champions since Julyafter working at three clubs in Angola.

    The 57-year-old began his coaching career in Portugal before heading to Angola.

    "It is a good experience to work here in Morocco as head coach of one of the best clubs in Africa. The work here is going very well," he told BBC Sport.

    "The Moroccan league is one of the best in Africa along with Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt.

    "The Casablanca derby is amazing with 60,000 fans attending - half Wydad half Raja, it is a very good game and no matter the result Moroccan football is the winner."

    Read more from BBC Sport.

  11. Ethiopia PM's plan to form new party challenged

    Elias Mulugeta Hordofa

    BBC Afaan Oromoo

    The leaders of three of the parties in Ethiopia's ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), are meeting to approve the formation of a new unitary Prosperity Party, backed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

    The EPRDF is made up of four parties - the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), the Amhara Democratic Party (ADP), the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) and the Southern Ethiopian People's Democratic Movement (SEPDM).

    But the TPLF is not backing the merger, which was approved by the EPRDF's executive committee by a majority vote.

    Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed tried unsuccessfully to convince TPLF members to come on board in a separate meeting, the BBC has learned.

    The TPLF sees the merger as a betrayal of the country's ideology of "revolutionary democracy".

    But the TPLF, which was once dominant in the ruling coalition, is also concerned about losing its influence, analysts say.

  12. Tanzanian journalist Azory Gwanda still missing after two years

    Elizabeth Kazibure

    BBC News, Tanzania

    The employer of Tanzanian journalist Azory Gwanda, who has not been seen since he disappeared exactly two years ago, is marking the anniversary with a tree-planting ceremony.

    Mr Gwanda went missing in the south of the country in 2017 where he had been investigating a string of mysterious killings.

    The government has said that the journalist's disappearance is being looked into along with others who have been reported missing.

    The authorities have not, however, announced any major breakthrough.

    In July, Foreign Minister Palamagamba Kabudi appeared to say in a BBC interview that the journalist had died, but the government later clarified his comments saying that his whereabouts were still unknown.

    Journalists, media organisations such as the Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ), and rights activists, have been pushing the authorities to make Mr Gwanda’s case a priority.

    Mwananchi newspaper has published a full page tribute to the journalist with his mural covered in quotes from people who knew him well.

    The paper also shared the image on Twitter:

    View more on twitter

    On Twitter, different hashtags such as #WhereIsAzory and #MrudisheniAzory ("Bring back Azory") have been trending to mark the anniversary.

  13. Sex-for-grades scandal: Ghana lecturers 'breached rules'

    Professor Ransford Gyampo and Dr Paul Kwame Butakor
    Image caption: Ransford Gyampo and Paul Kwame Butakor were filmed by undercover BBC reporters

    Two lecturers at the University of Ghana will face a disciplinary commission after an investigation set up by the university found evidence that they had breached its code of conduct with their behaviour that was exposed in the BBC Africa Eye's sex-for-grades film.

    Prof Ransford Gyampo and Dr Paul Kwame Butakor were secretly filmed propositioning journalists posing as students for the documentary.

    Both men denied any wrongdoing.

    They were suspended in October pending an investigation.

    The university has now said that a fact-finding committee established that the two men had gone against the code of conduct, which says that staff "shall at all times comport themselves in ways that will enhance their image and that of the university".

    They also went against the rule that "no member of the university shall engage in a course of vexatious conduct... that is known to be unwelcome".

    The two lecturers could face sanctions ranging from a reprimand to dismissal.

    Watch the sex-for-grades film:

    View more on youtube
  14. Sky News takes down controversial stowaway story

    British broadcaster Sky News has taken down from its website its investigation that said it had identified a stowaway who fell from a plane into a garden in London in June.

    The identification has since proved controversial.

    The story with the headline: Who was the man who fell from the sky, named the dead man as Paul Manyasi, saying he worked for a cleaning company at the main airport in Kenya's capital, Nairobi.


    It later turned out that the photo that the journalist had used to identify the stowaway was of another man, Cedric Shivonje Isaac, who is being held in a Kenyan prison for an unrelated crime.

    Local newspaper Daily Nation spoke to Mr Shivonje who accused Sky News of using pictures from his Facebook page to misidentify him.

  15. Ex-South Africa minister charged with corruption

    A former South African state security minister has appeared in court on allegations of corruption.

    Bongani Bongo - who was seen as close to former President Jacob Zuma - is accused of offering money to a lawyer giving evidence at a parliamentary inquiry into corruption at the state power company, Eskom in 2017.

    Mr Bongo did not enter a plea. He was released on bail and is due back in court in January.

    Mr Zuma appointed him state security minister two weeks after the alleged bribery took place.

    He lasted only four months in the job.

  16. Jaidi hopes US move could lead to bigger things

    Tunisian coach Radhi Jaidi

    Former Tunisia captain, Radhi Jaidi, is hoping his move to work in the USA's second-tier will help him land a job in one of Europe's top leagues.

    Jaidi is set to join Hartford Athletic in the USL Championship on a 12-month secondment from English club Southampton, where he was the under-23 coach.

    "During these 12 months I will experience the head coach role. This is the next step of my development," the 44-year-old told BBC Sport.

    "I have been working for ten years in Southampton as a player and as a coach and during these years, I have learnt the basics of developing players and progressing players from the under-23's to the first team.

    "I have always been looking forward to my next step which is becoming the first team coach."

    Jaidi, who made 66 appearances for the Saints as a player, is looking forward to the opportunity of coaching a first team.

    Read the full story on the BBC website

  17. Abiy congratulates Sidama voters

    Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has congratulated voters who took part in the referendum held on Wednesday in what is known as the Sidama zone, in southern Ethiopia.

    More than two million people were eligible to vote on whether they want their own regional state within Ethiopia's federal system.

    If the referendum passes as expected, the new state, largely home to the Sidama ethnic group, who make up about 4% of the country's population, will control local taxes, education, security and laws.The vote comes ahead of a national election next year.

    Mr Abiy tweeted that the country's differences should be resolved at the ballot box:

    View more on twitter

    The results are expected later on Thursday.

    Analysts say the referendum will be closely watched by other ethnic groups hoping to get their own federal regional state.

    At least 17 people died in clashes in July between the Ethiopian security forces and Sidama activists, after the government delayed the poll.

    Read more: Ethiopia referendum: Sidama poll could test Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

  18. Nigeria challenges UK's court asset seizure ruling

    BBC World Service

    The Nigerian government has appealed against a London court ruling which required it to pay $200m (£155m) to prevent a firm from beginning to seize the country's assets worth $9.6bn.

    In August, a British court ruled in favour of the company, Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID).

    It had fought a long-running legal battle with the Nigerian authorities over a failed project to build a gas processing plant.

    P&ID claims successive Nigerian administrations failed to fulfil their end of the deal, causing it to lose on its investment.

    The Nigerian government says the deal was fraudulent and amounted to economic sabotage.