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Live Reporting

By Dickens Olewe

All times stated are UK

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  1. Lungu denies involvement in rosewood scandal

    Kennedy Gondwe

    BBC News, Lusaka

    President Edgar Lungu

    Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu has taken to Facebook to express concern over what he called "fake news", saying misleading media reports were polluting the country.

    His comments come amid allegations linking him and his daughter to the illegal sale of the highly sought-after rosewood tree logs, locally known as mukula.

    The investigation on the illegal trade of the mukula tree logs was carried out by the US-based Environmental Investigation Agency.

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    There have been further reports that some members of his cabinet have shared residential plots in a degazetted forest.

    But Mr Lungu has denied the allegations, saying falsehoods in the media have the potential to endanger national peace, stability and unity.

    ”I wish to state categorically that any talk of my involvement in the illegal trade of mukula is a complete falsehood which is aimed at trying to form a distasteful caricature of my administration and I, in the minds of the Zambians.”

    He added that "fake news" could discourage domestic and foreign direct investment, and in the end, disrupt or negate gains made on national development priorities.

    Many Zambians are frustrated by the never-ending news of alleged corruption in the government amidst economic hardship.

  2. Rwanda scraps tax on sanitary pads

    Samba Cyuzuzo

    BBC Great Lakes

    Sanitary pads
    Image caption: Sanitary pads are unaffordable to some

    A tax on sanitary pads has been scrapped in Rwanda to make them more affordable, the ministry of gender has announced.

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    Previously, an 18% value added tax was placed on the pads.

    Consumers are yet to see if the move will reduce the price of sanitary pads in the shops.

    A pack of ten pads currently sells for around 1,000 Rwandan Francs ($1.07; £0.81).

    Activists say that this cost has made them out of reach for some, which has had a big impact on their lives.

    “For many girls and women, especially in rural areas, the cost of the pads is too high. Many still rely to reusable cloth pads” women's activist Saidath Murorunkwere said.

    She added that this is risky because women are more likely to get infections.

    Girls in poor families are known to miss school when they are on their periods because they can’t afford the pads, Aline Berabose, a Rwandan reproductive health activist, told the BBC.

  3. Thirty-five Liberian women deported from the US

    Jonathan Paye-Layleh

    BBC Africa, Monrovia

    Immigration authorities in Liberia have announced they are expecting 35 Liberian women who were deported from the US to arrive in the country later on Wednesday.

    A spokesperson for the immigration service, Abdu Dorley, said on local radio stations that the women, who had been convicted for various crimes, had completed their jail terms in the US.

    Their crimes included aggravated assault, child cruelty, fraud, drunk-drinking, resistance to police actions and weapon-related offenses.

    Every year, Liberia receives groups of deportees from the US, but this is thought to be the first time those being sent to the country are all women.

  4. Qatar stake in Rwandan airport attracts mixed reviews

    Qatar Airways investment in Rwanda Airways
    Image caption: Qatar Airways and the Rwanda government announced the airport deal on Monday

    A deal by Qatar Airways to take a majority stake in Rwanda’s new airport project has had mixed reviews on social media.

    Qatar agreed to take a 60% stake in the project in Bugesera, about 25km (15 miles) outside the capital Kigali, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) posted on Twitter on Monday.

    Many have praised it as a good opportunity for Rwanda’s tourism industry, including this safari company:

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    Others have questioned whether the country is getting a good deal from the investment:

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    The project is valued at $1.3bn (£990m), according to the memorandum of understanding signed on Monday.

    The airport will accommodate seven million passengers a year and is expected to be completed in five years.

    A second phase is also planned, to be completed by 2032, which would double the capacity to 14 million.

  5. Uganda criticises political messages on banknotes

    The Bank of Uganda (BoU) has criticised a trend where people are writing political messages on banknotes and sharing them on social media, saying it was disrespectful and illegal.

    BoU Governor, Emmanuel Mutebile, said in a statement that defacing the banknotes risked destroying their security features and could lead to "the risk of loss of value" and shorten their life span.

    Banknotes with messages of support for musician turned opposition politician Bobi Wine are among those shared on social media.

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    Others backing President Yoweri Museveni re-election in the 2021 elections have also been shared.

  6. Making Ethiopia green again

    Northern Ethiopia lies in one of the semi-arid regions which it's feared will bear some of the worst effects of climate change.

    The land there has lost most of its trees, making it vulnerable to longer droughts and intense bursts of rain.

    But now the people there have restored woodland to one and a half million hectares - capturing CO2 and boosting food production in the process.

    For the last in our series Climate Defenders, alongside the major UN climate conference, Justin Rowlatt travelled to Tigray province to meet a woman at the centre of the restoration.

    Video content

    Video caption: Making Ethiopia green again
  7. The music legend fighting to stop desertification in the Sahel

    Senegalese music legend Baaba Maal has vowed to fight to stop the desertification in the Sahel by planting trees.

    He was born in the town of Podor along the Senegal River which he remembers as a green and beautiful place.

    The region is home to millions of people living in four West African countries; Senegal, Mali, Guinea and Mauritania and its water is vital for the life of the population.

    But the area, which is also part of the Sahel region, has been affected by climate change.

    He told the BBC Newsday programme that he wants every single person in Senegal to be able to say they have planted a tree.

    Listen to the interview:

    Video content

    Video caption: Baaba Maal has been promoting tree planting in his home region
  8. Egypt and Eritrea 'among worst jailers of journalists'

    Egypt, Eritrea and Cameroon are among the worst nations in the world for jailing journalists, a list published on Wednesday by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said.

    The CPJ listed 26 journalists jailed in Egypt - most of whom it says are grouped in mass trials and charged with both terror offenses and false news.

    Specifically, several of the new arrests in Egypt came ahead of protests against army corruption on 19 September, which included calls for President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to resign, said the CPJ.

    The Africa programs co-ordinator for the CPJ tweeted that Eritrea topped the list of most journalists jailed in sub-Saharan countries, with 16:

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    The CPJ said previously that most of the journalists in prison in Eritrea have been jailed since a crackdown in 2001 when the government shut down all independent media.

    Cameroon also comes near the top of the list, with seven detained journalists. One of the seven, Mancho Bibixy, is serving a 15-year sentence on anti-state charges and false news which the CPJ says is in relation to his campaigning for greater autonomy for the English-speaking minority in Cameroon.

  9. Siege at Somali hotel ends

    BBC World Service

    Somali police say they've ended an attack by Islamist militants on a hotel in the capital, Mogadishu, killing all five gunmen.

    Two members of the security forces and three civilians were killed during the fighting at the Somali Youth League (SYL) hotel, which is used by officials and business people.

    At least 82 people were rescued, according to a police statement.

    The incident began with a gun battle between the Islamist al-Shabab militants and members of the security forces manning checkpoints leading to the nearby presidential palace.

  10. Omar al-Bashir summoned for questioning over 1989 coup

    Sudan's former President Omar al-Bashir
    Image caption: Mr Bashir was pictured in Kober prison in Khartoum in June

    Sudan's ousted President Omar al-Bashir was summoned by prosecutors on Tuesday over the 1989 coup that brought him to power, his lawyer has said.

    The legal team did not attend the summons that lasted an hour amid chants from protesters outside the prosecutor's office.

    He went against his legal team's advice.

    Mr Bashir is currently being held at Kober prison in the capital, Khartoum.

    In November, the authorities filed charges against Mr Bashir and some of his aides for "plotting" the coup and a special committee was formed.

    If found guilty, he could face the death penalty or life imprisonment under Sudanese law.

    The former president is facing two other charges.

    In May he was charged with incitement and involvement in the killing of protesters.

    A verdict for another case where he was charged with possessing illicit foreign currency and corruption is expected on Saturday.

  11. Attack on Niger army post 'kills 17'

    Map

    Three soldiers and 14 suspected militants died in an attack on an army camp in Niger, the defence minister is quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

    The attack on the military post in the Tahoua region happened early on Monday morning and was led by heavily armed "terrorists" in a dozen 4x4 vehicles, the minister is reported as saying.

    He said they fought for two hours until the attackers retreated.

    The statement on state TV added that the gunmen fled towards Mali after the battle.

    Armed men attacked another army post on Tuesday evening, AFP quotes a security source as saying.

    Tuesday's attack took place in the area around Inates, according to the source.

    "The attackers came in their dozens, in small groups on motorcycles" and surrounded the camp, the source said.

    Niger and other countries in the Sahel region have been facing a growing threat from Islamist militants, including the Islamic State group and affiliates of al-Qaeda.

    The groups are most active in Mali but often stage cross-border raids.

  12. SA nine-year-old drummer performs on Ellen Show

    Nine-year-old South African-British drummer Nandi Bushell has shared her talent with the world on US chat host Ellen DeGeneres's show.

    Nandi, whose drumming passion started when she was aged five, told DeGeneres on Tuesday that she developed her interest by listening to bands, especially The Beatles.

    "On Saturdays and Sundays, we make pancakes and listen to The Beatles. I saw the drum kit and Ringo Starr, and he inspired me to play the drums," she said.

    During The Ellen Show she performed Nirvana's In Bloom.

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    Nandi has in the past attracted the attention of US singer Lenny Kravitz, who invited her to one of his shows in London in June.

    Kravitz said he had reached out to her after seeing her Instagram videos.

  13. Two gunmen killed in Somali hotel attack

    An ambulance carrying an injured person from an attack by Al Shabaab gunmen on a hotel near the presidential residence arrives to the Shaafi hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia December 10, 2019.
    Image caption: Injured people were collected by ambulance

    Somali security forces tackling an Islamist militant attack on a hotel in the capital, Mogadishu, have killed two of the gunmen.

    They have also rescued 82 people, including civilians and officials.

    It is still not clear if anybody else died.

    The attack began at around 19:00 (16:00 GMT) on Tuesday, when a gun battle broke out between the al-Shabab fighters and members of the security forces guarding checkpoints leading to the nearby presidential palace, reports AFP news agency.

    Gunfire and grenade explosions could be heard during the battle.

    "We thought they were police but they started hurling grenades and firing us when they neared and so we exchanged fire at the gate of the hotel," a police officer is quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying.

    The Somali Youth League (SYL) hotel, which is popular with government officials and business people, has suffered three previous attacks by al-Shabab.

    The al-Qaeda-linked group said in a statement online that it had carried out the attack.

    It carries out regular attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere in Somalia, often targeting hotels.

    In August 2016, it said it was behind a bomb attack on the same hotel which killed 22 people.

    The SYL Hotel attack in August 2016
    Image caption: The SYL Hotel has been targeted before, including in August 2016
  14. Wednesday's wise words

    Our proverb of the day:

    Quote Message: When vultures surround you, try not to die." from Sent by Ibn Jamel in London, the UK, and Paul Walshak in Nigeria
    Sent by Ibn Jamel in London, the UK, and Paul Walshak in Nigeria
    Vulture

    Click here to send in your African proverbs.

  15. The teens standing up to gang violence

    Video content

    Video caption: Temica, Logan and Meagan are trying to tackle growing violence in their South African town

    In the South African town of Atlantis, Temica, Logan and Meagan are tackling violence in their community through their radio show.

  16. Scroll down for Tuesday's stories

    We'll be back on Wednesday

    That's it from the BBC Africa Live team for now. There will be an automated service until Wednesday morning. You can keep up with the news by listening to our Africa Today podcast.

    Here is our proverb of the day:

    Quote Message: Regrets are like grandchildren; they come much later." from Sent by Salim Ben Morchid in Moheli, Comoros
    Sent by Salim Ben Morchid in Moheli, Comoros

    And we leave you with this image by Haria Pratik of graffiti on a train carriage behind Nairobi's railway museum in Kenya, you can read more about the art here:

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  17. Ethiopian Airlines confirms incident at Juba airport

    Ethiopian Airlines has said that one of its aeroplanes "skidded to the side of the runway during take-off", confirming local media reports.

    "All passengers and crew were disembarked safely... We have learnt that the weather was windy and rainy," Ethiopian Airlines said in a Facebook post.

    It has apologised for the inconvenience.

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