Cairo, Sep 2 (AP/UNB) — Egypt's presidency has ratified a controversial legislation imposing regulations on social media that is says aims to crack down on fake news.
The law, published in the country's official gazette on Saturday, places social media accounts with over 5,000 followers under the supervision of the top media authority, which can block them if found to be disseminating false news.
In August, the president ratified an anti-cybercrime law empowering authorities to order the blocking of websites that publish content considered a threat to national security.
Amnesty International criticized both legislations in a July statement saying they "give the state near-total control over print, online and broadcast media."
Egypt has regularly jailed journalists as part of a crackdown on dissent since the 2013 military overthrow of an elected but divisive Islamist president.
Nairobi, Sep 2 (AP/UNB) — At least three people were killed, including a child, after a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle outside the compound of a district headquarters in Somalia's capital, police said Sunday.
Capt. Mohamed Hussein said the bomber tried to speed through a checkpoint but was stopped by security forces, prompting him to detonate the vehicle near the gate of Howlwadag district headquarters.
He said another four people were wounded, mostly young students at a nearby Islamic school. Officials warned there could be more casualties as the blast pulled down nearby buildings including a mosque.
"They have literally failed to achieve their goal of inflicting maximum casualties," Hussein said, accusing the al-Qaida-linked extremist group al-Shabab of carrying out the attack.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion, which shattered a period of calm in seaside Mogadishu. The Somalia-based al-Shabab often targets the capital with bombings, including a truck bombing in October that left at least 512 people dead.
Somali troops are meant to take over the Horn of Africa nation's security in the coming years from an African Union force but concerns about their readiness remain high. The U.N. Security Council recently voted to delay the reduction of troops in the AU force from October to February and the target date to hand over security to Somali forces to December 2021.
Cairo, Sep 2 (AP/UNB) — Egypt said Sunday that archeologists have unearthed one of the oldest villages ever found in the Nile Delta, with remains dating back to before the pharaohs.
The Antiquities Ministry said the Neolithic site was discovered in Tell el-Samara, about 140 kilometers (87 miles) north of Cairo. Chief archaeologist Frederic Gio said his team found silos containing animal bones and food, indicating human habitation as early as 5,000 B.C.
That would be some 2,500 years before the Giza pyramids were built.
In recent years, Egypt has touted discoveries in the hopes of reviving tourism after the unrest that followed its 2011 popular uprising.
Kampala, Sep 1 (AP/UNB) — A Ugandan pop star-turned-opposition lawmaker flew out of the country for medical treatment after alleged torture while in detention, his lawyer said, a day after security forces blocked him from boarding a flight to the U.S. and set off a new round of protests.
Bobi Wine, whose real name is Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, departed Entebbe International Airport on a KLM flight near midnight after authorities said they had given him the necessary clearance, Nicholas Opiyo said on Twitter.
Video posted by Opiyo showed the 36-year-old singer in his trademark red beret and carrying crutches as he was wheeled to the departure gate, saluting and thanking supporters along the way. It was not immediately clear where he was headed.
The actions by security forces against Ssentamu escalated a political dispute between the government of longtime President Yoweri Museveni and a youthful generation that fears he intends to rule for life after 32 years in power.
The drama began earlier this month when Ssentamu and several other lawmakers were charged with treason over an incident in which the president's motorcade was pelted with stones.
Another lawmaker who was blocked on Thursday from flying to India for treatment, Francis Zaake, was still being held in a hospital Friday night.
Ssentamu had been stopped Thursday night while trying to board a U.S.-bound flight and was checked into a hospital in the capital, Kampala, in a "worrying condition," according to another of his lawyers, Asuman Basalirwa.
Authorities said a government medical board had to examine Ssentamu before any travel abroad because of the claims of torture, which security forces have denied.
The singer was freed on bail on Monday but faced no travel restrictions after he and other lawmakers were charged. His lawyers say the treason charges are false.
Ssentamu has emerged as a powerful opposition voice among youth frustrated by Museveni, especially after the constitution was changed last year to remove an age limit on the presidency. The singer won a parliament seat last year without the backing of a political party.
Dozens of global musicians including Chris Martin, Angelique Kidjo and Brian Eno last week issued an open letter condemning the treatment of Ssentamu, who in his first public appearance after his arrest had to walk with support and appeared to cry.
Ssentamu and Zaake both have alleged serious injuries at the hands of security forces during detention. The government denies it.
The treason charges have heightened concerns about a crackdown on the opposition in this East African nation. Security forces earlier Friday deployed heavily in Kampala's Kamwokya neighborhood against protesters.
"If a member of parliament can be treated like that, what of me who is on the street now?" asked one Kampala resident, Charles Ssenyange.
The 74-year-old Museveni, a close U.S. security ally, has held power since 1986. He has spoken in recent days about "unprincipled politicians taking advantage of our unemployed youth to lure them into riots and demonstrations."
Nairobi, Aug 30 (AP/UNB) — British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday became the first UK leader to visit Kenya in 30 years, bringing security and development funding to East Africa's commercial hub and neighboring Somalia as Britain seeks to boost economic ties ahead of a bumpy exit from the European Union in March.
May met with President Uhuru Kenyatta on the last stop of her three-country Africa tour, which also included South Africa and Nigeria, the continent's top economies. The prime minister was travelling with a large business delegation as Britain wants to push its trade with Africa beyond the 31 billion pounds ($40.2 billion) registered last year.
"I want to ensure that the UK's relationship with Kenya and with Africa is more and more about private investment, about doing business and making the most of commercial opportunities together," she told reporters after meeting with Kenyatta. Britain is Kenya's largest foreign investor.
No British leader had visited Kenya since Margaret Thatcher, and this is the first visit by a British prime minister to Africa in five years.
Kenyatta for a moment appeared to struggle to remember the name of former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, calling him "Boris ... Boris Johnson, the bicycle guy. The bicycle guy, yeah, that one." Johnson has been an outspoken advocate of cycling in London.
Kenya, a former British colony, is a key ally in East Africa on trade and security. The British military has run a training camp for Kenyan troops for years.
May visited the British troops in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, who help to train peacekeepers with a multinational African Union mission in Somalia to handle the threat of explosives used by the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group, the deadliest Islamic extremist group in sub-Saharan Africa.
Britain's government said May's visit brought 7 million pounds in new funding for the AU peacekeeping mission, as well as 60 million pounds to help Somalis recover from drought. Another 25 million pounds will go toward helping the fragile Horn of Africa nation's government, which is struggling to assert control beyond the capital, Mogadishu, and certain other urban centers.
Al-Shabab is a constant threat in Kenya after the extremist group vowed retribution for that country sending troops to Somalia. Dozens of Kenyan police have been killed in bombings in recent months.
"We have democracy in common and we need to defend it together. And as for our common enemies such as terrorism we need to fight them together," Kenyatta said.
May noted Kenyatta's call for a transition from the AU peacekeepers to stronger Somali security forces and said Britain wants the same, adding that the UK is leading efforts to ensure the AU mission receives the funding it needs.
Concerns about the readiness of Somali troops to take over the country's security, however, remain high. The U.N. Security Council recently voted to delay the reduction of troops in the AU force from October to February and the target date to hand over security to Somali forces to December 2021.
May also pointed out Kenya's new push to combat widespread corruption, and the UK signed a new deal with the country to return stolen money hidden in British banks. The returned money will be used exclusively for development projects.