As of this Friday, anyone operating an independent online presence in Tanzania will have to pay a licensing fee equivalent to an average year's wages, and submit to a harsh set of censorship rules, as well as an obligation to unmask anonymous posters and commenters, with stiff penalties for noncompliance.
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Since everyone's doing posts about their favorite cover of Toto's "Africa," here's my frontrunner, because it's very Norwegian: metal and ironic and funny all at once. Read the rest
Nigerian rapper Falz created This Is Nigeria, a parody of This Is America that switched out lyrics and imagery for social ills in his country: machete-wielding gangs, codeine use, internet scammers, and much more. Read the rest
At the urging of Uganda's corrupt dictator Yoweri Museveni, the Ugandan parliament has enacted legislation imposing a daily tax on anyone using social media platforms; Museveni said the measure would curb "gossip," while Matia Kasaija claimed it would fund security and electrification efforts.
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Weezer revealed their cover of Toto's 1982 hit "Africa" on Tuesday.
It was a matter of "giving the fans what they want," as the Weezer fan Twitter account @weezerafrica began suggesting the band "bless the rains down in africa" late last year.
In early December, Noisey reported that a 14-year-old Cleveland girl named Mary, "who has been learning Weezer songs in her School of Rock cover band," was behind the account.
Mary has been busy tweeting at the band members with her humble request and has been encouraging others to do the same. “it’s about time you blessed the rains down in africa,” she tweeted at Cuomo on Wednesday. Agreed, it is time. She even got a reply from drummer Patrick Wilson. “I laughed,” he said. But Mary, with a determined, unbreakable focus on her goal, replied: “thank you for replying patrick. it has made me feel almost as blessed as the rains down in africa.”
The band is currently on a North American tour. No word if they'll be playing the song live. Read the rest
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists teamed up with the Norbert Zongo Cell for Investigative Journalism (Cenozo) to delve deep into 27.5 million files from the Offshore Leaks, Swiss Leaks, Panama Papers and Paradise Papers to investigate how the super-rich in 15 West African countries have looted their countries' wealth and then smuggled it offshore through a network of tax-havens, even as their countries starve.
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The latest Ebola outbreak in Congo has moved from the rural area in which is was first discovered to Mbandaka: a city home to approximately one million people. That the disease has spread to an area with such a dense population is extremely troubling all on its own. Add to this the fact that Mbandaka is a major transportation hub with an airport, river traffic and direct transport options to Kinshasa, Congo's capital city, and you've got a scenario with the potential to keep World Health Organization personnel awake at night.
From the BBC
Forty-two people have now been infected and 23 people are known to have died.
Confirmed, probable and suspected cases of Ebola have been recorded in three health zones of Congo's Equateur province, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.
The WHO's Peter Salama said health workers had identified 430 people who may have had contact with the disease and were working to trace more than 4,000 contacts of Ebola patients, who had spread across northwest Congo.
As part of efforts to stem the spread of the often deadly disease, drug manufacturer, Merick, shipped 4,000 doses of an unlicensed Ebola vaccine to Congo that was proven to have been effective in a previous outbreak of the disease in West Africa. There's just one problem: the vaccine needs to be stored between -60 and -80 Celsius. In a first world country, that mightn't be an issue--we've the facilities and infrastructure to make chilling the vaccine to those temperatures a piece of cake. Read the rest
A few years back, I had a cough that was so bad that I ended up dislocating a rib from hacking away. My doctor prescribed me a cough syrup laced, heavily, with codeine. The stuff worked, easing my pain and letting me sleep. There were only two side effects from it: I felt too groovy to work for hours at a time and found it pretty hard to poop.
According to The BBC, a lot of people see the side effects of codeine laced cough syrup as a feature, rather than a problem. Nigeria's National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (Nafdac) was recently forced to shutter three of the country's largest pharmaceutical companies after it was discovered that the cough syrup they were producing was being sold on the black market, in massive quantities, to a growing number of codeine addicts in the African nation.
The forced closure of the companies comes as the result of a BBC investigation into the use of cough syrup containing codeine by many Nigerian youths as an easy conduit to a quick high. The crappiest part of it all is that the drug companies knew that this was the case. In an under cover interview with an executive from the Emzor pharmaceutical company, an executive was caught bragging about how he could sell one million bottles of the elixir in a week on the black market.
Codeine's a dandy painkiller, when used as prescribed by a physician. But it comes with a number of serious issues that crop up when used for long periods of time. Read the rest
EU and Nigerian law both ban the export of e-waste to Nigeria, but a new study jointly authored by scholars from UN University and the Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for Africa found that exported used cars represent a smuggler's bonanza for the illegal dumping of toxic waste.
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On Monday in Zimbabwe, thousands of nurses went on strike, demanding better salaries. The strike came hot on the heels of the country's doctors returning from their own weeks-long strike, which took place for similar reasons. With no nurses standing by to assist doctors or to see patients, hospitals in the African country have been forced to turn away people looking for care. Instead of negotiating with the nurses or passing legislation that would send them back to work, Zimbabwe’s vice-president, Constantino Chiwenga, apparently decided to fire them all.
Because doing that always calms things down in a country that's facing growing labor unrest.
According to The Guardian, vice-president Chiwenga believes that the strike actions undertaken by the country's doctors and nursing staff are politically motivated and stated that his "...Government has decided in the interest of patients and of saving lives to discharge all the striking nurses with immediate effect." Yep – ensuring that healthcare professions are never allowed to return to their jobs of you know, saving lives, is definitely gonna be in the best interest of any patients they might have treated.
Chiwenga called the strike “deplorable and reprehensible," citing the fact that the government had released £12m to boost their pay and allowances. There's no word, however, on how much this amount would increase the state of each nurse's wages, or when the money would actually come into use.
But don't worry Zimbabwe, there's good news! The government plans on hiring any unemployed or retired nurses that it can find to fill in the massive hole that your government just created in your country's healthcare system. Read the rest
Ok, show of hands: who here's been eaten by a hippo? Anyone? No? Then you'll want to keep reading, because Chris Broughton has and his story is frigging horrific.
While he was in his twenties, Broughton ran a business that saw him guiding tourists down the Zambezi river, near Africa's Victoria Falls. During the years that he worked this gig, Broughton had made it a habit to avoid a particularly grumpy male hippo while he and his clients were out on the water. Hippos, you see, are wicked territorial. The beast had launched a couple of half-assed attacked against him and his customers in the past. No damage was done, but it was enough to make him wary of pissing the hippo off.
On one occasion, Broughton took a group of tourists out on the water along with three apprentice guides that he was showing the ropes to. One of the apprentices was attacked by the hippo, flinging him into the air. Broughton ordered the other two guides to get the tourists to safety while he went after his apprentice. What happened next, told in Broughton's own words, is absolutely insane.
From The Guardian:
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I reached over to grab his outstretched hand but as our fingers were about to touch, I was engulfed in darkness. There was no transition at all, no sense of approaching danger. It was as if I had suddenly gone blind and deaf.
I was aware that my legs were surrounded by water, but my top half was almost dry.
"A cheetah decided to explore our vehicle on a safari I was leading for Grand Ruaha Safaris (in the Serengeti National Park," wrote wildlife photographer Peter Heistein on Instagram. "Another one jumped up on the hood and was staring at us through the windshield. They were just curious, we kept calm and let them go about their business. Quite a thrill to be this close!
"Our guide Alex Mnyangabe... helped us through the encounter with instructions on how to treat the animal 'with respect.'"
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What Went Wrong? is a citizen journalism project started in sub-Saharan Africa to document all the unsustainable aid projects started by Westerners who fail to follow through after their PR blitz. Journalist Peter DeCampo spoke with BRIGHT magazine about the project, where Africans can text reports on local fiascoes and boondoggles: Read the rest
After the Argentine economic collapse in 2001, Juan Villarino realized that he was probably going to be poor for the rest of his life; he tried moving to Belfast and working low-waged jobs, but couldn't get ahead there either, so he decided to become a lifelong, professional hitchhiker, and got very, very good at it.
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It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from the door chime in this Volvo 240. Why? Because it plays an 8-bit version of Toto's "Africa."
This sweet mod was created by Chris NG, a fan of the YouTube channel 8 bit Universe. NG's currently got a Kickstarter going for custom vehicle door chimes.
Need more Toto?:
-- Toto's "Africa" playing in an abandoned mall
-- Toto's 'Africa,' as performed by a computer hardware orchestra
-- The story behind Toto's 'Africa'
-- Pop music genres illustrated with Toto's Africa on a lightweight portable keyboard
"I seek to cure what's deep inside, frightened of this thing that I've become"
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Cecil Robert posted this remarkably effective video. It should be inscribed on titanium disks, encoded in the simplest possible video format to decipher, so that future generations may understand the essence of angloamerican culture at the twilight of mankind.
Toto's 'Africa,' as performed by a computer hardware orchestra
The story behind Toto's 'Africa'
Pop music genres illustrated with Toto's Africa on a lightweight portable keyboard
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The USA has moved up in the Tax Justice Network's Financial Secrecy Index to number two, behind Switzerland; in reality, though, the UK is the world's worst money-laundry, but because its laundering activities are spread out over its overseas territories -- taken as a whole, the UK leads the world in helping criminals and looters hide their fortunes.
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