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Summary

  1. We are trying out a new format for our Africa coverage. This is a test page
  2. WHO holds emergency session on Ebola
  3. Curfew imposed in eastern Sierra Leone town of Koidu after two killed in riots over attempts to place elderly woman in Ebola quarantine
  4. A Somali teenager is stoned to death after an Islamic court convicted him of raping a woman
  5. A Democratic Republic of Congo doctor, Denis Mukwege, wins Europe's top human rights award, for helping thousands of victims of wartime rape

Live Reporting

By Neil Arun

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Thank you and goodnight

That's the end of our live coverage of Africa today. You can stay abreast of the latest developments on the

BBC News website's Africa page or download the latest
Africa Today podcast.

On the day that the

WHO held an emergency meeting on Ebola, we leave you with this portrait of a survivor of the disease in Paynesville, Liberia. It is part of a series shot by the acclaimed Getty Images photographer, John Moore.

Sontay Massaley, 37, worked as a market vendor before she got the virus. She spent eight days recovering from Ebola at a Medecins Sans Frontieres centre.

Sontay Massaley
Getty Images

Ebola 'not new to West Africa'

Alex Duval Smith

Bamako, Mali

A photocopy of a Soviet-Guinean scientific report from the 1980s looks set to challenge a whole range of assumptions around Ebola - including the view that the virus is new to West Africa.

Discovered by Guinean medical doctor and opposition politician Ben Youssef Keita, the study was carried out by the well-respected Pasteur Institute in Conakry.

It says Ebola was to blame for the deaths of 137 people in the remote Kindia region in 1982. The report says the patients died from a haemorrhagic fever caused by the Ebola virus. Another 223 people were infected but survived.

The report was published in Guinea in 1987, after the death of President Ahmed Sekou Toure. Mr Keita believes the pro-Moscow regime of the time deliberately suppressed it.

Rwanda anger over BBC film

Richard Hamilton

BBC News

Protest at BBC office in Kigali
BBC

Parliament in Rwanda has been debating a motion about the role of the BBC, following a TV documentary about the genocide there. The BBC Panorama programme: Rwanda, The Untold Story, which was broadcast earlier this month, questioned some of the official accounts of what happened during the genocide.

Earlier about 150 people demonstrated outside the BBC's office in the Rwandan capital Kigali. They left a letter addressed to the BBC's Director General, Tony Hall, saying the documentary was an attempt to revise the history and facts of the genocide and disrespected the memory of those who had died.

Kissed off

Zimbabwe students are up in arms over a ban on kissing, imposed by university authorities.

A circular from the University of Zimbabwe authorities said those "caught in an intimate position" on the Harare campus would be disciplined.

"Nonsensical," is how student representative, Tsitsi Mazikana, described the new rules to the BBC. "In this age to say I'm no longer allowed to kiss or hug someone... is unreasonable," she said. The university has not commented on the students' objections.

A students union was organising a petition against the campus kissing ban, a representative told the

BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

The BBC's

Brian Hungwe in the capital, Harare, says the students often accuse the university authorities of being out of touch with the young.

The

BBC News website has more.

Football: Nigeria's women edging past S Africa

The BBC's Tamasin Ford is at the African Women's Championship in Namibia, where Nigeria are leading 2-0 against South Africa in the semi-final. As the Super Falcons scored again against Banyana Banyana, she

tweeted: 2nd goal for #Nigeria and it's number 8 again Asisat Oshaola. @Banyana_Banyana trailing 2-0 #AWC semi

Goal celebrations after Nigeria score against S Africa
BBC

South Africa downgrades growth forecast

Matthew Davies

Business reporter, BBC News

South Africa has downgraded its economic growth, but the country's new finance minister pledged to keep a tight rein on government spending.

Nhlanhla Nene told parliament in his medium-term budget statement that economic growth would only be 1.4% this year.

That compares with 1.9% last year and was revised down from the figure of 2.7% that was forecast in the full budget back in February.

Meanwhile, the budget deficit was forecast at 4.1% for this fiscal year, compared with a previously predicted figure of 4%.

South Africa's economy has suffered somewhat of late, industrial action has reduced output from the country's platinum mines and the weak rand has failed to stimulate exports.

The

BBC News website has more.

Kampala bombing suspects in court

Catherine Byaruhanga

BBC, Uganda

Terror suspects in court
BBC

In Uganda, 11 terror suspects have appeared in court, challenging the government's case against them. They are accused of taking part in 2010 bombings in Kampala that killed over 70 people.

The suspects are challenging several issues - including their extradition from neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania, and their treatment in custody. Some say they were tortured by Ugandan and foreign security agents, including members of the FBI. Some also say they were forced to sign confessions.

The Constitutional Court is due to make a ruling on their case.

Somalia teenager 'stoned to death'

In southern Somalia, a teenager has been stoned to death after being convicted of raping a woman, according to a pro-Islamist news site.

The judge ordered Hasan Ahmad Ali, 18, to compensate the woman with a calf before he was killed, according to an audio recording of the trial.

Ali denied raping the 28-year-old woman, insisting the sex was consensual.

Somalia's militant Islamist group al-Shabab implements a strict version of Islamic law in areas it controls.

The

BBC News website has more.

Rachael Akidi

Editor, BBC Focus on Africa

tweets about Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's response to a BBC question about his successor: #Museveni on whether he's grooming his son for the presidency: "That's an insult to me;why should I groom my son? This is not a monarchy."

Museveni on Ebola: Science trumps customs

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni

has been speaking to BBC Focus on Africa's
Lebo Diseko about his country's success at containing past outbreaks of Ebola. He had this advice for the people of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, which are battling with the deadliest ever outbreak of the disease:

"They should really not bring superstition in these issues. Yes, we have our old traditions of handling our dead people, handling our sick, but this disease, Ebola, cannot permit those. This is where custom must take second place and science takes the lead."

Caf cries foul over Platini

Michel Platini
EPA

The Confederation of African Football (Caf) has accused Uefa President Michel Platini of interference, claiming that he had questioned its decision to go ahead with the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations tournament despite the Ebola crisis.

The Frenchman responded in a letter to Caf, denying the accusation and demanding an apology and a retraction.

Hosts Morocco want to delay the event, which is due to take place from 17 January to 8 February.

Their request, made almost two weeks ago, is a response to the deaths of about 4,500 people in an Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

The

BBC News website has more.

Rwanda 'screens US visitors' for Ebola

Rwanda has

begun screening air passengers from the United States and Spain for signs of Ebola infection, according to Buzzfeed, citing a
tweet by Ghanaian blogger @MacJordaN.

Rwandan airports are also screening passengers from West African countries where the Ebola virus has killed more than 4,500 people.

Several US airports have begun screening foreign visitors for Ebola, amid growing global alarm over the epidemic.

One person, a Liberian citizen, has died so far from the disease in the US. Two medical workers who treated him are now themselves being treated for Ebola.

Hewete Haileselassie

BBC Africa

tweets about a chance meeting with the singer, Fetsum: Bumped into one of my absolute fave artists at work this am @fetsumofficial #mademyday cc @efremg_ @1tym #Eritrea

Fetsum and Hewete at the BBC
BBC

Fetsum - who was born in Egypt to Eritrean parents - was

interviewed by the BBC's Komla Dumor last year. He also performed one of his songs.

'Rivalries hamper' DR Congo disarmament drive

FDLR rebels, file photo from February 2009
AFP

Rwandan rebels in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo are ignoring a deadline to disarm - and differences among African nations may partly be to blame.

A

detailed report by Reuters news agency says African governments - who have contributed to a UN peacekeeping mission - disagree on how best to tackle the FDLR militia, some of whose leaders took part in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

The peacekeepers have threatened an offensive against the rebels if they do not disarm by 2 January.

But three months since the deadline was issued, not a single weapon has been surrendered, Reuters says.

The BBC's Graine Harrington

reported on the disarmament effort earlier this year.

Aid reaches former al-Shabab territory

The BBC's Mohamed Moalimu in Mogadishu

tweets about a relief convoy reaching an area recently retaken from al-Shabab militants: "14 trucks carrying food aid reached to Adale district ,the first aid residents receive since it was taken over from Alshabab"

WHO holds emergency Ebola talks

The World Health Organization's emergency committee is set to hold talks to discuss the Ebola epidemic.

The meeting in Geneva will examine screening measures at borders and consider whether stricter travel regulations should be put in place.

The WHO has faced criticism it reacted too slowly to the spread of the disease.

The current outbreak of the virus has already killed more than 4,500 people - mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The

BBC News website has more.

Your views on fighting Ebola from Ghana

BBC Outside Source, a programme that combines the latest information from inside and outside the BBC on the biggest stories of the day,

is asking its Twitter followers: "If you're Ghanaian, we wonder how you feel about the UN basing its Ebola response centre (@UNMEER) in Accra"

South Africa awaits 'mini budget'

Matthew Davies

Business reporter, BBC News

South African Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene will present his first budget speech on Wednesday.

Although not the full budget, analysts will be watching this "mini" budgetary statement, for signs that the government intends to rein in public spending.

The public sector wage bill has ballooned in recent years and now accounts for well over half of the national income.

Economists say this is unsustainable, given that the economy has struggled somewhat of late and the tax take is falling.

It is expected that Mr Nene will reveal a budget deficit that has widened significantly. In February, it was announced that the budget deficit was 4.4% of GDP.

Uganda 'gay' trial dismissed

Gay pride rally in Entebbe, Uganda, photo from August 2014
AFP

A Ugandan judge has dismissed the case of two men accused of having homosexual sex, reports the AFP news agency, citing the men's lawyer.

Some of Uganda's tough new laws against homosexuality were recently repealed following intense international pressure. But homosexual acts remain illegal.

The case on Wednesday was dismissed because the prosecution was unable to produce any witnesses, the men's lawyer told AFP.

A question of corruption

News of an anti-corruption drive in Kenya - scrutinising the lifestyles of revenue authority employees - has got people talking.

BBC Newsday presenter Alan Kasujja

tweets about the
story in the Daily Nation: "Kenya Revenue Authority is to conduct a lifestyle audit of its employees as it seeks to weed out corrupt"

@AzRonn replies: "Life style audit? Hahahaha. What if one was already living an expensive 'lifestyle' before joining? What is the baseline?"

@African_dudes asks: "What happens if the boss himself is corrupt?"

Slumbering lions win top wildlife photo prize

Lions in the Serengeti Photo: Michael Nichols
Michael Nichols

A stark image of lions resting on a rock outcrop in the Serengeti has won the 2014 Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPY) Award.

Michael "Nick" Nichols tracked the pride of big cats for six months before capturing this stunning shot, which stretches all the way to the horizon and includes a dramatic African sky.

The great sense of depth is enhanced by the use of infrared, cutting through the haze, says the BBC's Jonathan Amos, in

this piece on the website. You can also see a larger version of the picture there.

Ebola crisis: 'Son, you're the only hope I got'

Alexander and his son, Kollie James
Katy Athersuch/MSF

Eighteen-year-old Liberian Kollie James lost his mother, two sisters and an uncle to Ebola. He too developed the disease but has survived - becoming the 1000th patient of charity Medecins Sans Frontieres to recover.

His father, Alexander,

shared his testimony with the BBC. It is read by Paul Bakibinga. It is seven minutes' long - and well worth a listen. You can also
read the story on the BBC News website. Here is an excerpt:

"I was able to see my son in the care centre from across the fence, so I called out to him: 'Son, you're the only hope I got. You have to take courage. Any medicine they give to you, you have to take it.'

"He told me: 'Papa, I understand. I will do it. Stop crying Papa… My sisters are gone, but I am going to survive and I will make you proud.'"

Ebola crisis: 'No beach, no nightclub, no school.'

On Quartz,

a powerful feature describing how Ebola has crippled everyday life in Liberia - a society "where people cannot touch each other".

"Friends are all staying home," Isaiah, a Monrovia resident, tells Quartz. "There is no activity. We don't socialize. We don't go to the beach. We don't go to the nightclub. We don't go to school. We only go to church on a Sunday for a worship because at the church people take much precaution."

Sakharov prize winner Mukwege describes work

Dr Denis Mukwege
AFP

Dr Denis Mukwege, the winner of the Sakharov prize, Europe's top human rights award, has been talking to Newsday about his work.

He describes how he set up his hospital in 1999, intending to treat women in childbirth. Unfortunately, he says, the first patient was a woman who had been raped and tortured.

"We thought it would be an isolated case. But today we are treating 10 cases per day, and this is horrible." In the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, he says, "rape is used as a weapon to destroy women... to destroy families, to destroy the social fabric."

His organisation offers a programme of treatment and support, so that the women who have endured rape can ultimately re-integrate into society and help others.

Mukwege prize win: Praise from Hague

William Hague, the leader of the UK's House of Commons and former Foreign Secretary,

tweets: Delighted Dr Mukwege has won the 2014 Sakharov prize - he has helped thousands of rape survivors in the DRC

Televangelist's Aids 'warning' sparks Kenya Twitter storm

Patrick Kihara, BBC Monitoring

Kenyans on Twitter have criticised a prominent US televangelist for advising his viewers to watch out for the risk of getting Aids by using towels in the east African country.

Octogenarian Pat Robertson is a co-host of the 700 Club, which is aired by the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), the TV station he founded in the early 1960s.

Kenyans were furious over his remark, and took to Twitter using the hashtag #SomeoneTellPatRobertson.

@MikeRONO

tweeted: So Pat Robertson is a Dr. He must have a Phd. He must have done a double major in ignorance and stupidity

@CWandabwa

tweeted: #SomeoneTellPatRobertson that his ignorance can't even be killed by Ebola from Africa.

The station apologised through a

tweet and a link to its Facebook page.

"Dr Robertson was responding to a viewer's question about a mission trip to Kenya and getting Ebola," the apology said. "In his answer about the health dangers posed by such a trip, Dr Robertson misspoke about the possibility of getting AIDS from towels."

"CBN recognized this error immediately and removed that statement from the online archive. CBN apologizes for any confusion."

But this prompted further criticism from Kenyans who felt the apology should have been made on air, rather than just on social media.

Sakharov prize winner

The winner of the Sakharov prize, Denis Mukwege, is coming up next on the

BBC World Service's Newsday programme. The doctor from the Democratic Republic of Congo was awarded Europe's top human rights prize for his work in treating the victims of wartime rape.

Today's African proverb

"A stone under water will never know when it's raining."

Sent by Credo Mwila Ng'uni, Kalulushi, Zambia

Welcome

Good morning and welcome to Africa Today.

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