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  1. Uganda's only radiotherapy machine breaks down
  2. Kenya's police chief orders the arrest of eight bankers for 'unethical conduct'
  3. Congo-Brazzaville opposition leader, Jean-Marie Mokoko, 'fears for his life'
  4. A South Sudan diplomat condemns Sudan death sentences
  5. SA president's son resigns from Gupta firm over 'aspersions'
  6. Fuel crisis prompts University of Lagos to close in Nigeria
  7. Email stories and comments to - Friday 8 April 2016

Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams and Lucy Fleming

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Friday's stories

We'll be back on Monday

That's it for the BBC Africa Live page today - you can keep up-to-date with what is happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast and checking the BBC News website.  

A reminder of today's wise words:

A frog likes water but not when it is boiling"

Sent by Bright Wanger and Gabriel John, both from Nigeria, Evangelist Quofi from Ghana, and Omonigho from the UK

To get you into the weekend mood, sit back and listen to BBC Africa's Resident Presidents - Olushambles and Kibarkingmad - and their satirical look at whether banning things works:

View more on Soundcloud

And we leave you with this photo from our week in pictures of ballet dancers rehearsing in South Africa:

Ballet dancers in South Africa

Ethiopian designer weaves her way to success

In this week's edition of BBC Africa Business Report presenter Lerato Mbele has been to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to meet fashion entrepreneur Sara Abera. 

Ms Abera's fashion label Muya Ethiopia now sells clothes to Sacks 5th Avenue in New York, but they are still using centuries-old weaving techniques to bring the designs to life.

Lerato sent us in these pictures showing the weavers and seamstresses hard at work: 

Ethiopian women doing threadwork outside

Ms Abera's hired villagers who weave and thread indigenous patterns and designs using locally produced cotton, spindle and wooden machines - no electricity only techniques passed on over six generations.

Ethiopian woman working at a loom in a fashion house
Woman works at a wooden loom

To see the full report, tune in to BBC World News on Saturday at 10:10 or 18:10 GMT. 

Italy recalls ambassador to Egypt

People protesting about Giulio Regeni's murder
The case has attracted renewed criticism of Egypt's human rights record

Italy has recalled its ambassador to Egypt for consultations over the murder of student Giulio Regeni in Cairo.

It comes after Egyptian officials briefed their Italian counterparts on the investigation into the killing.

Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni tweeted (in Italian) that Italy wanted "one thing only: The truth about Giulio".

Rights groups have suggested security forces were to blame, but Egypt says a criminal gang was behind his murder.

Mr Regeni, 28, disappeared on his way to meet a friend on 25 January. His body, mutilated and showing signs of torture, was found in a ditch on 3 February.

Read the BBC News story for more.

Eastleigh filmmakers give Hollywood portrayal thumbs down

Ferdinand Omondi

BBC Africa, Nairobi

View more on youtube

Eastleigh, the suburb in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, known as Little Mogadishu because it is home to many Somalis and Kenyan-Somalis, is getting the Hollywood treatment. 

Big-budget thriller Eye in the Sky, which had its premiere this week in Los Angeles, uses the suburb as one of its key plot locations. 

The film follows the story of US and UK military forces trying to foil a suicide attack by using drones. 

But in the real Eastleigh, a group of local filmmakers who were given a special preview of the film say they are disappointed at how the area has been portrayed.

Filmmakers in Eastleigh, Nairobi, Kenya
Filmmakers gathered in watch Eye in the Sky

The group, who refer to themselves as collectively as Eastleigh Wood, say the film is full of negative stereotypes of the area, which has been targeted by the government during raids against alleged al-Shabab militants. 

Eastleigh Wood sign

However, filmmaker Burhan Iman told me he was disappointed that the Kenyan scenes in the film were actually shot in South Africa.

He said the reason they started "Eastleigh Wood" was so they could tell their own stories.

Burhan Iman being interviewed in Eastleigh, Nairobi, South Africa

However, Mr Iman did admit he was happy at the casting of Barkhad Abdi, the actor who was nominated for an Oscar in his first-ever screen role as a Somali pirate in Captain Phillips.

He said the actor was born in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, and raised in Eastleigh before moving to Minnesota in the US.

View more on twitter

Gutpa firm 'may not be able to pay SA staff'

South Africa’s Times paper has details of a deepening crisis facing the wealthy Gupta family.

They have been accused of wielding undue political influence in the country because of their connection to President Jacob Zuma.

Today one of Mr Zuma’s sons resigned from one of their companies, and two Gupta family members resigned from Oakbay Resources and Energy (see 16:11 post).

This was an attempt to shield the listed firm from the scandal as some banks have cut off links with Oakbay.

But it looks like this might not be enough to save it, according to a leaked letter in the Times to Oakbay staff from chief executive Nazeem Howa. 

He explained that the Guptas hope by “to end the campaign against Oakbay and save all of our jobs". 

He added:

The closure of our bank accounts has made it virtually impossible to continue to do business in South Africa. Without bank accounts we may find ourselves in a position where we are unable to pay you‚ our valued employees."

The Oakbay CEO said the company had been in contact with three government ministries and the president’s office “to express deep disappointment over the decisions of our banking partners and to make it very clear that livelihoods are at risk if we are unable to restore these important banking relationships”.   

Jacob Zuma
President Jacob Zuma denies being influenced by the Guptas

Kano hotels: 'No single women, no alcohol'

Isa Sanusi

BBC Africa, Nigeria

I was in Kano earlier this week to collect material for a feature I'm working on and checked into hotel where I was asked to sign this slip:

Note guests are required to sign when registering at a hotel in Kano, Nigeria

Every guest at most hotels here are required to sign such statements because of random raids by the Hisbah - the city's Islamic police force.

The Sharia officers search the hotels looking for single women, who they always assume are prostitutes.

  • Sharia was introduced in Kano in 2000
  • Prostitution, gambling and the consumption of alcohol are banned
  • Christians living in Kano are not subject to Islamic law

Eritrea denies killing conscripts in 'escape bid'

Eritrean soldiers on parade
Many Eritreans flee to avoid long-term conscription into the army

Eritrea has rejected reports that security forces killed several army conscripts trying to escape their convoy as it travelled through the capital, Asmara, on Sunday. 

Several pro-opposition media made the allegations, which were then reported on global media, including the BBC.

The information minister acknowledged the deaths on his Twitter account, giving the first official Eritrean response to the reports: 

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Mr Meskel suggested that the reports illustrated a wider smear campaign by the opposition against the government:  

View more on twitter

Rights groups consider Eritrea to be one of the world's most repressive states.  

Sudan death sentences 'not justified'

Janet Onyango

BBC Africa, Nairobi

South Sudan’s ambassador to Kenya has reacted to the sentencing to death in Sudan of 22 South Sudanese, denying that any of his countrymen had been involved in terrorism.

The men were alleged to be members of a faction of the Justice and Equality Movement (Jem), the rebel group from Darfur in the west of Sudan.

The faction signed a peace deal with the government in 2013 and its members were pardoned, but the presidential pardon did not include the South Sudanese, as they were foreign.

The anti-terrorism court also sentenced three others to life imprisonment on Thursday.

Ambassador Jimmy Deng Makuach told me there were no South Sudanese in Jem, and even if the charges were true, the sentence of execution could not be justified.

Jem fighters in Darfur Sudan - archive shot
One Jem rebel faction has signed a peace peal with Sudan's government

Zuma's son: 'Poverty in South Africa carries a black face'

“My history and background is no different from that of all previously disadvantaged black people,” says Duduzane Zuma, the son of South Africa’s president, announcing his resignation from a company owned by a family accusing of wielding undue political influence (see 16.11 post).

His statement says despite his efforts to fight an economy skewed by the legacy of apartheid, he has resigned because “aspersions were cast on me and my family”.

He also says:

It is beyond dispute that our political miracle did not usher in an economic miracle for our people, hence the grinding poverty, unemployment and persisting inequality."

Poverty in South Africa carries a black face and I didn't invent that."

He said that he was relinquishing his positions and existing investments “to preserve the jobs of Oakbay’s thousands of employees and to de-politicise my participation in business”, and ends his statement saying: 

I will continue to be part of my generation whose mission is the economic emancipation of our people. This, my generation will achieve. Like our fathers achieved political liberation for us."

BBC reporter: 'My son and I were caught up in I Coast beach attack'

On Sunday 13 March, as people gathered to enjoy the beach at the Grand-Bassam resort in Ivory Coast, militants opened fire causing chaos and killing at least 19 people. 

BBC Afrique reporter Valerie Bony was at the resort that day with her nine-year-old son. 

They had to hide from the gunmen in a beach hut for more than half an hour, trying to remain silent to avoid their attention.

At one point, one of the babies in the hut they were hiding in started crying.

Listen to Valerie's story here (starts 45 seconds in): 

The BBC Afrique reporter caught up in the terror attack on an Ivory Coast beach

Guptas resign over 'political attack'

Atul Gupta
Atul Gupta has resigned as chairman of Oakbay Investments

The fallout over allegations that the wealthy Gupta family have been wielding undue political influence in South Africa continues.

Earlier, we reported that President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane, resigned from the Shiva Uranium company (see 13:29 post). 

This is a subsidiary of Oakbay Investments, a listed company which has announced that its chairman Atul Gupta and chief executive Varun Gupta have also resigned with immediate effect. 

In a statement, the Guptas said the decision followed a sustained political attack on the company. 

The BBC’s Milton Nkosi in Johannesburg says a number of financial institutions, including Barclays Africa and the auditing firm KPMG, have cut off links with Oakbay Investments.

Analysts say that although both President Zuma and the Gupta family deny that they influenced the appointment of key ministers, the company, which has not been found guilty of any wrongdoing, wants to distance itself from the scandal. 

Bridge to link Saudi Arabia and Egypt

Saudi Arabia's king has announced that a bridge linking the country to Egypt will be built over the Red Sea.

King Salman said in a statement that the bridge would boost commerce between the two allied countries.

He made the announcement during the second day of his visit to the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

Egyptian President Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi said the bridge would be named after the Saudi king. President Sisi is a close ally of the Saudi government.

King Salman (L) and President Sisi (R)
King Salman (L) and President Sisi (R) are close allies

Read the full BBC News story 

Get Involved

Your comments: Uganda's broken cancer treatment machine

Picture of Mulago hosptal with text overlay: "The treatment of 33,000 Ugandan cancer patients will be delayed after the only radiotherapy machine in the country broke down"

Many of you have been getting in touch on the BBC Africa Facebook page after the news that Uganda's only radiotherapy machine used for cancer is broken and is beyond repair.

The hospital in Kampala now needs to raise the $1.8m (£1.3m) to buy a new one.

Nim Rogers says: 

"I am a musician from Kampala Uganda and the breakdown of the machine has made my uncle, who was receiving cancer treatment at the hospital, hopeless. His condition is worsening and he is now contemplating death."

Rasid Juma says: 

"Patients whose 'lives matter' are sponsored by the state for treatment abroad. Priority number one is the $60m for the new presidential jet, even though the present one is still airworthy."    

Christine Namulindwa, spokesperson for the Uganda Cancer Institute, told BBC Focus on Africa radio:

"The number of survivors will reduce gradually and then we shall see many people may end up losing their lives."

SA golfer Ernie Els shoots worst first hole in Masters history

Former world number one golfer Ernie Els endured a nightmare start to his opening round at Augusta, carding a nine - the worst first-hole score in Masters history.

Afterwards, he said: "I'm not sure where I'm going from here. If you have snakes in your brain, it's difficult. Maybe I need a brain transplant."

Masters 2016: Ernie Els scores ten on first hole

Scoreboards initially incorrectly showed the South African took 10 shots at the par four, rather than his actual score of nine. Scant consolation! 

Read the full BBC Sport story

'I want the world to know I'm African by my hair'

From Beirut to Tokyo, London to Johannesburg, a simple haircut can spark conversations about race, sexuality, age, class and dreams.  

As part of the BBC’s Identity Season, The Salon tells surprising, moving, funny and frank stories from people around the world.

One of the African interviewees for the series, Cameroonian CeCe explains why she wants a natural hairstyle to show the world she is African. But the definition of "natural" is up for debate. Watch the video here

CeCe shows off her hairstyle

Zimbabwean hairdresser Sharon, who now lives in South Africa, has set up a salon in a shipping container in her shanty town community in Johannesburg. She has plenty of clients but life as a migrant worker is tough. Watch the video here

Sharon outside her salon in a shipping container

Kenya police chief orders arrest of 'rogue bankers'

Customers trying to get money out of a Chase Bank cash machine in Nairobi, Kenya
Chase is a mid-sized bank with a mixture of clients

Kenya’s police chief has ordered the arrest of eight bankers for “unethical conduct”.

A statement from the inspector general of police listed six bankers from the National Bank of Kenya and two from Chase, the bank which was placed under receivership on Thursday.

Joseph Boinnet also said a man had been arrested for “peddling falsehoods” on social media about the banking sector.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) said panic withdrawals on Wednesday, caused by "inaccurate" rumours on social media, had led to a run on Chase Bank.

The move follows a promise by the CBK governor to crack down on rogue bankers.

"We cannot tolerate rogue bankers, those who in effect steal from depositors," Reuters news agency quotes Patrick Njoroge as saying. 

On Wednesday, Chase dismissed its chairman and group managing director after the release of two conflicting financial statements.

One of them had downplayed the bank's internal loans. An audit later showed the bank had loaned its directors $80m, and its bad debts had skyrocketed to $100m.

On 29 March, National Bank placed its chief executive officer and five top managers on leave to pave way for an internal audit, Reuters reports.

Here's a copy of the police chief's statement, listing the names of the bankers:

Kenyan police chief's statement
Kenya police
Kenyan police chief's statement
Kenya police

Angry students refuse to leave Nigeria university

Umar Shehu Elleman

BBC Africa, Lagos, Nigeria

University of Lagos students

Hundreds of angry students are refusing to leave the campus of the University of Lagos in Nigeria – despite the management saying they must do so by 10:00 local time (see 10:49 post).

Chanting and drumming, some of them are calling for the vice-chancellor to resign.

They are angered that the campus has been closed after student complaints about a lack of electricity and water – exacerbated by the current fuel shortages.

Only journalists are being allowed in to speak to the students. Outside the gate, the police have gathered.

Student at University of Lagos in Nigeria

Zuma's son resigns from Gupta firm over 'aspersions'

Ajay and Atul Gupta (L) and Duduzane Zuma (R)
Gallo Images
Duduzane Zuma (R) says he wants to "de-politicise" the Gupta's firm

Duduzane Zuma, a son of South Africa’s president, says he has resigned as director from a mining company owned by the wealthy Gupta family, the Reuters news agency reports.

There have been allegations that Guptas have influenced cabinet appointments because of their connections to President Jacob Zuma – accusations denied by both families.

Duduzane Zuma said he was leaving “to de-politicise” the firm and preserve jobs, Reuters reports.  

"Notwithstanding my efforts to participate meaningfully in the economy, aspersions were cast on me and my family," the agency quotes him as saying in a statement.

Read more: The Guptas and their links to Jacob Zuma

SA police stopped Malema at gunpoint for having 'wrong lights'

Pumza Fihlani

BBC News, Johannesburg

Police in South Africa are probing the circumstances around why left-wing opposition politician Julius Malema was stopped by the police at gunpoint. 

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader tweeted about the incident at the time:

View more on twitter

National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane told a parliamentary committee that Mr Malema was using a car fitted with blue lights, normally reserved for officials with high-level security clearance, according to their initial findings.

Ms Phahlane said that special permission was needed for this and the vehicle in Mr Malema’s convoy was not registered as any part of any security division. 

The EFF has rejected the allegations. 

Julius Malema in his signature red beret
Julius Malema in his signature red beret

Congo-Brazzaville opposition leader 'fears for his life'

Abdourahmane Dia

BBC Afrique

Jean-Marie Mokoko
Jean-Marie Mokoko came third in last month's election

An opposition leader in Congo-Brazzaville has told the BBC that his home in the capital, Brazzaville, has been surrounded by security forces for the last four days and that he fears for his life.

Jean-Marie Mokoko said that his security detail, which he is entitled to as a former army general, had also been removed.

The police spokesperson has refused to confirm or deny the allegations.  

Once close to President Denis Sassou Nguesso, Mr Mokoko ran in elections in last month, coming third.

The former general has refused to accept the results, which Mr Sassou Nguesso won with 60% of the vote after the constitution was amended to allow him to seek a third term.  

All the main opposition parties have said the election were rigged, though Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas, who came second, has conceded defeat, saying despite “irregularities of all kinds” he did not want there to be any violence.

On Monday, the authorities blamed some attacks on government buildings Brazzaville on the Ninja militia group, active in the 1997-1999 civil war.

Alliance of French-speaking countries suspends Burundi

Burundian refugees in a camp
Hundreds of thousands have fled the unrest in Burundi since last April

The International Organisation of French-speaking countries (OIF) has cut ties with Burundi, citing the lack of progress towards political dialogue to end the country's ongoing crisis.

In a statement, the OIF condemned the country's worsening security situation, and said it was ending all its programmes in the country, except those which directly benefit Burundian citizens and could "help lead to the re-establishment of democracy".

The OIF comprises 57 member states and governments. 

More than 400 people have died and a quarter of a million have fled the country since unrest broke out over President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision last year to run for a third term.

The Burundian government spokesman has been in combative mood, reacting to the news of their expulsion on Twitter: 

View more on twitter

Despite the advice above, he used the OIF's own mother tongue to mock the organisation for overestimating its influence over Burundi: 

"It's as if the Francophone were a god and Burundi should bow down before this denial of its sovereignty" - translated from French below:

Comme si la #Francophonie était un dieu et que le #Burundi devrait se prosterner devant ce déni de sa souveraineté 😂…

Read the full story on BBC Afrique (in French)

Uganda cancer unit seeks money for new radiotherapy machine

The cancer unit at Uganda's Mulago Hospital says it is looking for $1.8m (£1.3m) to buy a new radiotherapy machine.

We reported earlier (see 10.02 post) that the country’s only radiotherapy machine at Mulago, the main cancer unit in Uganda, had broken down. 

The unit's spokesperson Christine Namulindwa told the BBC on the phone from the capital, Kampala, that the hospital gets 44,000 new referrals a year from Uganda, as well as from neighbouring countries including Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan. 

It is currently talking to the ministry of health to find a way to buy a new machine, but it is not clear when that will happen. 

Read the BBC News story for more details.

Cancer cells
Radiotherapy targets cancerous cells and can be used for treating many types of cancer

Pope Francis urges greater family understanding

The Pope in Kenya - 2015
The Pope made a three-nation tour to Africa last year

Pope Francis has published new guidelines on family life that argue the Church should show more understanding of modern realities.

The document, based on two Synods on the issue, was eagerly awaited by the world's 1.3bn Roman Catholics.

Entitled "On Love in the Family", it does not change Catholic doctrine.

But it opens the way for bishops in each country to interpret doctrine to suit their own culture, the BBC's religion correspondent Caroline Wyatt says.

It details the Pope's views on family life, marriage, contraception and bringing up children.

The BBC spoke to several Catholic families about how their family values relate to the teachings of the Church.

Louis Doe Atsiatorme from Ghana said he had to get a special dispensation from the Church before he could marry a Methodist.

Louis Doe Atsiatorme and his wife in Ghana

Read the BBC News story for more details and scroll down to watch the video from Ghana.  

Kenya's Ruto forgives 'hateful ICC witnesses'

Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto has said he forgives the "evil minds" behind the case brought against him at the International Criminal Court (ICC), which was dismissed earlier this week (see earlier entry at 09:28).

"The allegations that were made against me were criminal acts of evil minds that schemed, connived, colluded and fabricated a case against us," he said in a televised address.

His offer of forgiveness to witnesses in the case is unlikely to appease ICC prosecutors.

The prosecution said its case against Mr Ruto was undermined because of witnesses being bribed and intimidated throughout the trial. 

View more on twitter

In his address, Mr Ruto said the government would not rest until every victim of the violence after the 2007 elections had been compensated.

Rights groups have complained that the government has not done enough for those affected. About 500,000 people were displaced.

Mr Ruto made no reference to establishing who was responsible for the violence, and left without answering any questions. 

None of the organisers of the violence following the December 2007 election have been convicted. 

Read more: Dismissal of Ruto case huge blow to ICC

Djibouti's president tweets

View more on twitter

President Ismail Omar Guelleh is seeking a fourth term in office.  

Fuel crisis prompts University of Lagos shutdown

Unilag - the acronym by which the University of Lagos is known - is trending in Nigeria after the management decided to close down the institution.

It took this decision on Thursday after protests by students complaining about the poor supply of water and electricity on campus.

The BBC's Umar Shehu Elleman in Lagos says such amenities had deteriorated because of the scarcity of fuel, with many institutions having to rely on generators because of the poor electricity supply.

The ongoing fuel crisis was also given as a reason for shutting down the campus as students living off site were finding it difficult to travel, the university statement said.   

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Our reporter says students are protesting this morning, angry about the closure.

Police are at the university, from where some people have been tweeting photos:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Djibouti's President arrives at polling station

Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelleh has arrived to cast his vote on election day in the Horn of Africa nation.

A CCTV reporter has been tweeting from Djibouti's capital: 

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Three opposition parties are asking voters to boycott the poll. 

Opposition figures say world powers have turned a blind eye to the country's shaky democratic process because of its strategic location on the Red Sea.

Read the BBC News story for more.

Uganda's 'only radiotherapy machine breaks down'

Uganda’s only radiotherapy machine has broken down, according to the country’s private Daily Monitor newspaper.

Cancer patients may have to wait until next year when a new one is expected to be installed for treatment.

Dr Jackson Orem, the director of Cancer Institute at Mulago hospital, told the Daily Monitor that patients who need radiotherapy to destroy cancerous cells have to be referred abroad at the moment.

Those who need palliative care would be put on morphine drugs as an alternative, he said.

“This machine usually breaks down and we have it repaired. It is not the first time. At the moment, unless a patient can afford to go to Nairobi in Kenya, there is not any other option,” Christine Namulindwa, the institute’s public relations officer is quoted as saying.

She said 75% of 44,000 patients currently registered would be affected by the breakdown, which happened three weeks ago.

Uganda’s National Referral Hospital in Kampala, Uganda
Mulago Hospital is Uganda’s National Referral Hospital

Ruto: 'We will not rest' until victims of Kenya violence get justice

Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto is addressing the media live for the first time since he was acquitted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity, related to the violence which broke out after the 2007 elections.

You can follow the live stream of the press conference on Citizen TV. 

Mr Ruto has said that the government would not rest until the victims of the violence, in which about 1,200 people died, receive justice. 

The only reason the case collapsed was because we are innocent

Mr Ruto has also been tweeting at the same time from his official account: 

View more on twitter

How London-listed oil company tried to avoid huge Uganda tax bill

white sandy beach with palm trees
An oil firm was advised to register in the holiday resort of Mauritius to reduce its tax bill

Revelations from the Panama Papers show how a company based in Jersey, a British crown dependency, attempted to avoid paying $400m (£280m) in Capital Gains Tax to the Ugandan government, writes BBC Africa's Rob Wilson.  

Read the full story

Village women build a roof for a greenery to store sorghum they grow themselves
Many African states depend on donor aid because of a low tax base

Read more BBC coverage of the Panama Papers

Djibouti president seeks fourth term

Poster of President Ismail Omar Guelleh

Voters in Djibouti are going to the polls today as President Ismail Omar Guelleh seeks to extend his 17-year rule in the strategic Red Sea nation.

He is only the second president the country has had since independence from France in 1977.  

The opposition are angry that the president rescinded his earlier pledge not to seek a fourth term and some parties have chosen to boycott the election.

Read more about the background to the vote.

Wise words

Today’s African proverb:

A frog likes water but not when it is boiling

Sent by Bright Wanger and Gabriel John, both from Nigeria, Evangelist Quofi from Ghana, and Omonigho from the UK
Generic photo of a frog

Good morning

Welcome to the BBC Africa Live page where we'll be keeping  you up-to-date with developments on the continent today.