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Summary

  1. Offer of $7.77m for Sierra Leone diamond rejected
  2. French president-elect names Sibeth Ndiaye as press secretary
  3. Nazi-inspired posters lead to suspension of students in South Africa
  4. Nigeria passes budget after five-month delay
  5. Kenyans can use livestock to obtain bank loans under new law
  6. Mugabe 'not sleeping, just resting eyes'
  7. Floods force all schools to close in Zanzibar
  8. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Thursday 11 May 2017

Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

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Scroll down for Thursday's stories

We'll be back tomorrow

That's all from the  BBC Africa Live page today. Keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the  Africa Today podcast or checking the BBC News website.   

A reminder of today's wise words: 

A living dog is better than a dead lion."

A Tsonga proverb sent by John Tshabane in Sandton, South Africa

Click here to send us your African proverbs

And we leave you with this photo of a new work by British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare:

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Pastor: I want $50m for my diamond

Big diamond
BBC

The pastor who found one of the world's largest uncut diamonds says he expects to get "not less than $50 million" for the 709-carat precious stone, after it failed to reach its minimum reserve price at auction in Sierra Leone today, AFP news agency reports.

"I want my diamond to be sold abroad so I can get the best price to enable many people to benefit from the proceeds," Pastor Emmanuel Momoh told AFP. 

Today's highest bid, for $7.8m, came from a UK citizen based in Antwerp, the European diamond capital in Belgium, where the next auction is expected to take place in the next few weeks.

Evangelical preacher Emmanuel Momoh arrives with his wife on May 11, 2017 in Freetown for the auction of the 709 carats diamond he found earlier this year
SAIDU BAH/AFP
Emmanuel Momoh and his wife attended today's failed auction in Freetown

The reserve price, which is the minimum amount that the diamond can be sold for and was set by the Sierra Leonean government, is a secret.

Last May, diamond-mining firm Lucara sold a 813-carat stone for $63m (£51m) at a closed auction in London.  

Read more:

Somalia will become a 'success story'

UN chief Antonio Guterres, has told an international gathering on Somalia that after decades of conflict and stability, the conditions are now in place for it to become a success story. 

Mr Guterres said Somalia now had a government that could be trusted and a plan that made sense. 

At the end of the meeting in London, President Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo said now was the time for action.

ritain"s Prime Minister Theresa May chairs the London Somalia Conference at Lancaster House, May 11, 2017.
Reuters
Several world leaders attended the meeting

Earlier, the conference heard that although there had been improvements in security, Somalia faced the risk of a drought turning into famine. 

Six million people need help and the UN is seeking about $1bn (£780m) in aid.

The African Union has a large force in Somalia to help the government defeat the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group.

African lions face same extinction threats as Ice Age cats

African lion on the prowl
UNIVERSITY OF SUSSEX
The African lion formerly ranged throughout Eurasia and Africa, but today is only found in sub-Saharan Africa

Two big cats - the African lion and the Sunda clouded leopard - are most at risk from extinction caused by loss of prey, according to a new analysis.

Lack of food was a factor in why seven big cats, including sabre-toothed tigers, went extinct at the end of the last Ice Age, say scientists.

The trend is continuing, threatening a range of modern big cats, they warn.

If the prey of big cats continues to decline it will add to other pressures such as habitat loss, a study found.

Dr Chris Sandom from the University of Sussex said: "I think it adds an extra pressure for these animals. They are already suffering quite heavily from other conflicts with humans."

Lion on the ground
UNIVERSITY OF SUSSEX
The African lion is under threat from habitat loss and poaching

Read the full BBC News story 

Nazi poster controversy: SA students suspended

Poster
Social media
The poster (l) was similar to that portraying the Nazi-era League of German Girls (r)

A leading South African university has suspended three students suspected of being linked to Nazi-inspired posters which appeared on campus notice boards earlier this week, a statement has said.

The posters at Stellenbosch University had caused outrage, with critics saying it was the latest sign of racism at the institution. 

The university has condemned the posters and started an investigation to find out who was behind them. 

In a statement, vice-chancellor Wim de Villiers said he had decided to suspend the three students "suspected of misconduct while disciplinary proceedings are ongoing". 

The posters, reminiscent of Nazi propaganda to rally support for Hitler, called for a "Fight for Stellenbosch".

The university has been fraught with racial tension since white minority rule ended in 1994.

poster
Social media

The posters, reminiscent of Nazi propaganda to rally support for Hitler, called for a "Fight for Stellenbosch".

The university has been fraught with racial tension since white minority rule ended in 1994.

Ghanaian judge gets top Fifa job

Fifa logo
Getty Images

Ghanaian Anin Yeboah, a supreme court justice, has been elected as chairman of Fifa's Disciplinary Committee.

He was voted in for a four-year term at Thursday's congress of football's world governing body in Bahrain.

Yeboah was a member of Fifa's Ethics Committee last year.

He was one of several Africans voted onto committees at the congress, including Rwanda's Martin Ngoga as deputy chairman of the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee.

Read the full story here

The diamond find that changed my life

There was disappointment earlier for bidders at an auction in Sierra Leone for the second largest diamond ever found in the country. Even the highest bid, at $7.8m, wasn't enough to meet the minimum price that had been set for the precious stone.

It will now be re-auctioned in the Belgian city of Antwerp, known as the diamond capital of Europe.

BBC Africa's Umaru Fofana, who reported on the extraordinary find by a Christian pastor, has a special connection to this story.

He used to hunt for diamonds in his spare time when growing up in Sierra Leone.

And he's been telling the BBC's David Amanor how finding a diamond changed the course of his life:

Umaru Fofana on the diamond find that transformed his life

Read more: How I funded my studies by digging for Sierra Leone diamonds

Mugabe 'resting eyes not sleeping': Twitter reacts

Twitter users have been poking fun at Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe's spokesman after he denied that the 93-year-old falls asleep at meetings, saying the veteran leader was in fact closing his eyes to protect them from bright lights:  

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View more on twitter
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Your questions: How will UK elections affect Africa?

British voters go to the polls on 8 June but how will the vote affect Africa?

The election follows last year's Brexit vote when voters decided to leave the European Union, a decision that is expected to bring a lot of changes to the UK's international relationships.

If you want to know where the major parties stand on trade, immigration, education or any other issue, and if you want clarification abut anything related to the election, let us know.

We'll put a selection of your questions to our reporters and in-house experts for their analysis.

Go to the BBC News website to send us your questions

Nigeria passes budget after five-month delay

President Muhammadu Buhari (left) has left Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo
Nigeria Presidency
President Muhammadu Buhari (left) has left Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo in charge while he takes medical leave in the UK

Nigerian lawmakers have approved the national budget in both houses of parliament after a five-month delay, in a move that is hoped will kick-start the country's flagging economy. 

The budget of 7.5 trillion naira ($24bn; £19bn) was passed in both the House of Representatives and The Senate. 

It was slightly higher than the expenditure first put forward by President Muhammadu Buhari in December.

The budget can now be signed into law by the president.

President Buhari left Nigeria on Sunday to take medical leave in the UK for an undisclosed illness, leaving Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo in charge.

Nigeria is in its second year of recession brought on by low oil prices which have slashed government revenues, weakened the naira currency and caused chronic dollar shortages. 

The senate tweeted confirmation that the government spending plans had been passed:

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New era begins for African Champions League

Mamelodi Sundowns
Getty Images
Mamelodi Sundowns are the current holders

A new era for the African Champions League begins this weekend as a group stage featuring 16 teams kicks off.

There are five matches on Friday, two on Saturday and one Sunday with seven previous champions in action.

Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa continue the defence of their title on Sunday as they host Ethiopia's Saint George.

Sundowns' coach Pitso Mosimane says fixture fatigue could threaten their hopes.

Last year they became just the second South African winners of Africa's top club competition, beating Zamalek of Egypt 3-1 on aggregate in the final.

Read the full BBC Sport story 

Femi Kuti 'to try again' after world record near-miss

Femi Kuti, son of the late Afrobeat legend Fela, has told the BBC that he'll try again after narrowly missing out on breaking the world record for the longest continuous note played on a saxophone. But how does he manage to play for so long? 

How saxophone player Femi Kuti played a single note for 46 minutes

Chibok girls: 103 freed girls to go back to school

Ms Alhassan
BBC
Ms Alhassan said the government will close its rehabilitation centre in September

The 103 schoolgirls released from captivity after being taken by Islamist militants Boko Haram in Chibok, north-east Nigeria, will go back to school in September, a Nigerian minister has said.

Aisha Alhassan said the girls will be ready psychologically.

She said the rehabilitation centre in the capital, Abuja, where some of the girls have been kept, will be closed.

The girls include the 82 released on Saturday, Ms Alhassan said.

She told journalists that the young women were "stable" and "cheerful" compared to how the 21 freed last year were on their release.

Read the full BBC story here

How seven rangers stopped 'industrial scale' logging

Thirty-five men from Mozambique, Malawi and China have been convicted over an illegal logging operation which destroyed about 2,000 hectares of woodland and smuggled out $37m (£29m) worth of hard wood. 

Journalist Lucy Ashton told the BBC's Newsday programme how a small group of Malawian rangers brought down the racketeers last November:

It was the largest arrest of its kind in Malawi's national parks

$7.77m Sierra Leone diamond bid fails

Umaru Fofana

BBC Africa, Freetown, Sierra Leone

Diamond auction will now move to the Belgian city of Antwerp after none of the bidders matched the state's reserve price at the auction in Sierra Leone. 

See previous post

Multi-million dollar auction bid for Sierra Leone diamond

Someone has bid $7.77m (£6m) for an uncut diamond weighing 709 carats which has gone on sale at an auction in Sierra Leone, the BBC's Umaru Fofana reports from the capital Freetown.

They are now waiting to find out if the bid has reached the reserve price (the lowest price which the diamond can be sold for), which has been set by the government. 

It's the second largest diamond ever discovered in Sierra Leone and one of the 20 largest found anywhere. 

It was discovered in March by a local pastor and his workers in Kono district. 

If it does go for $7.77m, then Umaru would not have been far off with his own valuation of $7.5m! Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised though, given he was once a diamond miner himself. 

View more on twitter
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How I funded my studies by digging for Sierra Leone diamonds

Egypt uncovers 'tomb of pharaoh's daughter'

Photograph published by the Egyptian ministry of antiquities showing a burial chamber at the Dahshur royal necropolis, south of Cairo (10 April 2017)
NEVINE EL-AREF / EGYPTIAN MINISTRY OF ANTIQUITIES
The discovery was made at an archaeological site at the Dahshur royal necropolis

The 3,700-year-old burial chamber of a pharaoh's daughter is believed to have been found near the remains of a recently-discovered pyramid in Egypt.

The ministry of antiquities said the chamber at the Dahshur royal necropolis, south of Cairo, contained a wooden box engraved with hieroglyphs.

Inside the box were four canopic jars filled with the organs of the deceased, likely a daughter of King Emnikamaw.

Read the full BBC News story

Photograph published by the Egyptian ministry of antiquities showing a wooden box found inside a burial chamber at the Dahshur royal necropolis, south of Cairo (10 April 2017)
NEVINE EL-AREF / EGYPTIAN MINISTRY OF ANTIQUITIES
A box found inside the chamber bore hieroglyphics meant to protect the body

Libya 'intercepts' migrant boat heading for Europe

BBC World Service

The Libyan coastguard says it has turned back a boat packed with nearly 500 migrants bound for Europe, just as they were about to be rescued at sea. 

The migrants, mainly from sub-Saharan Africa, Syria, Bangladesh and Morocco, were returned to the Libyan capital, Tripoli, where they are being held at a detention centre. 

Libya accused a German rescue boat - run by the Sea-Watch organisation - of trying to disrupt its operation. But the captain said the EU-funded Libyan patrol boat had almost crashed into his vessel. 

llegal migrants arrive by boat at a naval base after they were rescued by Libyan coastguard in the coastal city of Tripoli, Libya, May 10, 2017
Reuters
Libya is under pressure to curb migration to Europe

Mugabe 'resting eyes, not sleeping'

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe appears to be sleeping on the floor of the 67th United Nations General Assembly meeting September 25, 2012 at the United Nations in New York
AFP
Mr Mugabe often appears to be dozing at meetings

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's spokesman has hit back at critics who accuse him of being asleep at public events when his eyes appear to be closed, saying the 93 year old is in fact protecting them from bright lights. 

George Charamba was quoted by the state-owned Herald newspaper as saying that Mr Mugabe travels regularly to Singapore to receive specialised treatment for an eye condition.

He added that "the rest of his body gets attended to" in Zimbabwe by a physician who is not only Zimbabwean but "is actually black".

The increasingly frail-looking Mr Mugabe's health has been the source of intense speculation, and his critics say his trips to Singapore show he has no confidence in Zimbabwe's hospitals. 

He is due to return from Singapore at the weekend after travelling to the country for his latest check-up.   

In his response, Mr Charamba said:

I feel like a failure when there is this reading that the President is sleeping in conferences. No. At 93, there is something that happens to the eyes and the president cannot suffer bright lights. If you look at his poise, he looks down, avoids direct lighting."

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe participates in a discussion at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2017 meeting in Durban, South Africa May 4, 2017
Reuters
Mr Mugabe was at a World Economic Forum meeting in South Africa last week

Mr Charamba drew parallels with South Africa's late President Nelson Mandela, whose eyes were sensitive to flash photography:

A picture taken on February 10, 1995 shows former South African President Nelson Mandela visiting his former cell in notorious Robben Island prison.
AFP
Mr Mandela visited his prison cell after minority rule ended in 1994

In the case of Mandela, if you remember, you were not allowed to even use flashes whenever he was in the room. This is what happens at 93 and Mandela, I do not think lived as long as the president."

Mr Mandela died in a private hospital in the main city, Johannesburg, in 2013 at the age of 95.

The young Senegalese woman behind the next French president

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French newspaper Le Monde is running a profile on Sibeth Ndiaye, the 37-year-old Senegalese-French campaign guru of Emmanuel Macron, who has now been named as the president-elect's press secretary.

Ms Ndiaye is seen as one of the key figures who orchestrated the meteoric rise of Mr Macron's En Marche movement.

Le Monde says that she was ever-present during the Macron campaign and that along with his wife Brigitte Macron, was one of the most prominent women in his camp.

She's being hailed as the star of a new documentary that's just aired on French TV, which takes a behind-the-scenes look at Mr Macron's victory.

In the film, she jokes with Mr Macron, is seen advising and encouraging him, as well as organising his schedule. 

With her "dreadlocks and blue Adidas trainers" Ms Ndiaye does not fulfill the stereotypical image of those working in French politics, the paper adds.

Describing herself in her Twitter bio as an "apprentice geek and committed socialist", Ms Ndiaye grew up in the Senegalese capital Dakar, the youngest of four sisters in a highly political family. 

Both her parents were high-profile figures in Senegal, serving in senior positions under former President Abdoulaye Wade.

Kenya approves cows for cash law

Angela Ngendo

BBC Africa, Nairobi

A Kenyan Maasai Lekiito Lenongiro herds his cattle in the Mount Kenya Forest where herders 07July 2000 have been ordered to take their livestock after being forced out of white-owned ranches in the central Laikipia distict.
AFP
Cattle are a prized asset in rural communities

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has approved a law which allows low-income earners to secure loans from banks using livestock, crops and household appliances such as television assets and fridges as collateral.

The law is aimed at boosting the economy by making it easier for women, young people and small-scale farmers to get loans. 

Many women struggle to get loans because they do not own property. 

The chief executive of the Kenya Bankers Association, Habil Olaka, welcomed the approval of the Movable Property security bill

"It is a good development for the industry, the absence of this law meant that banks could not advance credit to people presenting mobile assets as collateral’’.

Last month, Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said he wanted a similar law to promote "financial inclusion" and give greater access to credit to those excluded under the current system. 

But bankers have raised concerns about the definition of assets, most of which are susceptible to rapid depreciation in value, the UK-based Financial Times reported at the time.

Somali president addresses London conference

BBC World Service Africa Editor Mary Harper is tweeting live from the conference in London, where Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has been addressing delegates:

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Mary is clearly in the thick of it. She managed to grab a photo with the president, who is nicknamed Farmajo because of his father's love of cheese.

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Key excerpts from the speech are being shared on the president's Twitter account:

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How do you solve a problem like Somalia?

Major Somalia conference begins in London

BBC World Service

World leaders are attending a major summit in London on Somalia that is expected to increase humanitarian aid for the drought-stricken country and discuss improving security there. 

Speakers will include UK Prime Minister Theresa May, UN chief  Antonio Guterres and Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

The meeting is expected to agree a plan to train more Somali forces to replace the African Union troops currently fighting the militant Islamist group Al-Shabab.

The UK government has also said it is committed to preventing famine and will call for increased international aid. 

The UK Foreign Office is live-streaming the event, which is now under way:

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Zuma appeals against court order

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma is appealing against a High Court ruling ordering him to give reasons for his controversial decision to sack widely respected Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, 

The president's lawyers argue that the court overstepped its authority and the principle of the separation of powers by ordering him to release all documents linked to the sacking of the minister, local media report.

The opposition Democratic Alliance brought the court action after widespread condemnation of Mr Gordhan's dismissal. 

The move led to two global rating agencies downgrading South Africa to junk status. 

Zuma (archive)
AFP
Mr Zuma has been dogged by allegations of corruption for more than a decade

Zanzibar's schools shut because of flooding

Bus in floods in Zanzibar
BBC

Zanzibar's government has temporarily shut down all schools on the island because of heavy flooding, the BBC Swahili website reports, quoting the education minister.

The decision has been taken for the safety of children and teachers after some schools were submerged, following heavy rains across the island, which is a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania.

Roads have also been damaged in the floods.

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day: 

A living dog is better than a dead lion."

A Tsonga proverb sent by John Tshabane in Sandton, South Africa

Click here to send us your African proverbs

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Welcome to BBC Africa Live where we will bring you the latest news from around the continent.