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Summary

  1. Gambians refused US visas for robot competition
  2. Speaker says Nigeria 'effectively under state of emergency'
  3. Order to arrest Tanzania MP for 'insulting' president
  4. Ugandan female civil servants warned not to show cleavage
  5. South African broadcaster 'fires' presenter for anti-Zuma jibe
  6. Lusaka traders in tears after market fire
  7. Sudanese writer wins top literary award
  8. Ethiopian and Ivorian parks removed from danger list
  9. Testosterone tests may return to athletics
  10. Zimbabwe hires three football coaches

Live Reporting

By Clare Spencer and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Tuesday's stories

We'll be back tomorrow

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

A reminder of today's wise words:

No-one has ever given birth to an ugly child."

An Akan proverb, sent by Frank Adjei in Accra, Ghana

Click here to send us your African proverbs

And we leave you with this action put up by South African photographer Andile Bhala on Instagram:

View more on instagram

Nigeria 'in a state of emergency'

Chris Ewokor

BBC Africa, Abuja

Army in Borno
Getty Images
Troops are battling militant Islamists in the north-east

The speaker of Nigeria's lower chamber, the House of Representatives, has said the deployment of the armed forces in more than 28 states means the country is effectively under a state of emergency.

Yakubu Dogara said it was worrying that the armed forces have virtually taken over routine police work in Nigeria, which is made up of 36 states.

He was speaking at a security event involving lawmakers in the capital, Abuja.

The fear appears real for a country that came out of military rule less than 20 years ago.

Mr Dogara noted the military used to exercise absolute control over government until the restoration of civilian rule in 1999.

His critics will say there are plenty of reasons for the army to be deployed, including an insurgency by Islamist militants in the north-east, a separatist agitation in the south-east, a threat to eject ethnic Igbos from the north and attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta.

See also: Islamist militants 'defeated but 'not eliminated'

Is it snowing in western Kenya?

People in the western Kenyan town of Nyahururu are tweeting pictures of what they describe as snow:

We have snow in Kenya #Nyahururu

We have snow in Kenya #Nyahururu

View more on twitter

But the Kenyan Met Service Twitter account insists the white stuff is not snow:

View more on twitter

For it to snow temperatures are usually below 0°C

And finally, another tweeter says one thing, at least, is certain:

View more on twitter

Unesco take Ethiopia's Simien park off danger list

Unesco has tweeted that it has taken Ethiopia's famous Simien Park off the list of endangered world heritage sites following the government's decision to build an alternative road around it:

View more on twitter

The park was added to the danger list in 1996 due to the impact of a new road across it.

In a statement, Unesco said:

The World Heritage Committee welcomed Ethiopia’s commitment in building an alternative road to alleviate the disturbance of traffic on the main road that crosses the property, reduce cattle overgrazing and visitor impact.

The committee furthermore welcomed the stabilization of the site’s endemic animal populations of, notably, Walia ibex and Gelada baboons."

The park was placed on the danger list in 1996.

We reported earlier that Unesco had also taken Ivory Coast's Comoe National Park off the list after elephants and monkeys started reproducing again on the site.

Burundi 'purging army along ethnic lines'

Burundi army
AFP

Burundian authorities have intensified an ethnically-driven purge of the army this year, a French rights group has said in a report out today.

The government in Bujumbura rejected the findings, Reuters news agency reports.

The report by the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) said there was already a split in the army between people who supported an attempted coup in 2015 and those who backed President Pierre Nkurunziza.

It said the split has become worse, with the "purge and elimination" of soldiers The "primary targets" were soldiers who came from the former army, dominated by the minority Tutsi ethnic group.

It goes on to say that the government has "reinstated" ethnic divisions in the army, and considers soldiers of the former army as "enemies because of their Tutsi ethnic background".

The report gives a stark warning about what could happen if the trend continues:

This might lead the army to fall apart and entice many soldiers to disobey, which means a possible return of civil war."

Mr Nkurunziza comes from the majority Hutu etnic group. He took power in 2005 following the the end of a brutal civil war.

He refused to step down in 2015 when his two terms ended. It led to protests and an attempted coup which was crushed by troops loyal to him.

Tanzania suspends new mining licenses

Tanzanite in hand
Getty Images
Tanzania is rich in minerals, including tanzanite

Tanzania's President John Magufuli has ordered the suspension of new mining licenses.The announcement was made in a statement from State House.

It also says that expired mining licenses will not be renewed.

It is the latest twist in an ongoing row between the government and mining companies.

Parliament has passed two bills allowing the government to renegotiate gas and mining contracts with multinationals.

Mr Magufuli accuses many companies of tax evasion, charges the companies deny.

Tanzanian MP accused of inciting violence

Sammy Awami

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

John Magufuli
AFP
Mr Magufuli is sometimes nicknamed the bulldozer for his no-nonsense approach

Opposition Tanzanian MP Halima Mdee insulted President John Magufuli at a meeting of her Chadema party, Kinondoni District Commissioner Ally Hapi has said.

Mr Hapi has ordered the police to detain her for allegedly insulting Mr Magufuli.

Speaking at a press conference earlier today, he accused Ms Mdee - an MP in the main city, Dar es Salaam - of saying that the president had become "ill-mannered" and that one day he will "order Tanzanians to go topless".

It is not immediately clear what prompted her to make the alleged comments.

Mr Hapi says the comments incited violence and are not supposed to be made ordinary citizens, let alone an ethical leader.

The constitution gives power to a district commissioner to order the detention of any individual for up to 48 hours for allegedly causing "public disturbance".

Ms Mdee has not yet commented.

See earlier post for more details

SA school to be built out of plastic bottles

Bottles
Ian Dommisse

A project in South Africa aims to build schools using waste plastic bottles.

Architect Ian Dommisse told BBC Minute that plastic bottles are filled with non-recyclable plastic and, if covered with plaster, can last for 450 years.

He said he needs 6,000 bricks for a pre-school they are building in Port Elizabeth.

Listen to the full interview:

The idea of so-called eco-bricks has been taking off across South Africa:

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View more on instagram

Zambia's leader warns of 'sabotage' after fire

Kennedy Gondwe

BBC World Service, Lusaka

Fire
Douglas Tembo

Zambia's President Edgar Lungu has suggested that the country's biggest market was deliberately set on fire in an act bordering on "economic sabotage".

However, some people at the gutted market in the capital, Lusaka, say they suspect it was caused by an electrical fault.

Mr Lungu - who is attending a heads of summit of the African Union in Ethiopia - vowed to bring the suspected arsonists to justice.

"We'll find you wherever you're hiding," he said, in a series tweets:

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

The blaze has been extinguished by firefighters from the city council and the Zambia Air Force.

Some onlookers said they came to the scene late, causing the fire to spread rapidly this morning.

Police are still investigating the cause of the inferno.

Zambia's main opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) said the tragedy should not be politicised, and independent proferssionals should be left to identify the cause.

"All residents hold Lusaka City Market dear to their hearts because it’s a source of livelihoods to thousands of our mothers and youths," its chairperson Mutale Nulumongo said in a statement published in local media.

"It’s a complex that cuts across political, religious or ethnic divides and brings World class goods and services from far flung places such as Dubai, China and Europe, right at our doorsteps," she added.

See earlier post for more details

Egypt 'extends' state of emergency

Egypt's parliament has approved President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi's three-month extension of a nationwide state of emergency, reports Reuters news agency.

The state of emergency was first announced in April after attacks on two Coptic churches that left at least 44 dead.

Saint Mark's Coptic church in Alexandria, also in northern Egypt
EPA
A suicide bomber detonated his device outside Saint Mark's Coptic church in Alexandria

So-called Islamic State (IS) said it was behind the blasts.

The measure allows authorities to make arrests without warrants and search people's homes.

Tanzania orders arrest of MP for 'insulting' president

John Magufuli
AFP
It isn't known what was said about President John Magufuli

Tanzanian authorities have ordered the arrest of an opposition lawmaker for insulting President John Magufuli.

Police should detain Halima Mdee - a lawmaker from the main opposition Chadema party in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam - for 48 hours, pending criminal charges, the commissioner of the city's Kinondoni district, Ali Hapi, said.

"She should be questioned and sent to court to explain the insults she made against our president," Mr Hapi told journalists.

He did not say what the insults were but Tanzania's Citizen newspaper reported that it was related to President Magufuli's stand that teen mothers should not return to school after giving birth.

Insulting the president was made a criminal offence under a contrtversial cyber crimes law passed in 2015 before Mr Magufuli came into office.

More than 10 people, including university students and a lecturer, have been charged in court over the past few months with insulting the president via social networking platforms like WhatsApp, according to Reuters news agency.

Ivory Coast park removed from endangered list

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Unesco says it has decided to remove Ivory Coast's Comoe National Park from its list of endangered world heritage sites following "very positive" conservation efforts.

In a statement following a meeting of its World Heritage Committee in the Polish city of Krakow, Unesco said:

Populations of iconic species such as elephants and chimpanzees that were thought to have disappeared from the site are reproducing again and the state of conservation of habitats is now very positive.

Targets for fauna conservation have in fact been met and even surpassed."

The park, in northern Ivory Coast, was declared a world heritage site in 1983 and is one of the largest protected areas in West Africa.

It is known for its diverse plant life and contains plants usually found much further south, such as shrub savannas and patches of thick rainforest.

Unesco cited poaching, fires and overgrazing as causes for concern when it listed the park as endangered in 2003.

Testosterone tests may return to athletics

Nick Cavell

BBC Africa Sport

Caster Semenya of South Africa celebrates winning the gold medal in the women"s 800 Metres Final during day five of the 12th IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium on August 19, 2009
Getty Images
Caster Semenya was asked to take a gender test after winning the 800m in 2009

South Africa’s Olympic 800 metre champion Caster Semenya looks set to be the centre of attention once again in the coming weeks - and not for her performances on the track - in the build up to the World Athletics Championships in London next month.

This comes after athletics world governing body the IAAF has published research today which could lead to female athletes like Semenya being banned from future Games because of their high naturally-occurring testosterone levels.

The research began two years ago when the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) forced the IAAF to prove testosterone levels gave female athletes an advantage.

The IAAF will present their findings to CAS later this month.

Read more on the BBC Sport website.

Algerian told 'not to write about army'

Leila Sidhoum
Leila Sidhoum
Student and assistant professor Leila Sidhoum claims to have faced political harassment

A PhD student in Algeria says her university is withholding her degree because of objections to the political content of her thesis.

An official at the faculty said there were concerns over the way she presented the military.

Leila Sidhoum has accused the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Algiers 3 of censorship and intimidation.

She said she had already successfully defended her work before a board.

Ms Sidhoum, who is also an assistant professor at the university, themed her work on the role of governing elites in the democratic transition in Algeria, from 1989 to 2016.

She said she has been told to remove parts of the thesis referring to the army, the president and the banned Islamic Salvation Front party (FIS).

Read the full BBC story here

Ghana miners trapped underground

Thomas Naadi

BBC Africa, Accra

A Galamseyer, illegal gold panner, clears by hand mud and sand as he works on a gold field in Kibi on April 10, 2017.
AFP
Many poor people mine illegally in the hope of getting rich

Emergency workers in Ghana are trying to rescue 17 miners trapped in an illegal mining pit since Sunday.

The pit, in Prestea-Nsuta town in the Western region, caved in, trapping the miners more than 25 metres underground. Five managed to escape, according to local police. Rescue efforts are still ongoing 48 hours later in the hope of finding survivors.

Illegal mining, allegedly led by Chinese nationals, has been a source of concern to the Ghanaian authorities both because of safety issues and its destructive impact on the environment. Several arrests have been made and equipment seized.

The government has now set up a task force to investigate the problem as the number of accidents increase.

Read: How I funded my studies by digging for diamonds

Nigeria's Islamist militants 'defeated but 'not eliminated'

Buratai: Boko Haram defeated but 'not eliminated'

Terrorism is "resilient" but the Islamist militant group Boko Haram has been defeated militarily, Nigeria’s army chief Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai has told BBC Hardtalk.

Speaking last Thursday he told Stephen Sackur his army had succeeded in pushing back Boko Haram although they had not been completely eliminated.

When Muhammadu Buhari became president of Nigeria in 2015, he vowed to eradicate Boko Haram and bring security and stability to his country.

* You can see the interview in full on Tuesday 4 July on BBC World News and the BBC News Channel and after on BBC iPlayer (UK only).

Zimbabwe employs three football coaches

Instead of having a full-time national team coach, Zimbabwe are using three different men in charge for three different competitions they are involved in.

Zimbabwe have not formally replaced Calistus Pasuwa who left the national team job after their exit from the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Gabon earlier this year.

Instead Norman Mapeza is in charge of Nations Cup qualifying, Rahman Gumbo for the African Nations Championship (CHAN) campaign and veteran Sunday Marimo Chidzambwa is leading the squad at the Cosafa Cup.

All three men have had spells in overall charge of the Warriors in the past.

Read the full BBC story here

A Zimbabwe supporter cheers for his team during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations group A football match between Zimbabwe and Tunisia at the Stade de l'Amitie Sino-Gabonaise in Libreville on January 23, 2017
AFP

Gambians refused US visas for robot competition

Several Gambian students have been refused visas to the US to take part in an international robotics competition without being given any reasons, reports Al Jazeera.

The Doha-based broadcaster quotes the director of The Gambia's ministry of higher education, Moktar Darboe, as saying the students had to pay $170 (£131) each for the visa application.

"Their parents had to sacrifice a lot to pay this fee," he said.

An al Jazeera producer tweets that the team will send their robot to the US competition:

View more on twitter

The First Global Challenge, which begins on 16 July, is asking students to come up with robotics solutions to finding clean water.

A group of Afghan students have also been refused visas.

Joe Sestak, the president of FIRST Global told the US newspaper, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that they knew the chances of the students getting vias were slim.

“These nations [Afghanistan and Gambia] have some of the highest refusal rates. Gambia is 70%," he is quoted as saying.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette adds that the State Department does not comment on visa denials.

It says that these are the only two nations that have been refused out of more than 160.

The organiser's tweets show people are planning to attend from all over the world, including unstable countries like Libya:

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

Ivory Coast's reconciliation commission closes down

Tamasin Ford

BBC Africa, Abidjan

Ivory Coast’s Reconciliation and Compensation Commission (RCC) has officially ended. It was set up to identify victims of the decade long crisis. However, few people have received any money.

This is actually the second commission set up since the end of the civil war in 2011. The first, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), was criticised for spending all its budget and achieving almost nothing.

It modelled itself on South Africa’s TRC, set up after apartheid. However, it became more of a political show than one focused on the people.

It was scrapped and replaced by the RCC in 2015, along with a fund of around $17m (£13m).

It identified more than 300,000 victims but so far only around 5,000 have received any of the money.

The Ministry of Solidarity is now in charge of the fund and says it will continue the commission’s mandate.

A view of a barricade erected by angry residents after security forces loyal to Ivory Coast's strongman, Laurent Gbagbo, shot and killed at least six women on March 3, 2011 in Abobo, a working class neighborhood of Abidjan.
AFP
Ivory Coast was hit by conflict between supporters of President Alassane Ouattara and his his predecessor Laurent Gbagbo

Tanzania lawmakers back controversial mining laws

Sammy Awami

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

Gold
BBC

Tanzania's parliament has passed two controversial laws to bring about far-reaching reforms in the mining sector.

One law explicitly states that the Tanzanian people will have permanent sovereignty over all natural wealth and resources, and ownership and control will be exercised by the government on behalf of the people.

This means private companies would mine on behalf of the nation - whereas before the law stated that once firms signed a contract with the government, they owned the minerals.

Another law empowers parliament to review all agreements made by the government regarding natural resources.

The two pieces of legislation follow months of dispute between President John Magufuli's government and UK-listed mining firm Acacia over revenue sharing.

Acacia is accused of under-reporting the gold and copper levels in its concentrate exports by more than 10 times and of underpaying the government tens of billions of dollars over the two decades it has been operating in the East African country.

The company strongly denies any wrongdoing.

Mining companies and lobby groups had urged the government to delay passing the two laws to allow for more consultation.

The government, however, pushed ahead with gaining parliamentary approval for the legislation.

Sudanese writer wins top literary award

Sudanese author Bushra al-Fadil has won the 2017 Caine Prize for African Writing for his short story entitled The Story of the Girl Whose Birds Flew Away.

The £10,000 ($13,000) prize, launched in 2000, is awarded annually to an African writer of a short story published in English.

Mr al-Fadil spoke to BBC Newsday's Alan Kasujja about his book:

The winning book describes life in a bustling market through the eyes of the narrator.

Ugandan women warned not to show cleavage

Patience Atuhaire

BBC Africa, Kampala

Uganda's Ministry for Public Service has told public servants to dress "decently", and has warned women not to show their cleavage.

In a circular, it says women are not allowed to wear dresses or skirts that are above the knees, sleeveless blouses or any clothing made out of see-through material.

The privately owned Observer newspaper has tweeted the order:

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Women's pant-suits are allowed, but female public servants will not wear any tight-fitting clothing.

Flat, open shoes are also ruled out, except in cases where one can prove that it is for medical reasons.

The circular further states that accessories should be modest, and women should not have brightly coloured braids or extensions.

Men are required to wear neat, long-sleeved shirts, jackets and ties, trousers that are not tight, keep their hair short and neat, and also not wear brightly-coloured clothes.

The circular is derived from Public Service Standing Orders on dress-code, put in place in 2010. However, the dress-code does not seem to have been paid much attention to up to now.

Nigeria's Kanu on saving lives

Nigeria and Arsenal legend Nwankwo Kanu inspired millions across Africa as a player. Now he wants to make a difference off the pitch, by improving healthcare on the continent.

He was talking to the BBC as part of the Where Are They Now? series, looking at ex-Premier League players from Africa.

Video journalist: Stanley Kwenda

Nigeria's Kanu on saving lives through his heart foundation

Zambia's biggest market burns down

Kennedy Gondwe

BBC World Service, Lusaka

Fire
Douglas Tembo

Zambia's biggest market has been burnt, destroying the livelihood of its many traders.

City Market, which is located in the capital Lusaka, has been on fire since the early hours of Tuesday.

Police spokeswoman Esther Katongo and Lusaka Mayor Wilson Kalumba said they were still investigating the cause of the fire.

The fire has left some traders tearful as they have lost most of their goods.

"How will I feed my family now because this is all I depend on for survival?" said Loveness Banda, while watching from a distance as the market was in flames.

fire
Douglas Tembo

Onlookers suspect the fire could have been caused by an electrical fault and blamed the late arrival of firefighters for not stopping its rapid spread.

The market has the biggest number of traders in Zambia. They sell, among other things, second-hand clothes, electrical appliances, hardware and food.

Fire
Douglas Tembo

SA journalist 'sacked for calling Zuma a zombie'

A popular radio presenter in South Africa has been fired by the public broadcaster, SABC, for calling President Jacob Zuma a "zombie" in a Facebook post, the privately owned News 24 site has reported.

Radio Lotus presenter Ravi Govender's contract was terminated because of concerns that he had brought the public broadcaster into disrepute, SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago was quoted by News24 as saying.

African National Congress (ANC) and South African President Jacob Zuma dances and chants during the closing session of the ANC's National General Council (NGC) in Durban on September 24, 2010.
AFP
Mr Zuma has faced mounting allegations of corruption

Mr Govender has not commented since his dismissal, but had earlier apologised for the post that he said he had put up in anger after listening to a speech by the scandal-hit Mr Zuma at the governing African National Congress' (ANC) policy conference in the main city, Johannesburg, on Friday

“Just heard a Zombie Zuma giving a speech on the news. Massacring the beautiful English language. Uneducated creature. Even the other moron [Zimbabwe's President Robert] Mugabe speaks much better," he was reported to have said in the post which was later deleted.

Mr Zuma’s son, Edward, accused Mr Govender of hate speech, and threatened legal action against him.

“We fail as a family to understand what prompted Ravi Govender to make such a statement referring to our father as a zombie. Is this still part of freedom of speech? We believe that this is the worst form of abuse of democracy that many of our leaders fought so hard to achieve,” he was quoted by the Times Live news site as saying.

Mr Zuma has refused to bow to public pressure to resign despite being dogged by allegations of corruption.

Read: The colourful and controversial Zuma

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day:

No-one has ever given birth to an ugly child."

An Akan proverb, sent by Frank Adjei in Accra, Ghana

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.