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Summary

  1. Kenya court scraps presidential ballot tender awarded to Dubai-based firm
  2. Wild cheers as Ghana satellite launched into space
  3. 'Delay' in opening Malawi football stadium gates caused stampede
  4. 'Decline' in condom use helps spread dangerous gonorrhoea
  5. Ghana rescue efforts to recover 22 bodies from mining pit abandoned
  6. US reverses decision to deny Gambian students visas
  7. Car bombings in Egypt 'kill 10 soldiers'
  8. Fifa bans Sudan because of 'government interference'
  9. British PR firm apologises over SA campaign

Live Reporting

By Dickens Olewe and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Friday's stories

We'll be back on Monday

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:

Any palm nut that wants to become palm oil would have a taste of fire."

A Yoruba proverb sent by Lanre Adeniyi Abdkabir in Nigeria

And we leave you with this image of Cameroon's Dongmo Auriole taking part in the women's shot put competition in Hungary. It's one of our favourite pictures from the week.

Cameroon's Dongmo Auriole participating in the women's shot put
EPA

SA opposition parties reject Bell Pottinger's apology

Andrew Harding

BBC News, Johannesburg

South Africa’s main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has dismissed a public apology by British public relations company Bell Pottinger, which has been accused of helping to stir up racial tensions in the country, as a PR-stunt.

Bell Pottinger has become a toxic brand in South Africa and it’s public apology for helping to orchestrate a campaign against white businesses has done little to calm public anger.

The radical Economic Freedom Fighters said the company should be prosecuted, and banned from South Africa altogether.

The DA is demanding that the British spin doctors disclose, in full, all their dealings with the Guptas - the controversial business family that hired them last year.

Supporters of South Africa's main opposition party Democratic Alliance carry placards against the South African Football Association (SAFA) during a Football Friday picket at SAFA House in Johannesburg on June 19, 2015
AFP
The DA has waged a relentless campaign against corruption

The Guptas have denied allegations of buying influence at the highest levels of government.

But it’s claimed that Bell Pottinger was brought in to distract attention from those corruption claims, by launching a divisive social media campaign – with the hashtag white monopoly capital.

South Africa’s governing African National Congress continues to insist it has played no role in the scandal. Its allies in the South African Communist Party have described the Guptas as parasites and Bell Pottinger’s apology as insincere and trivial.

'Closed gates' caused Malawi stampede

Thousands queuing
BBC
Thousands queued to get into the stadium, even after the stampede

A delay in opening the gates at a football stadium in Malawi for Thursday's match between the country's two top clubs contributed to the stampede which killed eight people, including seven children, and wound 62, a preliminary investigation by police has found.

The BBC's Frank Kandu reports that the gates to the Bingu National Stadium, which has a seating capacity of 40,000, were supposed to open at 06:30 local time (04:30GMT) to allow fans yo enter for free, but there was a delay of about three hours.

An eyewitness told Reuters that the stampede at the stadium in the capital, Lilongwe, occurred because "police lost control" and used teargas to disperse the crowds that were fighting to find seats.

The football match, between Nyasa Big Bullets and Silver Strikers, was played in front of a packed stadium as planned, despite the tragedy.

It was part of events held to mark Malawi's 53rd independence from British colonial rule.

Nyasa Big Bullets won 2-1.

Ghana satellite into space launched

Thomas Naadi

BBC Africa, Accra

Ghana's first satellite into space has been launched, opening a new frontier in its quest for space exploration.

GhanaSat-1, which weighs 1 kg (2.2lb), was launched from the International Space Station, to wild cheers from the Ghanaian engineers and an audience of about 400 who watched a live broadcast of the event from an auditorium in the eastern region of Koforidua.

GhanaSat-1 was one of five satellites launched, as a NASA astronaut tweeted:

View more on twitter

The satellite, which has low and high resolution cameras on board, will orbit 400 km (248 miles) above the earth, Graphic Online reports.

The coordinator of the project, Richard Damoah, says the launch marks the beginning of space exploration in the country.

The satellite will be used to monitor Ghana's coastline for mapping purposes and provide data that can be used to monitor the country's coastal areas.

The launch is a culmination of a two-year project costing $50,000 ( £40,000) and was carried out in collaboration with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Kenyan court annuls presidential ballot tender

Uhuru Kenyatta
AFP
President Kenyatta is confident of winning a second term

The High Court in Kenya has scrapped a $24m (£18m) tender issued to a Dubai-based firm to print presidential ballots, in a major victory for the opposition which had alleged that the company was linked to President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is seeking re-election.

The panel of three judges faulted the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for failing to consult all candidates in the 8 August poll before awarding the tender to Al Ghurair.

The judges ruled that the company could still print ballots for the parliamentary and county elections, but the tender for presidential ballots should be re-advertised.

The main opposition party, the National Super Alliance (Nasa), had gone to court, alleging that the Dubai-based printing company had been awarded the tender irregularly and that its owners had links with President Kenyatta.

Al Ghurair and Mr Kenyatta deny any wrongdoing.

Nasa's flagbearer, Raila Odinga, hopes to defeat Mr Kenyatta, who is running under the banner of the Jubilee Party, in the tightly contested presidential race.

'Twenty-three Egyptian soldiers killed in Sinai attack'

BBC World Service

Egyptian security sources say that at least 23 soldiers were killed and more than 25 wounded in two car bomb attacks on checkpoints in the northern Sinai.

There's been no claim of responsibility so far for the attacks, which took place near the border city of Rafah.

(See earlier post)

Beauty queen wearing gloves at orphanage 'not racist'

Miss South Africa wearing gloves
Sun International PR agency

Photos of Miss South Africa wearing gloves while visiting black children at an orphanage in Soweto sparked a online outcry - but the orphanage staff say any insinuation that Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters is racist is "ridiculous".

"Of course it wasn't because she didn't want to touch black children," says Carol Dyantyi, a spokesperson for the Orlando West Community Centre Ikageng.

Nel-Peters was volunteering to feed orphans at the centre, and the gloves were a health and safety measure.

"We told her, and all other volunteers, to wear them while they were handling food around the children," Dyantyi tells BBC Trending. "It was purely to protect the children from the risk of contaminated food. This social media reaction is ridiculous."

View more on twitter

Thousands of Twitter users criticised Nel-Peters after photos of her at a soup drive on Wednesday began to circulate on social media.

Many accused the beauty queen of wearing the latex gloves "because she didn't want to touch black children" and shared images of her hugging dogs and white children with bare hands.

View more on twitter

Pope asks G20 leaders to resolve conflicts

Pope Francis
FRANCO ORIGLIA
Pope Francis has built a reputation of championing the interests of the poor

Pope Francis has appealed to world leaders at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, to seek urgent solutions to conflicts in Africa and the Middle East, saying some 30 million people are suffering without enough food and water.

In a message to the leaders, he said war "is never a solution" and efforts needed to be stepped up to resolve "the tragic situation in South Sudan, the Lake Chad basin, the Horn of Africa and Yemen, where 30 million people are lacking the food and water needed to survive".

There needed to be "immediate support" for the 30 million, without discrimination along the lines of race, religion or naionality, Pope Francis added.

The Resident Presidents play tennis

This week the Resident Presidents Olushambles and Kibarkingmad take to the courts during the ongoing Wimbledon tennis tournament, and they're making a racket.

Olushambles and Kibarkingmad take to the courts during Wimbledon

SA activists warned not to intimidate journalists

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

A court in South Africa has granted an interdict preventing the radical group, Black First Land First (BLF), from threatening and intimidating journalists.

The South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) had approached the court after members of the BLF went to the home of prominent newspaper columnist Peter Bruce last month, and spray-painted the words “Land or Death” on his garage door.

They also threatened and assaulted a colleague of Mr Bruce who had arrived to assist him.

The incident happened last month, leading to an outpouring of support for the two journalists.

View more on twitter

BLF supporters accused Mr Bruce of being a "white monopoly propagandist" who was "pushing a narrative that black people are the ones that are corrupting this country".

The BLF is linked to the controversial Gupta family, which is often accused of corruption. The family, with close links to President Jacob Zuma, has repeatedly denied the allegation.

After the ruling, BLF leader Andile Mngxithama appeared to be unrepentant, saying: “Should they [journalist] write any racist material we are going to protest against them. We are going to deal with racism in the media. We have reiterated many times before that we accept media freedom but we don’t accept racism.”

Sanef chairwoman Mahlatse Gallens said: “We are not deterred. The judgement said the BLF has to stop threatening, harassing and assaulting journalists. They really should face the music.”

SA's booming private security industry

High walls topped with razor wire, armed patrols in pick-up trucks and signs deterring would-be criminals from targeting properties are commonplace in South Africa.

Per capita, the country's private security industry is the fourth largest in the world and South Africans spend more than $4bn (£3bn) a year protecting themselves and their homes.

The BBC's Vumani Mkhize has been taking a look at this growing industry.

South Africa's booming private security industry

A former slave's gift for Queen Victoria

When former slave Martha Ann Erskine Ricks fulfilled her dream of meeting Queen Victoria, sailing from Liberia to England in 1892, she took with her a special gift for the monarch.

Here is her story, in her own words, read by her descendant Florence Dennis-Huskin.

Images of Martha are courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Animation by Jenny Anderson.

Producer: Penny Dale

How former slave Martha Ricks gifted a quilt to Queen Victoria

Car guard: 'I'm the boss of this street'

If you live in an African city you will be familiar with car parkers or guards - men who suddenly appear when you park your car. They will watch it for you and guide you out when you leave... for a small fee.

Also guarding their patches closely, they are a noticeable part of the informal economy on the continent and sometimes earn well above the average wage.

The BBC's Africa Business Report took to the streets of Ivory Coast's commercial capital, Abidjan, to meet some of them.

Car parker, Ivory Coast: 'I'm the boss of this street'

Ethiopia warns Qatar crisis could destabilise Horn of Africa

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has warned that the ongoing row between Gulf states risks destabilising the Horn of Africa.

In an address to parliament broadcast live on state-owned EBC TV, Mr Hailemariam said that Ethiopia hoped the dispute would be resolved through dialogue, saying there was "no question" Ethiopia would be greatly affected if the region was destabilised.

He added that Ethiopia supported Kuwait's attempt to resolve the row.

Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani,
AFP
Qataris have rallied behind their leader, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, since the dispute broke out

Last month,Qatar withdrew its peacekeepers from the disputed border between Eritrea and Djibouti, apparently because the two East African countries sided with Saudi Arabia in its confrontation with the Qataris.

The Horn of Africa countries have varying historic economic, military and political links to the Gulf states.

The region also adjoins the Red Sea, a key route for international trade and shipments of oil from the Gulf to Europe.

Egyptian soldiers killed in suicide attacks

Twenty-six Egyptian soldiers have been killed or wounded in car bomb attacks on several checkpoints in the northern Sinai region, the army has said in a statement.

A colonel was among 10 soldiers killed, security sources told Reuters news agency.

The military said it killed 40 assailants as it fought back.

The militant Islamic State group (IS) has carried out many attacks in the region against the security services and other targets in the past two years.

But unrest in the northern Sinai has long predated IS, with the security services unable to crush a jihadist insurgency there.

Read: Egypt's most dangerous militants

Angry passengers set bus on fire

A group of residents in South Africa's impoverished suburb of Cato Manor in the coastal city of Durban have set fire to a bus to protest against alleged poor services provided by the government, the local TimeLive news site reports.

View more on twitter

It is the latest in a wave of protests in South Africa, as discontentment with the governing African National Congress - in power since 1994 - grows.

Fifa bans Sudan

Fifa logo
Reu

Football's world governing body Fifa has banned Sudan because of government interference in the sport.

A warning was issued last month after the government installed a new FA president.

The suspension means that Sudan's three clubs in continental tournaments have been disqualified by the Confederation of African Football.

Al Hilal and Al Merreikh have been barred from the Champions League and Al Hilal Obeid from the Confederation Cup.

It means that Friday's two Champions League final Group A matches featuring Hilal and Merreikh will not now go ahead.

Read the full BBC sport story here

Oral sex producing unstoppable bacteria

A couple relax in the afternoon sun on July 13, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
afp

Oral sex is producing dangerous gonorrhoea and a decline in condom use is helping it to spread, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

It warns that if someone contracts gonorrhoea, it is now much harder to treat, and in some cases impossible.

The sexually transmitted infection (STI) is rapidly developing resistance to antibiotics.

Experts said the situation was "fairly grim" with few new drugs on the horizon.

About 78 million people pick up the STI, which can cause infertility, each year. This includes about 11.4 million people in Africa.

WHO analysed data from 77 countries which showed gonorrhoea's resistance to antibiotics was widespread.

Read full story

British PR firm issues 'grovelling' apology

Andrew Harding

BBC News, Johannesburg

A British public relations company has apologized for its role in a controversial social media campaign in South Africa that critics say was deliberately inflaming racial tensions.

Bell Pottinger admitted the campaign was inappropriate and offensive, and has sacked or suspended four employees.

It was a lucrative contract for one of South Africa's most controversial business empires, owned by the Gupta family. Bell Pottinger was unable to resist.

Demonstrators protesting against the South African president and calling for his resignation hold placards and shout slogans outside the Gupta Family compound in Johannesburg on April 7, 2017.
AFP
Critics accuse the Gupta family of wielding undue influence over President Zuma

Now, though, the British public relations firm has issued a groveling apology to those who have, for months, accused it of deliberately helping to stir up racial hatred here.

In a statement, the chief executive James Henderson expressed deep concern about Bell Pottinger's role in a social media campaign, which highlighted, and condemned the power of white-owned businesses in South Africa.

The suspicion, backed by leaked emails, is that the campaign was part of a larger conspiracy - designed to distract attention from allegations of massive corruption being made against the Guptas, President Jacob Zuma, and their political allies.

The reaction against Bell Pottinger on social media has been deafening and damaging. The company ended its contract three months ago.

But insiders had been warning long before that, that the deal was toxic. President Zuma, and the Guptas, have consistently denied all allegations of corruption.

Kenyan court to rule on election ballot tender

Angela Ng'endo

BBC Africa

A Kenyan court is due to make a landmark ruling on a case challenging the award of ballot paper printing tender to a Dubai-based printing company, Al Ghurair.

The opposition coalition, National Super Alliance (Nasa), had gone to court to seek the cancellation of the tender, arguing that it was awarded irregularly and that the company's owners were too close to President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is seeking re-election.

Al Ghurair and Mr Kenyatta deny any wronngdoing.

The High Court's ruling today will determine whether preparations for the elections due in 31 days will stay on course or be thrown off track.

Should the petition succeed and the contract awarded to Al Ghurair revoked, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will have to identity a new supplier, a process it has warned could stretch beyond the set 8 August poll date.

However, should the decision go its way, it will be on course to deliver all the ballot papers a week before the election.

Gambia's young engineers celebrate US visa

Gambian students who were twice denied a visa to travel to the US for a robotics competition have finally been given permission to go to Washington DC and show off the robot they built.

The event is set for 16 July - 18 July.

Fatoumata Ceesay, one of the innovators, spoke to BBC's Newsday programme presenter Bola Mosuro about the new development and how the robot the team built works:

They can now attend international robotics competition

Ghana illegal miners declared dead

View more on twitter

Burial rites have been performed at a gold mining pit in Ghana where 22 illegal miners were trapped after rescue workers gave up hope of finding them alive.

"A Catholic mass was held for the dead. Islamic and traditional prayers were also offered. All the customary rites have been performed and we assume they are all dead and we are sealing up the pit," Deputy Lands and Natural Resources Minister Benito Owusu Bio told Ghana's privately owned citifmonline.

"We are piling rocks and debris on it to the extent that nobody can reach that part again,” he added.

Only one body was retrieved after the pit in Prestea-Nsuta town in the Western region caved in on Sunday, trapping the miners more than 25 metres underground.

Rescue efforts were suspended on Thursday because of heavy rains, reports the BBC's Thomas Naadi from the capital, Accra.

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: Why a new word in Ghana spells trouble

'Climate of fear' ahead of Rwanda poll

Leading rights group Amnesty International has warned of a "climate of fear" in Rwanda ahead of presidential elections on 4 August.

"Since the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) took power 23 years ago, Rwandans have faced huge, and often deadly obstacles to participating in public life and voicing criticism of government policy," Amnesty said in a report.

"The climate in which the upcoming elections take place is the culmination of years of repression," it added.

President Paul Kagame is expected to win the election against a weak opposition after the constitution was controversially amended to allow him to run for a third term.

The government has not commented on the report, but it has previously dismissed allegations of repression in Rwanda.

File photograph of Paul Kagame
AFP
Mr Kagame's supporters credit him with achieving stability

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day:

Any palm nut that wants to become palm oil would have a taste of fire."

A Yoruba proverb sent by Lanre Adeniyi Abdkabir in Nigeria

Click here to send us your African proverbs

Good morning

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