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  1. Kenyan doctor files petition to legalise FGM for adults
  2. Nigerian state bans adoption to stop sale of children
  3. Nurse gives homeless addict childhood friend a shop
  4. Tanzanian president spoke against parents paying state schools
  5. Lassa fever outbreak forces schools to close
  6. Zimbabwe's president "says elections will be in four to five months"

Live Reporting

By Clare Spencer and Natasha Booty

All times stated are UK

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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:

The child who asks difficult questions is resented by the elders."

An Ngoni proverb sent by Douglas Kalinde in Ntcheu, Malawi

Click here and scroll to the bottom to send us your African proverbs.

And we leave you with this picture of Ghanaian blogger Gillian Okyere:

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'The cosmetic industry isn't speaking to me'

Beauty blogger Jackie Aina believes the cosmetic industry isn't doing enough for women of colour.

The Nigerian-American former make-up artist has more than one million YouTube subscribers. She believes it's harder for black men and women to get hold of the right products. She says it's not as bad as it once was, but firms could still do better.

Beauty blogger Jackie Aina wants make-up firms to do more for women of colour.

The Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association (CTPA) said: "Cosmetic manufacturers are very aware that different skin and hair types require very different cosmetic product formulations."

It said: "Manufacturers of all sizes will do their utmost to ensure their products are made available to the intended segment of the market."

Watch more from BBC Minute.

Zambia score against Ivory Coast

The BBC's Nick Cavell has the latest score from the 2018 African Nations Championship - or Chan:

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View more on twitter

Egypt cautious over Nile row

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn during their meeting in the Egyptian Presidential Palace, Cairo, Egypt, 18 January 2018. Desalegn is in Egypt to discuss the obstacles in the negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, left, talked about the dam at the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's palace

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt has expressed "extreme concern" at the lack of progress in efforts to resolve a row with Ethiopia over the river Nile.

Egypt fears that a dam the Ethiopians are building will reduce its share of the waters.

Speaking during a visit to Cairo by Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Mr Sisi said no one-sided decisions should be taken regarding the filling of what would be a vast reservoir.

Mr Desalegn said the destinies of the two nations were bound together by the river, and that friendly dialogue was required.

Five poachers arrested in Mozambique

Jose Tembe

BBC Africa, Maputo

Animal's paw
Getty Images
The paws of powerful animals are used in traditional medicine

Five poachers have been arrested in a sports hunting game reserve in Mozambique, police say.

The police have also seized 14 poaching traps.

The police spokesperson in Manica province, Elsidia Filipe, said the poachers had set up a camp inside Coutada Nove, a conservation area between Macossa in Manica province and Gorongosa in Sofala.

Ms Filipe said the police caught two people transporting antelope and wild boar slaughtered in the reserve.

A third man was arrested selling meat at Macossa village.

The remaining two were caught setting traps inside the reserve.

Ms Filipe said that the arrests were the culmination of a joint operation by police and rangers in the conservation area.

Illegal hunters catch animals in Coutada Nove for animal parts and hunting trophies. The blood, fat, skin and claws of powerful animals are also used in traditional medicines.

'Virgin Mary warned us against UN data'

Madonna and Child with Flowers, otherwise known as the Benois Madonna (1478) by Leonardo da Vinci, on the wall in the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg.

A religious community from Burundi living in a UN refugee transit camp is refusing to move to another camp because it objects to biometric registration.

A spokesman for the UN's refugee agency (UNHCR) says emergency assistance to the group - food, water and sanitation - will be "phased out by the end of February", because it cannot provide support without being supplied biometric data - which includes fingerprints.

The religious group is led by a charismatic leader known as Euzebie Ngendakumana - a woman in her late 30s who says she has regular visions of the Virgin Mary.

One member of the group, Dionyse Nyandwi, told BBC Great Lakes what they had said to the UN's refugee agency when refusing biometric registration:

[Back] in 2000, the Virgin Mary warned that the time would come when people would be asked to use biometric registration. When it started, we remembered what [she] had said. She told us to check it up in the Bible."

Mr Nyandwi said the section of the Bible in question is the Book of Revelation, chapter 13, verse 16 which refers to "the mark of the beast":

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads."

The religious group, who moved to the Democratic Republic of Congo from Burundi, is currently living in a UN transit camp in South Kivu after protests they held last year were met with deadly violence from Congolese security forces.

At least 37 Burundian migrants were killed and another 117 were injured in the incident when they picketed a prison where their compatriots were being held pending deportation.

More than 400,000 people have fled Burundi since 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would seek a third term, sparking widespread violence.

Some 40,000 are living in the DRC, the UN Refugee Agency said last year.

Cameroon jails wife in place of husband

Leocadia Bongben

BBC Pidgin, Yaounde

Delphine Dzelafen
Delphine Dzelafen
Delphine Dzelafen was released last month

An English-speaking woman in Cameroon has told BBC Pidgin that she was jailed for three months instead of her husband when the military couldn't find him.

On 1 October, the military came in search of Delphine Dzelafen's husband.

"As I was about to go to bed, I heard a big knock on the door, I thought the door was going to break, I rushed to see, about 10 military men," she said.

"As I opened the door, they jumped in and started searching, asking, where is he, as they looked for my husband, Njilah Jones. They searched they whole compound, then arrested me."

She spent the night at Kumba police station and the next morning was blindfolded and taken to prison in Yaoundé.

Her family didn't know where she was until she was released on 5 December.

Barrister Agbor Balla Nkongho, founder of the Centre for Human Right and Democracy is documenting all the detainees connected with the Anglophone crisis.

He said unjustified detention is becoming more common:

“This is how many people find themselves in prison in connection with the Anglophone crisis when they have not committed any crime."

Authorities cracked down on months of protests in Cameroon where the English-speaking minority said they were being discriminated against by the French-speaking majority.

Nigerian state bans adoption to stop sale of children

Getty Images

Kaduna state in Nigeria has banned adoptions to stop people selling children, reports Nigeria's Punch newspaper.

"Some are being sold or trafficked, some are exposed to serious dangers - we even learnt that some of their organs are being sold," the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Hafsat Baba, was quoted as saying.

She said that there is a case in court at the moment in which a man is accused of buying a baby boy for 400,000 naira ($1,112; £800) and two baby girls for 350,000 naira.

Punch goes on to say that a regulatory framework for orphanages has been drafted and as soon as it is ratified the ban would be lifted.

Tunisia regain top African spot in Fifa rankings

Tunisia football team

Tunisia have replaced Senegal at the top of the Fifa rankings for Africa.

Here are the rankings now:

African rankings (global position in brackets):

  1. Tunisia (23)
  2. Senegal (24)
  3. Egypt (30)
  4. Morocco (39)
  5. DR Congo (43)
  6. Burkina Faso (44)
  7. Cameroon (45)
  8. Ghana (50)
  9. Nigeria (51)
  10. Algeria (57)

Read more on the BBC Sports website.

Cape Town slashes water use amid drought


The South African city of Cape Town will slash residents' water allowance to 50 litres a day from next month amid fears that it could become the world's first major city to run out of water.

The city had reached a "point of no return", Mayor Patricia de Lille said.

Ms De Lille warned that the city risked reaching "Day Zero" on 21 April, when taps in homes could run dry.

"We can no longer ask people to stop wasting water. We must force them," she said at a press conference.

"Despite our urging for months, 60% of Capetonians are callously using more than 87 litres per day," she added, referring to the current daily limit.

A person uses about 15 litres per minute for a typical shower and the same amount when flushing a standard toilet, according to WaterWise, a South African water usage awareness campaign.

Much of southern Africa has been recovering from a drought caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon, following heavy summer rains.

However, Cape Town is still gripped by the worst drought in a century and has had very low rainfall for the last three years.

Read more on the BBC News website.

Tunisia holds first ever LGBT film festival

Tunisia is holding its first ever LGBT film festival - The Mawjoudin Queer Film Festival.

It is hosted by a Tunisian non-governmental association which defends the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

One of the festival's organisers, Senda Ben Jebara, told BBC Focus on Africa's Audrey Brown how she hopes art can bring about change in a country where people from the LGBT community face prison terms of up to three years:

Tunisia holds its first ever LGBT film festival

Drogba plays down Weah comparisons

Didier Drogba speak to BBC Afrique

Ivory Coast football star Didier Drogba has congratulated Liberia's President-elect George Weah, but seemed to dismiss suggestions that he would follow in the ex-footballer's footsteps and run for office.

In an interview with BBC Afrique, Drogba said:

It's not necessarily the case that all footballers will [now] want to become president. George [Weah] has opened the way for him to make an impact in his own way, and others can make an impact on their communities in other ways.

I think I'll do it in my own way. But he has long been a role model of mine."

He praised Mr Weah, a former international football star and the only African player ever to win the Ballon d'Or, for showing that "with hard work and perseverance you can achieve your goals and dreams for the good of the community".

Mr Weah is due to be sworn in as Liberia's president on Monday.

Kenyan doctor wants FGM legalised

FGM picture
Getty Images
Female genital mutilation is also called female circumcision

A Kenyan doctor has filed a High Court petition for female genital mutilation (FGM) to be legalised.

Dr Tatu Kamau told the Daily Nation that adult women should be allowed to choose what they do with their own bodies:

Much as we want to protect the girl, there are many women who have been harassed and jailed in the last three years. Once you reach adulthood there is no reason why you should not make that decision."

KBC adds that Dr Kamau said in court yesterday that this is not about underage girls, but the "campaign is only meant to safeguard the dignity and rights of the woman":

While filing my petition I didn’t have the girl child in mind but only wanted to touch on the issues of adult women."

The Daily Nation reports she told journalists outside the court that legalising the procedure, where parts of the vagina are removed, would make it safer:

Female circumcision is practised differently from one community to another, but it can be made safe. It is a minor surgical procedure that does not require anaesthesia or being put into a theatre."

The Standard reports that in 2011 a new law made it illegal to conduct FGM, with a punishment from three years to lifetime imprisonment.

Nigeria 'searches for kidnapped North Americans'

A map showing the location of Jere in Kaduna State, Nigeria

Nigeria's armed forces have joined the search for two Americans and two Canadians on a business trip who were kidnapped in an ambush, AFP news agency quotes a military source as saying.

The four were kidnapped on Tuesday evening near Jere in northern Kaduna state, the news agency adds, after their abductors shot dead two of their Nigerian police escorts.

It quotes the military source as saying:

We are on it and making some progress. We have a special team now that arrived from Abuja, they have now joined with the team that are here."

The US and Canadian foreign ministries have both told AFP that they are aware of the kidnapping and are working with Nigerian authorities on recovering the hostages.

Kidnapping has been more common in the south of the country, where high-profile individuals, including the families of prominent politicians, are frequently abducted. Analysts say the trend is moving north partly because the economy has stalled in recent years.

Nurse gives homeless addict school friend a shop

A Kenyan nurse, whose appeal to help her childhood friend to get off drugs went viral, says she has bought him a shop for him to manage when he gets out of rehab:

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Wanja Mwaura was working with a market near Kenya's capital Nairobi when she heard her name being called.

She looked up and was surprised to see a tall man with bulging eyes, an emaciated frame, dirtied black overalls and an equally stained thick woollen hat, sitting on the side of the road. She did not recognise him.

But when Patrick "Hinga" Wanjiru introduced himself, Wanja says she found herself in shock. Standing before her was a friend she had known since she was seven years old.

Wanja Mwaura and Patrick "Hinga" Wanjiru
Wanja Mwaura

He said he was desperate to get off drugs and she put a request out on the internet for help to send him to rehab.

Over 50,000 people shared this post:

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She says in her Facebook post that he is due to come out of rehab on 28 January.

Wanja Mwaura and Patrick "Hinga" Wanjiru
Wanja Mwaura

But she has also managed to raise more money - to pay for a house and a shop.

She says he used to be a hawker - sometimes called mali mali in Kenya - so the shop will allow him to continue doing that.

Read more: I met a homeless addict and recognised my childhood friend

Lassa fever outbreak forces schools to close

Schools in Nigeria's south-eastern Ebonyi state have been told to shut for a week to halt the spread of Lassa fever.

BBC Pidgin reports that the schools will be closed until 26 January.

The decision comes days after the death of two doctors and a nurse from the virus.

A Mastomys rat
Lassa virus is carried by the Mastomys rat

Symptoms of Lassa fever can include fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, headaches, abdominal pains, sore throat and facial swelling.

The virus is passed to people who eat infected rats, or if food is contaminated by rat droppings or urine. It can also be transmitted through contact with body fluids of an infected person.

UK expected to send air force to Mali

Chinook in Afghanistan
Chinook helicopters have been used in Afghanistan

The British prime minister is set to promise to send military helicopters to a French counter-terrorism operation in Mali, reports AFP news agency.

The announcement is expected at a UK-France summit later today.

The three RAF (Royal Air Force) Chinook helicopters would give logistical support to French troops fighting Islamist militants.

It is part of broader counter-terrorism and military efforts there by the UN, the EU and the African Union.

"Recent terrorist attacks across Europe underline the scale of the cross-border challenge we face in keeping our citizens safe," the UK government spokesman told AFP.

Britain is also expected to promise $69m (£50m) in additional aid for those affected by epidemics, natural disasters and conflict across Mali, Niger, Chad, North Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

SA pupils to move after Afrikaans dispute

Dozens of English-speaking schoolchildren at the centre of a language dispute in South Africa are to move to another school while local authorities appeal a court ruling.

Hoërskool Overvaal (Overvaal high school), in the north-eastern Gauteng province, had been ordered by local authorities to take in a group of local students and teach them in English.

But the school insisted it would only teach in Afrikaans - and a court has supported it - leading to protests outside the school's gates yesterday, as described to BBC Newsday:

Protests erupt outside a South African school over whether it should teach in English

A spokesman for Gauteng's education department, Panyaza Lesufi, is quoted in local media as saying he’s pleased that the parents of 55 English-speaking pupils at Hoërskool Overvaal have agreed for them to be admitted at nearby Riverside High School.

Mr Lesufi confirmed that his department is still pursuing its appeal against the High Court ruling in the meantime.

Zimbabwe elections ‘within five months’

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa gives his remarks during his state visit to Mozambique on January 17, 2018 in Maputo.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said peaceful elections are critical to reposition Zimbabwe as a democratic country

Zimbabwe will hold elections in four to five months, President Emmerson Mnangagwa is reported in the state-owned Herald as saying.

It will be the first vote since independence in 1980 that Robert Mugabe does not participate in, after he was forced to resign as president last November after a military takeover.

President Mnangagwa – who had served as Mr Mugabe’s deputy – replaced the longtime leader as head of the governing Zanu-PF.

Speaking during an official trip to Mozambique, President Mnangagwa is quoted as saying:

We will ensure that Zimbabwe delivers free, credible, fair and indisputable elections to ensure Zimbabwe engages the world as a qualified democratic state.”

Mr Mnangagwa also said "we need to have peace, peace, peace". Since independence, Zimbabwean elections have been marred by vote rigging, intimidation and violent suppression of the opposition.

According to the constitution, Zimbabwe "should hold elections between 22 July and 22 August but parliament can elect to dissolve itself, triggering an early vote", Reuters news agency reports.

The governing Zanu-PF party currently has a two-thirds majority in parliament.

Analysts say the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, has been weakened and divided by the ill health of its leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is receiving treatment for colon cancer.

Magufuli cracks down on parents paying schools

A school pupil sitting a desk concentrates on his work
Getty Images

Tanzanian President John Magufuli has spoken against parents giving contributions to public primary schools insisting that the government provide free education, reports the independent Citizen newspaper.

Free government primary education was introduced in 2002 and in 2015 the education ministry banned state schools from seeking contributions from parents.

But state schools have been known in the past to request contributions from parents of about $100 (£72) a year, which many cannot afford.

Good morning

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