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  1. French-speaking Africa pays tribute to Johnny Hallyday
  2. Condom dress creates a stir in DR Congo
  3. DR Congo unrest forcing millions to flee - 'outpacing Syria, Yemen and Iraq'
  4. Zimbabwe's new president spots spelling error on plaque
  5. Skeleton of Little Foot, an ancient human ancestor, unveiled
  6. Mysterious deaths at Ghana college in Ashanti region
  7. Uganda begins withdrawing peacekeepers from Somalia
  8. Cameroon village exodus after offensive against secessionists
  9. Zanzibar-born artist wins prestigious Turner Prize
  10. Aids-related teen deaths rise in West and Central Africa

Live Reporting

By Flora Drury and Lucy Fleming

All times stated are UK

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  1. Scroll down for Wednesday'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:

    Quote Message: We will only thank the flowers after we have eaten the fruits." from A Shona proverb from Zimbabwe sent by Coline Tavengwa in Pretoria, South Africa
    A Shona proverb from Zimbabwe sent by Coline Tavengwa in Pretoria, South Africa

    Click here to send us your African proverbs

    And we leave you with this photo of Queen Elizabeth II in the UK meeting the High Commissioner for Nigeria, George Adesola Oguntade - a fantastic fashion-fest.

    View more on twitter
  2. DR Congo: 'Mega-crisis' exaggerated

    Lambert Mende, information minister in the Democratic Republic of Congo, disputes a figure released by aid agencies that 1.7 million people have fled their homes this year because of conflict.

    The displacement has been described as a "mega-crisis" that is worse than the situation in the Middle East.

    The minister told the BBC's Focus on Africa radio programme that people were returning home - but help was desperately needed to help them:

    Video content

    Video caption: The DR Congo government disputes that more than one million people have fled their homes
  3. Bye-bye to Mercedes for Mozambican officials

    Jose Tembe

    BBC Africa, Maputo

    A Mercedes S 500 car
    Image caption: The Mercedes S500 wass reportedly one of the vehicles that has been bought last month

    Mozambique’s government is cutting down on the perks of office – so driving a Mercedes-Benz and getting free housing will be things of the past for high-ranking officials.

    Finance Minister Adriano Malaeiane said the aim was to save $120m (£90m) next year.

    His announcement comes a month after the government came under fire for buying 45 cars at an estimate cost of $2m (£1.5m) at a time of austerity.

    After a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Mr Maleiane said:

    Quote Message: Due to the difficulties the state is facing to make housing available for high ranking governmental officials, it had resorted to renting. This has brought about enormous costs to the state. So, the measure now is to set an average ceiling, first to enforce discipline and secondly to save."

    For cars, only vehicles with between 1,300cc and 1,500cc engines would be allowed – this is much smaller than the Mercedes S500’s estimated 2,999cc engine, which was reportedly among those bought last month.

    The minister added:

    Quote Message: We are also going to put an end to the long-standing scandal of buying cars with the sole purpose of selling them at a discount to officials for their personal use.
    Quote Message: Instead when an official takes office he will be granted an allowance to spend on whatever he likes, provided that it is acceptable to the society.
    Quote Message: The fuel and communications costs have also been a heavy burden to the state. Therefore, we have now decided on maximum expenditure limits."
  4. Condom dress creates a stir in DR Congo

    Poly Muzalia

    BBC Africa, Kinshasa

    A woman poses in a dress made of condoms
    Image caption: Would you wear this dress?

    Here in the Democratic Republic of Congo, there's a lot of talk around a dress.

    From a distance, it looks ordinary. But when you get close, you see that it is made of condoms stuck one on top of the other. Some are open, others are in their packets.

    But the creations aren't for sale.

    Designer Felicite Luwungu says she just wanted to get people talking.

    She told the BBC:

    Quote Message: I lost a few members of my family to HIV. I also wanted to do my bit to highlight the need to protect ourselves from sexually transmitted diseases and HIV."

    DR Congo is conservative and anything linked to sex is considered taboo.

    The designer insists that as long as it remains so it will be hard to explain to people about the importance of safe sex.

    But Freddy, a student in the capital, Kinshasa, thinks she may have gone too far.

    Quote Message: If someone wears something like this in public or in places where there are children... people will be really shocked. It would be better to find another way to inform people."
    Three women pose in different designs made of condoms
    Image caption: The dresses are meant to draw attention to HIV-prevention

    Ms Luwungu does not need to worry about her critics though.

    If she needs to get some support, she need look no further than friends and family.

    Her sister Benie told the BBC:

    Quote Message: My first reaction was 'I want to see this'. Because it's original. She came up with the idea herself. I really like what she's done by mixing all these condoms like she has done. It is magnificent."
  5. 2017's 'most influential Africans' revealed

    Edward Enninful (C) poses his insignia after being appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) with Baroness Amos (L) and British model Naomi Campbell (R
    Image caption: Ghanaian-born Edward Enninful (C) was made an OBE in the UK last year, and is now editor of British Vogue

    The New African Magazine has unveiled its list of this year's most influential people - including a deaf-blind activist, the editor of the world's most famous fashion bible and an Academy Award-nominated actress.

    Haben Girma, a US citizen with an Eritrean mother and Ethiopian father who was Harvard's first deaf-blind graduate, Ghanaian-born Edward Enninful, the new editor of British Vogue, and Irish-Ethiopian actress Ruth Negga are joined by 97 others excelling in eight different categories.

    Nigerians dominate the list, with 21 entries - although President Muhammadu Buhari fails to make the grade, passed over in favour of his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo.

    In fact, only three elected African leaders are on this year's list: Guinea's Alpha Conde, Ghana's Nana Akufo-Addo and Rwanda's Paul Kagame.

    The New African Magazine editor Anver Versi said:

    Quote Message: Our criteria for 'influential' this year was a fairly simple one – it is applied to people whose work or activity has had some sort of transformative effect outside their main calling. This effect results in a change of perception or provides inspiration to others.
    Quote Message: Many in our selection have shattered the proverbial glass-ceilings or disability stigma and do so with great bravery, determination and personal sacrifice. Others yield economic power that impacts world markets."

    The full list of Most Influential Africans of 2017 can be accessed here

  6. Five things we know about Little Foot

    The Little Foot fossilised hominid skeleton is unveiled for the first time to the public at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg on December 6, 2017.

    The eyes of the world have all turned to look at one woman today.

    And no, it is not a celebrity engaged in a social media spat, or an actress marrying a prince.

    The woman everyone is looking at is slightly older than them all - by a good few million years.

    Little Foot is a skeleton found in Sterkfontein, north-west of Johannesburg, South Africa, in the 1990s.

    Scientists finally unveiled her today - but what do we know about South Africa's oldest resident? Here are five things.

    1. She was about 30 when she died - which seems like a good age for someone born more than three million years ago
    2. But it doesn't seem like she died of natural causes. According to the Professor Ron Clarke, who found her, she might have fallen down a 10m (33 ft) hole
    3. Her name is not a reference to the beloved children's film, The Land Before Time, whose hero is called Littlefoot, but a joke linked to another well-known "Foot", Big Foot, the Mail&Guardian reports
    4. South African scientists believe the remains are 3.67 million years old, meaning Little Foot was alive around 500,000 years before Lucy, the famous skeleton of an ancient human relative found in Ethiopia
    5. Little Foot and Lucy belong to the same genus - Australopithecus - but they are different species.

    You can read more about Little Foot here.

  7. The widows' club fighting sexual 'cleansing'

    Video content

    Video caption: Kenya widows fight sexual 'cleansing' practise

    Women in western Kenya are fighting back against "widow-cleansing", a traditional ritual practiced by Luo ethnic communities in some of the poorer, more rural areas of the country.

    The ritual requires women to have sex - often with strangers - when their husbands die.

    The men who "cleanse" them are sometimes HIV-positive and do not use protection.

    Pamela, a 50-year-old mother and grandmother, tells her story - and the story of the Kenyan widows' club trying to end the practice once and for all.

    Video shot and produced by Theopi Skarlatos

  8. South Africa 'worried' by US's Jerusalem move

    Milton Nkosi

    BBC Africa, Johannesburg

    Palestinians burn posters depicting U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a protest against the U.S. intention to move its embassy to Jerusalem
    Image caption: Palestinians in Gaza burn pictures of Donald Trump in protest against the expected announcement

    South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) says it is “worried” about potential US plans to move its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

    The US President Donald Trump is expected to confirm the decision in a speech later, but it has already been dubbed a "kiss of death" for the Middle East peace process by the Palestinians.

    In many parts of the world, there are concerns that the move - promised by Mr Trump during his presidential campaign - will make it difficult for the US to be seen as a neutral mediator.

    Ahead of Mr Trump's speech, the ANC’s sub-committee on international relations told a media briefing that it continues to support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    However, the ANC is concerned about the possible fall-out from such a decision.

    Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba, who spoke on behalf of committee, said:

    Quote Message: “Well it’s a difficult one because... it’s their own decision and we continue monitoring the impact thereof... Obviously we are concerned to say what are the ulterior motives? We are really watching that space and we are worried.”

    The ANC also reiterated its “support for the people of Palestine in their struggle for self-determination”.

  9. Nigerians plan protest to #EndSars

    View more on twitter

    Nigerians are planning to take to the streets to ensure the police special anti-robbery squad (Sars) is disbanded after an outcry over alleged police brutality.

    This is despite the Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris's promised reform of Sars.

    Deji Adeyanju, of Concerned Nigerians organisation, explained to the BBC:

    Quote Message: This is not the first time the inspector general would give an order which they refuse to carry out. At the inception of this government, the IG ordered that all police road blocks be removed from our roads, but the road blocks remained, so we don’t trust the police to keep their words."

    The group is calling for a complete overhaul of the police force, to be replaced by a more civil elite force which citizens can trust.

    View more on twitter

    Read more about the #EndSars campaign here.

  10. French-speaking Africa pays tribute to Hallyday

    Alex Duval Smith

    BBC Africa, Dakar

    French singer Johnny Hallyday performing at the Olympia in Paris in 1964
    Image caption: Johnny Hallyday rose to fame in the 1960s (pictured in Paris in 1964)

    The legendary French singer Johnny Hallyday, who has died of lung cancer at the age of 74, was famously beloved in his home country, but almost unknown anywhere else.

    But that may not be entirely true: People across French-speaking Africa have been sharing their memory of the man known as France's Elvis.

    Ivorian television host Didier Bleou writes on his Facebook page that Hallyday was ‘’a hero, a performer who set alight the stage’’, while bestselling author Isaie Biton Koulibaly remembers meeting Hallyday in Ivory Coast and calls him ‘’the only real and true French star ever’’.

    Koulibaly writes that the French singer had a huge influence on a whole generation of African performers, such as Ivorian reggae singer Alpha Blondy.

    Hallyday’s songs – mainly rock’n roll hits translated into French – marked their first exposure to the pop sounds of the 1960s and 1970s.

    "That part of our teens, when we were hungry for Western influence, has gone,’’ says Koulibaly.

    French singer Johnny Hallyday (L) is seen with Senegalese singer Youssou Ndour (C) and Sindyeli Wade (R), daughter of Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade, 14 January 2002 in Dakar, Senegal
    Image caption: Hallyday (L) with fellow singer Youssou Ndour (C) and Sindyeli Wade (R), daughter of Senegal's former President Abdoulaye Wade, in Dakar in 2002

    Hallyday, who sold more than 100 million records worldwide, was a lover of the fast life.

    In 2002 he took part in the Paris-Dakar car rally. He also performed many times on the continent, including on a major tour in May 1968 which took him to Kinshasa, Dakar, Abidjan, Niamey, Ouagadougou, Yaounde and Fort-Lamy (now the Chadian capital N'Djamena).

    However, his visit to Cameroon was cut short by a diplomatic incident which led to him being expelled and cancelling his concert.

    According to a French diplomatic cable at the time, the star arrived drunk at the Hotel Independance in Yaounde and punched the Central African Republic’s visiting minister for public administration.

    Later, Hallyday told the French news agency, AFP: ‘’That guy said terrible things about us, including that we had long hair. I protested. He grabbed my polo shirt and ripped it.’’

    Read all about France's Elvis here.

  11. Ellie Goulding: Giraffes make me feel small

    Video content

    Video caption: Singer Ellie Goulding up close and personal with African wildlife

    UK singer Ellie Goulding has been getting up close and personal with African wildlife in Kenya, as part of her new role as UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador.

    The multi-award-winning singer is backing a number of initiatives aimed at fighting air pollution and ending plastic waste in oceans.

  12. Zimbabwe president spots typo

    As Zimbabwe's new President Emmerson Mnangagwa attended the official renaming of the country's main army barracks in the capital, Harare, today - he spotted a spelling error.

    The Twitter account which monitors Zimbabwe's media tweeted a video of the moment:

    View more on twitter

    Can you spot the typo in the picture below?

    View more on twitter

    The state-run Herald paper, which has been live blogging the event, says all barracks nationwide are being named after national heroes.

    Harare's King George VI Barracks will change to Josiah Tongogara, the guerrilla commander who led forces during the liberation struggle and died in a car crash just before independence in 1980.

    The army was instrumental in the momentous events last month that led Robert Mugabe, who had ruled the country since 1980, to resign as president.

  13. Uganda begins Somalia troop withdrawal

    Catherine Byaruhanga

    BBC Africa, Kampala

    Ugandan soldiers in Barawe, Somalia - 2016
    Image caption: More than 6,000 Uganda soldiers are serving in the AU force in Somalia

    Uganda’s military says it has begun the withdrawal of 281 troops serving in the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia.

    This is part of a UN plan that will see African Union (AU) soldiers’ numbers reduced by 1,000 by the end of this year.

    At the moment there are more than 20,000 soldiers serving in the AU mission (Amisom).

    Uganda, which first sent troops to the country in 2007, is the biggest contributor with more than 6,000 soldiers in the force.

    Kenya, Burundi, Djibouti and Ethiopia are also expected to reduce their numbers by 31 December.

    Pulling out 1,000 soldiers will not be immediately significant but it shows the international backers of Amisom want to see a handover of security to Somali soldiers and police.

    African countries have been praised for bringing increased stability to Somalia but there is frustration about corruption among their forces and the failure to secure an adequate victory.

    Efforts to develop Somalia’s national army are gaining ground.

    The US has already increased its troop numbers in the country to more than 500 and stepped up airstrikes – boosting its co-operation with the Somali military.

    But defeating the militant Islamist al-Shabab group will not be easy.

    A massive bomb attack blamed on the al-Qaeda-affiliated militants killed more than 500 people in the capital, Mogadishu, two months ago - the deadliest in its campaign against various UN-backed governments.

  14. Fed up of Lagos traffic? Take a boat

    - Public transport minibuses painted in bright yellow colour popularly called 'Danfo' barricade the roads in search of passengers and causing traffic gridlock at Idumota in Lagos on May 10, 2017
    Image caption: Lagos' congestion is legendary

    Everyone knows traffic in Nigeria's main city of Lagos is terrible, so what do you do about it?

    Well, if you're smart, you get out the car and into a boat, say these (very happy looking) Lagos residents.

    Indeed, Idris Anjorin believes the decision to get off the road and on to the water was a major milestone in his life after years of being late for work.

    He told news agency AFP:

    Quote Message: I wasn't happy I came late again. A co-worker who noticed my mood advised me to try a boat ride. The next day, I arrived at Bayeku jetty at 06:00 and within an hour I had made it to the office. That was a turning point in my life."
    A woman boards a boat tied to an old jetty
    Image caption: The boats still need some investment

    Now Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is hoping to change more lives by getting two million people on to the water every day.

    However, first he needs to improve safety, reduce boat running costs and improve the infrastructure.

    Until he has done that, we leave you with the happy face of one commuter who has already made the switch:

    A man on a boat smiles for the camera
    Image caption: Taking the boat can save hours every day
  15. Kenya's Odinga 'told to call-off swearing-in'

    Raila Odinga
    Image caption: Raila Odinga has been nicknamed Agwambo (act of god) by supporters

    The US has asked Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga to call off his plans to unofficially swear himself as president next week, the East African country’s Daily Nations newspaper reports.

    Mr Odinga boycotted October’s repeat presidential election and has said he does not recognise Uhuru Kenyatta's victory.

    Mr Kenyatta was officially re-elected with 98% of the vote on 26 October but just under 39% of voters turned out.

    The original election on 8 August was held again after being annulled by the Supreme Court on grounds of irregularities.

    Mr Odinga has said his swearing-in ceremony will take place next Tuesday, which is a public holiday - Jamhuri Day - to mark Kenya's 54th year of independence from the UK.

    US envoy Donald Yamamoto met Mr Odinga during a visit to Kenya on Tuesday, the Daily Nation says.

    The Kenyan politician was told that if went ahead with his plans, it would only serve to further polarise the country.

    A source who attended the meeting told the paper that in return the envoy undertook to bring President Kenyatta’s party into negotiations with the opposition.

    Read more: Raila Odinga - the man Kenyans either love or hate

  16. Happiness Commissioner told to start with toilets

    The unveiling of Nigeria's first-ever "Happiness Commissioner" got everyone talking yesterday - but it seems it is still a hot topic today.

    Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha decided his sister Ogechi Ololo would be perfect for the role - the purpose of which has left residents bemused.

    However, Nigerian blogger Chinedu Ekeke has a good idea where Mrs Ololo should start in order to bring joy to Imo State.

    He told the BBC's Newsday programme:

    Quote Message: I’ve been to that place [Imo State], I was there last month. I had to talk with people I visited a market which was built by this same governor and there was no toilet in the market.
    Quote Message: You go there you see the traders in the market don’t have toilets. You want to ask the person in this market: Is he happy?
    Quote Message: It is essential, but if the government who wants to build a market for you, for God’s sake, why wouldn’t there be a toilet?"

    You can listen to Mrs Ololo's explanation of what her role entails below - or read our story from yesterday here.

    View more on twitter
  17. Kenya anger at noisy neighbour's helicopter

    Residents in an upmarket suburb of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, are unhappy about a noisy neighbour - with a helicopter, according to NTV Kenya.

    They accuse well-known businessman and politician Steve Mbogo of frequently using his helicopter at unsocial hours - early in the morning and very late at night – which they say wakes them up.

    An association of Karen suburb residents has written to the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) about the “disruptions and disturbance” – a copy of the letter has been tweeted by a blogger:

    View more on twitter

    In response, Mr Mbogo has tweeted that finding jobs and alleviating suffering are the "noises" he wants to sort out first:

    View more on twitter
  18. Little Foot skeleton unveiled to the world

    The BBC's Sophie Ribstein in Johannesburg has just captured the unveiling of Little Foot - one of the world’s oldest and most complete skeletons of our ancient ancestors - in South Africa:

    Little Foot being unveiled

    Prof Ron Clarke (C) explained to those gathered the significance of the finding:

    Little Foot being unveiled

    A journalist at the unveiling says the academic said it was like "excavating a pie with flaky pastry out of concrete":

    View more on twitter

    Read our earlier post for details of how the skeleton was uncovered.

  19. Mysterious deaths at Ghana college

    Parents have reportedly stormed the gates of a college in central Ghana after the mysterious deaths of four students.

    Another 18 students at the Kumasi Academy, in Ashanti region, are receiving treatment - with the local health authority appealing to the World Health Organization (WHO) for help containing the outbreak.

    The BBC's Muhammad Fahd Adam in the capital, Accra, says it was chaos at the gates on Tuesday as parents desperately tried to remove their children from the school.

    However, the school is due to remain open until Friday, Dr Emmanuel, the Kumasi regional health director, said.

    This is so the students and teachers can be screened before being sent home.

    He explained to Ghana's Citi News:

    Quote Message: The reason why we don’t want to close the school now is that, we don’t want a situation whereby if the disease is infectious and some students have already got the infection, they are going to infect their whole family with it. That will be a serious risk."
  20. Aids-related teen deaths rise in West Africa

    The number of 15 to 19-year-olds dying of Aids-related illnesses in Central and West Africa has risen by 35% in just six years, the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) says.

    There are fears the number could remain high as the youth population grows - especially as four in five children infected with HIV in the region are still not receiving the life-saving treatment they need.

    West and Central Africa is home to 25% of children living with HIV worldwide, but has limited capacity to diagnose the virus - meaning parents are not seeking the treatment their child needs.

    Marie-Pierre Poirier, the region's Unicef director, has called for improved early diagnosis as as well as access to treatment.

    She said:

    Quote Message: It is tragic that so many children and adolescents today are not receiving the treatment they need just because they have not been tested.”