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Summary

  1. Farmer threatens to sue tech giant over "fallen balloon" in Kenya
  2. Singers jailed for raping girls thank Tanzania's leader for pardoning them
  3. Israel offers cash to migrants to leave
  4. Mauritania knocks a zero off currency
  5. Kenya's leading betting firm cancels all local sports sponsorship
  6. Uganda's president approves law which allows him to seek re-election
  7. Nigeria gunmen kill 16 on New Year's Day
  8. Top Egypt cleric rules that trading in Bitcoin is un-Islamic
  9. Egypt hangs prisoners
  10. Two killed climbing Table Mountain

Live Reporting

By Clare Spencer and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

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  1. 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 checking the BBC News website.

    A reminder of today's wise words:

    Quote Message: When the snail travels abroad, it finds shelter with the tortoise." from An Ewe proverb sent by Yao Kutsey in New Abirem, Ghana
    An Ewe proverb sent by Yao Kutsey in New Abirem, Ghana

    Click here to send us your African proverbs.

    And we leave you with this picture of a dance-off in Kaberamaido in eastern Uganda.

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  2. Two held in Egypt anti-gay crackdown 'freed'

    Two people detained in Egypt in October after allegedly waving a rainbow flag have been freed on bail, a lawyer representing them and a human rights NGO told Reuters news agency.

    Sarah Hegazy, 28, and Ahmed Alaa, 21, were released and fined 2,000 Egyptian pounds ($113; £83) each, lawyer Amr Mohamed said.

    Rainbow flags, a symbol of same-sex rights, were raised at a concert in September for a Lebanese alternative rock band whose lead singer is openly gay.

    The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) said that at least 75 people had been arrested at the time of the incident.

    Only 10 of the arrests are believed to have been related to the flag-raising. Most of the others were entrapped through online dating apps, according to EIPR.

    Flag at concert
  3. Freed rapists 'sing for Tanzania's leader'

    John Magufuli
    Image caption: John Magufuli pardoned 61 prisoners in his Independence Day speech

    Tanzania's President John Magufuli has met two musicians whom he pardoned about three weeks ago, despite the fact that they were serving life prison sentences for raping 10 primary schoolgirls in 2003.

    Nguza Viking, known as Babu Seya, and his son Johnson Nguza, known as Papii Kocha, thanked Mr Magufuli for pardoning them, and sang for him during their visit to State House, Tanzania's The Citizen newspaper reported.

    It quoted Mr Magufuli as saying:

    Quote Message: You shouldn't thank me. Rather you should thank God, who is the only one with the power to forgive."

    Children's rights activists have condemned the pardon of Viking and Nguza.

    They had served 13 years of their sentence when they were released for raping the 10 girls, aged between six and eight years.

    The two were among 61 prisoners pardoned by the president in his Independence Day speech.

  4. A zero knocked off Mauritania's currency

    Mauritanian currency traders are seeing a surge in demand for euros and dollars as the government knocked a zero off the currency, the ouguiya, yesterday, reports AFP news agency.

    The new polymer notes were available from 1 January, with 10 ouguiyas becoming one ouguiya.

    View more on twitter

    AFP says the change prompted Mauritanians to haul out stashes of old banknotes, and convert them into dollars and euros.

    Since the change was announced on 28 November, "business has gone up five-fold," a currency trader told AFP.

    In one week, the value of the dollar and euro rose by around 3.5%, a currency trader in the central market told AFP.

    "People hoarded ouguiyas. Now they are having to get rid of it, so they are buying foreign currency and keeping it in their strongbox at home."

    President Ould Abdel Aziz said in November that the change would "protect the public's purchasing power".

    The price of staples had been increasing for several months prior to the announcement.

    Thai rice has risen by 16%, milk by 20% and construction basics such as cement and steel bars by between 10-12 %, reports AFP.

    Old banknotes are being withdrawn over the next six months.

  5. Museveni approves law abolishing presidential age limits

    Patience Atuhaire

    BBC Africa, Kampala

    President Yoweri Museveni
    Image caption: President Yoweri Museveni has led Uganda for more than 30 years

    Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has approved a controversial law which abolishes presidential age limits - a move which the opposition says is intended to pave the way for him to seek an unprecedented sixth term.

    Parliament passed the law last month by an overwhelming majority, following rowdy debates which led to brawls among MPs.

    Mr Museveni's press secretary, Linda Nabusayi, has confirmed that he signed the changes into law.

    It removes the age limit of 75 for presidential candidates, meaning that Mr Museveni, 73, can run for office again in 2021.

    It also scrapped the minimum age of 35 for candidates.

    Furthermore, the amendments, passed on 20 December, extended parliamentary terms from 5 years to 7.

  6. Nigeria's women line up France friendly

    Oluwashina Okeleji

    BBC Sport

    Nigeria Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick
    Image caption: Nigeria Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick says the country's women team will have a new coach soon

    Despite not having a coach at the moment Nigeria's women's football team will play France in a friendly on 4 April in Paris.

    The African Champions are still searching for a coach after American randy Waldrum rejected the opportunity to lead the team last month.

    April's match for the Super Falcons will be their first since winning the Women's Africa Cup of Nations in December 2016.

    It should prove a good test for the Super Falcons after france beat Ghana 8-0 in an October friendly.

    Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Pinnick said the NFF will announce a permanent manager in a "few weeks" to succeed Florence Omagbemi in the role.

    He said:

    Quote Message: It is unfortunate that the coach [Randy Waldrum] we had contacted and approved for the Super Falcons' job opted for something else before the contract was signed, but that is water under the bridge and we have moved on.
    Quote Message: In a few weeks, we will unveil a highly qualified Coach for the team and we will then take it from there."

    Read the full BBC Sport story here

  7. Militants attack Kenyan security officers

    Bashkas Jugsodaay

    BBC News, Nairobi

    A police reservist is feared dead after militant Islamist group al-Shabab attacked security officers on patrol in north-eastern Kenya's Mandera county, Deputy County Commissioner Daniel Bundotich has said.

  8. Moteab moves in World Cup bid

    Egyptian striker Emad Moteab
    Image caption: Emad Moteab has scored 26 goals in 68 appearances for Egypt

    Egyptian striker Emad Moteab has secured a six-month loan move to Saudi Arabia's Al Tawoon from Egyptian club Al Ahly.

    The 34-year-old has been on the bench a lot this season.

    Moteab wants to play at the World Cup for Egypt and he "can't do that if he is on the Ahly bench", his agent Nader Shawky told BBC Sport.

    Read more on the BBC Sport website.

  9. Boko Haram leader releases new video

    Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has released a video, saying the militant group was behind a series of attacks in north-eastern Nigeria during the festive season.

    The video comes after President Muhammdu Buhari said in his New Year's Day message that the militant group had been "beaten", and it carried out only "isolated attacks".

    This screen grab image taken on January 2, 2018 from a video released on January 2, 2018 by Islamist group Boko Haram shows Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau
    Image caption: Abubakar Shekau has survived numerous attempts to kill or capture him

    In the 30-minute video, Shekau said "we are in good health" and the security forces "can’t do anything against us".

    The video showed footage from a Christmas Day attack on a military checkpoint in Molai village on the outskirts of Maiduguri, the main city in north-eastern Nigeria.

    Read: Chronicling a Boko Haram kidnapping

  10. Kenya farmer 'to sue Google' over fallen balloon

    A farmer in Meru town in eastern Kenya has threatened to sue Google after its balloon fell from the sky onto his land, reports Kenyan news site The Citizen.

    Joseph Kobia from Kalamene village told Tuko news site that the huge balloon, which fell on Friday night, destroyed his crops.

    View more on twitter

    Google uses a network of huge balloons to beam down internet connectivity in rural areas. The balloons float in the stratosphere around 18km (11 miles) high but the tech giant has struggled to keep the balloons in the sky.

    A fallen balloon shocked residents in the Amazon, Brazil, in March last year, reports the UK's Daily Mail.

    In the same month, farmers in Colombia mistook a falling Google balloon as a UFO.

    In February Google announced it will start using machine learning to predict weather systems and increase the reliability of the balloons.

    Read more: Google hails net balloon ‘breakthrough’

  11. Drones to find flood victims in Mozambique

    Jose Tembe

    BBC Africa, Maputo

    Mozambique’s national relief agency is experimenting with using drones for natural disasters.

    The drones in the central province of Sofala can fly over flooded areas, recording accurate images of the situation, capturing aerial images at various angles and producing a map.

    It will take the drone 13 minutes to assess the situation over a 400-metre area. Previously it took two to three weeks to collect the data and many more months to process it.

    A technician from Mozambique’s National Operation Emergency Centre, Antonio Jose Beleza, told me he will be able to use the drone images to assess who to evacuate first during floods.

    An aerial photo taken 24 February 2000 Chinhacanine, some 200 km north-west of Maputo.
    Image caption: Mozambique's deadliest floods were in 2000 when an estimated 800 people were killed
  12. Man 'charged for Coptic church attack'

    Egypt's public prosecutor has filed murder charges against a man accused of attacking a Coptic church in Cairo last week, judicial sources told Reuters news agency.

    He is accused of killing 11 people, the source added.

    "He is accused of premeditated murder, attempted murder, possession of an unlicensed weapon and using it for terrorist activity," the judicial source said.

    According to the interior ministry, the first attack on Friday took place at a household appliances shop. Then the attacker headed to the Saint Mina Coptic church.

    A man fingers bullet holes in a wall outside Mar Mina church following an attack on the church in the district of Helwan, south-eastern Cairo, Egypt, 29 December 2017

    The so-called Islamic State (IS) has claimed its fighters carried out the church attack.

    More than 100 Christians have been killed in Egypt in the past year, with most attacks claimed by the local branch of IS.

  13. Egypt 'executions over bombing'

    Egypt has hanged five prisoners who were sentenced to death, security sources have been quoted by AFP news agency as saying.

    Four of those executed had been sentenced by a military court over a bombing that killed three military cadets at a stadium north of the capital, Cairo, in 2015, AFP reported.

    The fifth person was hanged over a criminal matter, the sources said - without giving further details.

  14. Internet ban 'lifted in DR Congo'

    BBC Monitoring reports that the internet and text messaging has been unblocked in the Democratic Republic of Congo:

    View more on twitter

    The internet and SMS text services were shut down on Saturday for reasons related to state security, telecommunications minister Emery Okundji told Reuters news agency.

    It was ahead of protests calling for President Joseph Kabila to stand down.

    Security forces killed at least seven people during the protest on Sunday, UN peacekeepers said.

    Read more: How African governments block social media

  15. South Sudan told to stop violating ceasefire

    The US, UK and Norway have called on all parties in the conflict in South Sudan to stop violating a ceasefire.

    They said field commanders and their political leaders would be held accountable for breaking the agreement and impeding humanitarian access.

    At least five violations have been recorded since the ceasefire came into effect on Christmas Eve.

    This is the latest attempt to stop the conflict, which is now in its fifth year.

    Gun
    Image caption: A third of South Sudan's population has been displaced by war.
  16. SportPesa cancels all Kenya sponsorship

    Leading Kenyan betting firm SportPesa has pulled out of all local sports sponsorship with immediate effect after it lost a court case challenging the government's decision to increase tax on gambling revenue from 7.5% to 35%.

    The move will save the company about 600 million Kenyan shillings ($5.8m; £4.3m) annually, and help it stay afloat, CEO Ronald Karauri was quoted by the local Capital FM news site as saying.

    The sponsorship cancellation will have a huge impact on local sports, affecting football giants Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards who are set to represent Kenya at the CAF Champions League and Confederations Cup respectively, the news site adds.

    The Kenya Rugby Union said it was dismayed by SportPesa's decision and it expected the government "to step into the breach and provide the necessary support" for its participation in global events, including the Commonwealth Games and the African qualifiers for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

    SportPesa's decision will not affect its sponsorship of foreign clubs. Last year, it signed a five-year shirt sponsorship deal with English football club Everton.

    Footballer
    Image caption: The betting firm will continue to sponsor Everton

    According to a survey published last March, Kenyans are the biggest gamblers in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Three-quarters of 17- to 35-year-olds in Kenya surveyed admitted to having placed a bet.

    Gambling on phone apps is easy, so many Kenyans regularly make payments through their mobile telephones.

    The government increased the tax on sports betting sites last year, saying it was worried about the effects of gambling.

    Last month, a court ruled that the tax served a "legitimate public interest", throwing out a challenge by betting firms that argued that the tax was "excessive and unfair" .

  17. Gabon mourns former international Manon

    Former Gabon international Regis Manon

    The football fraternity in Gabon is mourning the death of former international striker Régis Manon.

    He died in Libreville on New Year's Day after an illness at the age of 52.

    Manon played at the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia for the Panthers and went on to coach clubs in Gabon at the end of his playing career.

    Manon, whose intentional career lasted for over a decade, was part of the squad that helped Gabon qualify for their first ever Cup of Nations finals in 1994.

    During his career he played for French club Tours FC and Gabonese side FC 105 before switching to coaching including local teams Mounana FC and Akanda FC.

    Read more on the BBC Sports website.

  18. African migrants told to leave Israel

    Emmanuel Igunza

    BBC Africa, Nairobi

    The Israeli government has issued a notice for thousands of African migrants to leave the country or face imprisonment.

    The migrants will be given up to $3,500 (£2,600) for leaving. They will be given the option of going to their home country or to Uganda or Rwanda.

    But if they don't leave, the Israeli authorities have threatened that from April they will start jailing them.

    People from Eritrea and Sudan make up a significant number of migrants in Israel, Israel's Haaretz newspaper reports.

    Most of them say they came to Israel to seek asylum after fleeing persecution and conflict, but the authoroties regard them as economic migrants.

    A spokesperson from the Population and Immigration Authority broke down the figures:

    • There are currently in Israel 38,000 "infiltrators", the term Israel uses to describe people who entered it not through an official border crossing
    • In the Holot (an open detention facility) there are 970 "infiltrators"
    • In the Saharonim (a closed detention facility) there are 450 "infiltrators".

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that an unchecked influx of African migrants could threaten Israel's Jewish character.

    The order exempts children, elderly people and victims of slavery and human trafficking. The Israeli government says the return is voluntary and will be humane.

    But the UN refugee agency and other human rights groups say the controversial plan violates international and Israeli laws.

    African asylum seekers, mostly from Eritrea, who entered Israel illegally during the past years, hold placards showing migrants who they say were killed after being deported to their country, during a protest against Israel's deportation policy in front of the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on January 26, 2017
    Image caption: Africans in Israel have held numerous protests against deportations
  19. Bodies recovered from Table Mountain

    The bodies of two climbers have been recovered from South Africa's Table Mountain following an accident which trapped hundreds of people at the top of the popular attraction.

    They were reported to have been using ropes to scale the front of the mountain when they fell on Monday.

    Rescuers then used the cable car to reach another surviving climber on Monday.

    But the bodies were not recovered until first light on Tuesday.

    Table Mountain