1. Ghana police rescue baby trapped in stolen vehicle

    Ghanaian police have rescued a baby trapped in a vehicle that was stolen by gunmen from a church in Kumasi in Asanti region.

    They are hunting for the suspected thieves who later abandoned the car and escaped after a police patrol team chased after them.

    The incident was posted on social media by a person local media believed to be the baby's father:

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    The baby was found in a safe condition and has since been reunited with the mother.

    It is not clear how the baby ended up being alone in the car with the suspected thieves.

    The authorities have called on the general public to provide any information to help arrest the suspects.

  2. Ghanaians mock president's meeting with US rappers

    Some Ghanaians online are questioning why their President, Nana Akufo-Addo, had a meeting with American rappers, Chance The Rapper and Vic Mensa.

    There are a series of photographs of the three men at a meeting, in some of which they can be seen bumping fists to greet one another.

    They discussed how to bridge the gap between musicians in Ghana and the United States, as well as how to promote Ghana's musical talent, according to Beyond The Return's Instagram page.

    Beyond the Return is a follow-up campaign of Ghana's Year Of Return in 2019, which encouraged members of the African diaspora to visit the country.

    One person commented on Twitter that the president was meeting "unnecessary people" and should "get better things do".

    Another said it was a waste of time as it wouldn't lead to anything.

    A third person said it was an ambitious plan: "Bridge the cap between Artists in Ghana and US? Geez man, that’s. Long stretch! Start with bridging the gap with Ghanaian Artists and Other African artists first! Grabbing for straws."

    Both Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa have been posting about their trip to Ghana on Instagram.

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  3. Denmark frees 'pirates' captured off West Africa

    The Newsroom

    BBC World Service

    Danish navy warship HDMS Esbern Snare pictured in 2014
    Image caption: The pirates, of unknown nationality, were arrested after an exchange of fire with the Danish naval ship Esbern Snare

    Three suspected pirates detained for six weeks on board a Danish naval frigate off West Africa have been released at sea, after Denmark's justice minister waived charges of attempted manslaughter against them.

    The men were detained in November following an exchange of fire with the Danish vessel in the Gulf of Guinea, off Nigeria, that saw several other suspected pirates killed.

    They could have been brought to Denmark for criminal prosecution, but the justice ministry said there was a risk that they could not subsequently be deported, irrespective of any possible conviction.

    This fact might prove an incentive for others to commit criminal acts in an attempt to get prosecuted in Denmark, it said.

    A fourth suspect, who was injured in the incident and taken to a hospital in Ghana, has been flown to Denmark where he is expected to be prosecuted for attempted manslaughter.

    Denmark said it had no other option as diplomatic efforts to find a solution with Ghana failed, and it was felt he could not be released at sea.

  4. Ghana borders to remain shut to avert Covid wave

    Wycliffe Muia

    BBC Monitoring

    A woman receives an Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine at the Ridge Hospital in Accra, Ghana on March 2, 2021
    Image caption: Ghana has so far administered 6.4 million vaccine doses

    Ghana's land borders will remain closed indefinitely to prevent a potential fourth wave of Covid-19 infections in the country.

    President Nana Akufo-Addo said in a national address on Wednesday that his government was "monitoring the level of threat of the disease and ongoing vaccinations in neighbouring countries" before it can reopen borders.

    "We must do everything possible, at the very least, to maintain this situation, especially as the festive season approaches," President Akufo-Addo said.

    Residents in border towns have protested against the prolonged closure of Ghana's land borders that began when the pandemic broke out last year. Only transit cargo trucks are exempt from the border closure.

    President Akufo-Addo said that the current data points to a “favourable Covid-19 situation” but urged vigilance.

    Meanwhile, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has said that large quantities of Covid-19 jabs distributed in the south-eastern Volta region have expired due to vaccine hesitancy.

    Ghana has so far administered 6.4 million doses out of the 17.7 million vaccines available in the country.

    The West African country has recorded over 130,000 cases and 1,243 deaths.

  5. Covid: Ghana to fine airlines bringing in unvaccinated passengers

    Video content

    Video caption: Airlines will be fined $3,500 for every passenger who's unvaccinated or tests positive

    Airlines will be fined $3,500 for every passenger who's unvaccinated or tests positive for Covid.

  6. Airlines to be fined for flying unvaccinated people to Ghana

    Thomas Naadi

    BBC Ghana correspondent

    A person getting injected
    Image caption: Ghanaian authorities say most of the Omicron cases at Kotoka International Airport are amongst the unvaccinated

    Authorities in Ghana have said that airlines which fly unvaccinated foreign nationals into the country will be fined $3,500 (£2,600) per passenger.

    Airlines also need to make sure that people fill in the required health declaration form.

    The new directive which takes effect on Tuesday is intended to stop the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

    The fine is aimed at strengthening the ban on foreign visitors who have not received the coronavirus vaccine from entering Ghana, which came into effect on Monday.

    Ghanaian citizens and residents abroad are exempt from the ban for the next two weeks, but will be required to get jabbed upon landing at the airport.

    The authorities say they are concerned about a surge of infections over the festive period.

    All travellers have to provide proof of a negative PCR test result conducted within 72 hours of departure and will also be tested at the airport on arrival.

    Ghana has vaccinated less than 10% of its 30 million population.

    The authorities have said that next month the vaccine will be made compulsory for targeted groups including government employees, health workers and students.

    In the last two weeks, Covid-19 cases recorded at the airport accounted for 60% of the total cases in the country, the authorities say.

  7. All travellers to Ghana need to be vaccinated

    The Ghanaian government has said that from midnight on Sunday all visitors to the country need to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus before being allowed to enter.

    Ghanaians who intend to return to the country in the next fortnight are exempted, but will be vaccinated upon arrival, a statement from the country's health service says.

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    "All Ghanaians travelling out of the country are to be fully vaccinated," the statement adds.

    The order is part of measures to help control the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

    The health service statement says that most cases of the variant in the country were from people who had arrived at the international airport in Accra - and the majority of those people had been unvaccinated.

    Ghana has recorded just over 130,000 cases of coronavirus in total and 1,200 deaths.

  8. From Madina to the Universe: M.Anifest

    DJ Edu

    Presenter of This Is Africa on BBC World Service


    M.Anifest has to be one of Africa’s coolest cats. Unfailingly stylish in an alternative, artistic kind of way, the Ghanaian rapper also has a poet’s way with words.

    In songs like Invisible, No Shortcut to Heaven and Someway Bi he paints gritty word pictures about life on the street in Accra, Ghana. His bars are rich in observed detail, and wry in commentary.

    He’s been in the game for a while, and he has always ploughed his own furrow, nodding to the explosion of talent and the dominant genres around him, but ultimately doing his own thing.

    Madina to the Universe is M.Anifest’s latest album, just dropped on 18 November. It features Vic Mensa, Adekunle Gold, Patoranking, Ladipoe, M3nsa, Tiggs da Author, Moliy, and M.Anifest’s Mum!

    The title refers to the neighbourhood in Accra where he grew up and where his mother and grandmother still live.

    "It’s very highly populated, mainly low-income people, with some middle-class people like myself who grew up there. It’s a beautiful collage of people, there’s a lot of Muslims, a lot of Ewe, northerners…it’s a very lively neighbourhood and it epitomises what a typical urban neighourhood in Ghana looks like.

    "So Madina to the Universe is saying a person from this neighbourhood has grander ambitions, to take their ideas, thoughts and represent and take it to the Universe."

    The first single M.Anifest chose to release ahead of the album was the sultry love song, La Vida:

    "La Vida is a song where I imagine myself driving in a droptop with a lover, doing wild and free things… it just had a really fresh feeling, it felt progressive, it felt like a sound that was not like everything going on, so I wanted it to set the tone of what this album is going to be about.

    "This album is going to help people understand that it is ok to do something different. I’ve always represented that – M.Anifest is not coming to continue with whatever trends are here, I’m coming to bring something fresh into the ecosystem."

    Perhaps the song which demonstrates M.Anifest’s originality best is Weeping Clouds. Inspired by an unspecified loss he has suffered, the sadness of the words is in direct contrast to the rousing arrangement:

    "When you look at highlife music for instance, when they would talk about difficult things, whether it’s the dead or a lover doing them wrong, the music would still have something people could jam to.

    "So in this song you hear the horns that people are going to be doing call and response to, so it’s very celebratory. It’s not because people don’t feel the pain, but that’s how you exorcise it, it’s catharsis.

    "I really love that song because it feels experimental, it doesn’t have a traditional structure, I don’t do any verses, the horns do all the verses for me."

    You can hear DJ Edu’s conversation with M.Anifest on This is Africa this Saturday, on BBC World Service radio and partner stations across Africa, as well as online here:

  9. British-Ghanaian poet to put up her feet after win

    British-Ghanaian poet Dzifa Benson has won the UK's leading poetry prize, the Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship.

    The prize was set up to recognise and give a platform to the next generation of British poets – whose writers reflects what it means to live and work in Britain today.

    Born to Ghanaian parents in London, Dzifa grew up in Ghana, Nigeria and Togo and now lives in London.

    She told the BBC it was encouraging to have her work acknowledged.

    "It kind of inspires you and makes you want to do better," she said.

    She plans to take a break and finish writing her poetry book and visit her mother in Ghana.

    "The $33,000 (£15,000) will allow me to take my feet off the gas a bit and have a few weeks of relaxation or a few weeks where I can at least focus on my own writing rather than writing to earn a living," she said.

    Here is her full interview with BBC Focus on Africa radio:

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    Video caption: British-Ghanaian poet Dzifa Benson has won the Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship