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The Egyptian authorities crack down on culture

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She sings so high that birds explode KHEDIVE ISMAIL looms large in Egyptian history. During his 16-year rule the 19th-century Ottoman pasha modernised the country, laying down railways and irrigation canals that remain in use today. A statue of him towers over a square in Ismailia, the city that bears his name. When the current governor ordered workers to spruce up Ismailia, they naturally repainted the sculpture. But they did so with gaudy coats of black and silver. Even his eyes got an eerie metallic glow. The great pasha now looks like a character from a low-budget cartoon. Egyptians are proud of their rich culture. Statues and reliefs carved in antiquity draw millions of tourists. In the 20th century Egypt produced cultural icons like Naguib Mahfouz, a Nobel-prizewinning author, and...

Efforts to tackle official abuses in Kenya are failing

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FINDING evidence of police brutality in Kenya should not be too tricky. Amateur footage of officers shooting suspected crooks in the back of the head is shared on social media. Vigilante police groups post photographs of suspects they have killed, or intend to kill, on Facebook. “Let them have their time in hell,” one officer wrote beneath an image of a bloody corpse. Yet since starting work six years ago, Kenya’s police watchdog has managed to secure convictions against just three officers, despite receiving nearly 10,000 complaints of abuse. The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) was among a raft of state institutions established under Kenya’s constitution of 2010. The new dispensation was meant to make the country fairer and less corrupt after 1,400 people were killed, h

Ethiopians are going wild for Abiy Ahmed

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Mr Abiy, parting the waters SEMAHEGN GESHAYE has peddled books near the national theatre in Addis Ababa for eight years. But business has rarely been this brisk. “Anything that’s about Abiy Ahmed is popular,” he says. A flurry of titles about Ethiopia’s new prime minister has hit the shelves since he took office in April. One best-seller, called “Moses”, compares Mr Abiy to the prophet. Another professes to be an insider account of his meteoric rise. The two most popular were written under a pseudonym by the prime minister himself. The last copies of “The Stirrup and the Throne”, his meditation on leadership, sold out in the capital weeks ago. “We badly need that book,” grumbles a bookshop owner. “People are always bothering us for it.” More than 90% of those surveyed by WAAS Internatio

A year after big protests, Faure Gnassingbé hangs on in Togo

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TWO weeks ago sword-wielding soldiers flanked the red carpet as the leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) filed into a fancy hotel in Lomé, the capital of Togo, for a two-day summit. Gendarmes closed off a chunk of the city. Traders in the market griped about a slowdown in business. The streets fell silent. Last September those same streets were packed with thousands of protesters calling for the president, Faure Gnassingbé, to step down after 13 years in power. (His father, Gnassingbé Eyadéma, led Togo for 38 years before that.) The country was in turmoil. Ultimately, the government offered concessions, including a promise to hold a referendum on presidential term limits. Mr Gnassingbé’s departure seemed possible. Yet little has changed. Mr Gnassingbé (pict

Europe is coddling Arab strongmen to keep out refugees

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Quick, put a strongman in their way MUCH of Syria lies in ruins, but Bashar al-Assad’s bureaucracy of repression hums along. Earlier this year a pro-opposition website published a list of Syrians wanted by the regime. The database is both staggering in scope—1.5m people, or 7% of the pre-war population—and incomplete. Jamil Hassan, the head of the air-force intelligence service, is said to have told senior officers in July that he wants to arrest twice that number. On August 9th another regime official announced that 100,000 Syrians have died of “unknown causes” since 2017. Many were tortured to death in Mr Assad’s dungeons. Yet European politicians are debating whether to send refugees back to this bloody oubliette. Seven years ago, when Arabs revolted against their autocratic rulers,

Krispy Kreme cooperating with regulators over store closure

Krispy Kreme has said it is cooperating with Nigerian food regulator and consumer protection agency to resolve issues that led to the shutdown of its store in Victoria Island, Lagos. In a statement released by the company through its franchise operator, QFA Nigeria Limited, the company said it is fully cooperating with authorities in addressing concerns of product expiry date tampering without regulatory approval in its Victoria Island, Lagos store. QFA Nigeria Ltd further said it “is committed to supporting the various regulatory bodies, including CPC and NAFDAC. “Both regulators therefore agree that there is a vital consumer interest that will be served with Krispy Kreme’s ability to reopen and continue operations within the parameters approved by the regulators,” the statement said. The

Cadbury Nigeria falls back into loss amid rising cost

Cadbury Nigeria Plc, reported a net loss of N424m for the first six months of 2018, hurt by rising cost. The Bournvita maker which emerged from a loss position at the end of 2017 said that a high selling and distribution expense and high net finance cost (Bank interest charges) erased all gains made in the period under review. Despite the loss, the company recorded 8% sales growth in the six months to the end of June, helped by sales acceleration in the second quarter, which grew 14% to N9.3bn. Source: products

Fayose: Nigeria must be saved from APC govt’s recklessness, Says: “EFCC, Police, INEC, others now APC tools”

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Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose has Nigerians, especially the youths must rise and save the country from the All Progressives Congress (APC) government of recklessness, saying: ldquo;Events in the last few weeks are pointers to the fact tha ...Powered by WPeMatico

Beta Glass sees growth acceleration continue in the second quarter

Beta Glass Plc reported a strong first half in 2018, a continuation of the growth acceleration begun in the first quarter. The company saw revenue growth of 49% to ₦13.1bn, driven by a 54% sales surge in the second quarter to ₦6.7bn. The company which makes glass bottles and containers for the beverage industry and others said that net profit grew by 67% to ₦2.4bn in the six months to the end of June due in part to a 125% increase in Operating Profit in the second quarter to ₦1.5bn, thanks to improved cost efficiencies and a 158% gain in interest income as well as an appreciable net finance income. Net profit in Q2 rose 98% to ₦1.3bn. Source: products