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Etisalat prize for literature award holds in Lagos

Apr 11, 2016 EL Reports is very excited by all the wonderful things happening on the African literary scene in recent years.

From adaptation of African books into blockbuster films to the global recognition of African literary egg heads, the world is indeed getting familiar with African Literature.

In recent weeks, there has been quite a buzz about two really great events on the scene.

One is the UK launch of Cassava Republic Press, one of Africa’s leading publishing houses.

The other, as you might have guessed is the Etisalat prize for literature awards; the biggest and most prestigious literary award on the African continent.

If you missed the event, this is the perfect event for a flashback Monday. The award ceremony was…

CEO of Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher, gave us a little background into the establishment of the annual award.

“We are here to celebrate a tremendous wealth of literary talent, not just in Nigeria, but in Africa as a whole…it was launched originally in 2013”

Then the prizes! Nigerian writer Modupe Kuti, smiled home with a cash prize of 1000 pounds after winning the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature in the Flash Fiction Category.

And the winning novel for this edition of the awards was originally written in French by DR Congo born poet and novelist, Fiston Mwanza Mujila, Tram 83 revolves around the life of an idealistic writer sucked into the dystopian world of his gangster friend, who reigns supreme in the debauched nightlife of a secessionist City.

Tram 83 was later translated into English by Roland Glasser and published by Deep Vellum.

It is the first novel by a DR Congo writer to be translated into English in over two decades.

Fiston Mwanza Mujila had previously received several awards including the Gold Medal at the 6th Jeux de la Francophone in Beirut as well as the Best Text for Theater in 2010.

The award comes with a very impressive £15,000 cash prize, an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück and an iphone 6S.


Ruto's political base celebrates ICC ruling

Apr 11, 2016 Judges at the International Criminal Court recently threw out charges of post-election violence against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto.

In a complex ruling, the judges declared that there was no case for Ruto and his co-accused, Joshua Sang, to answer.


Speaking at a news briefing in Nairobi, Kenya’s post-election victims’ lawyer Wilfred Nderitu said that the court’s ruling came as a disappointment to his clients. However, the absence of an acquittal in the Ruto and Sang cases means the ICC is free to bring fresh charges in future.

“It’s a decision that we must respect. Of course there is no doubt that it will come as a disappointment to the victims but it is my hope if not anything else to ensure that the highest authority at the court has dealt with it. It is my hope that there will be an appeal by the prosecutor.”

Some residents of the capital expressed their happiness at acquittal. Stephen Gitau said:

“We don’t want anything else, we should be given a holiday tomorrow, the whole of tomorrow we should celebrate, we should not go work. The president should announce today that tomorrow is a holiday and can even continue for the whole week, because we are very happy, even my heart is busting with joy. We are very happy.”


Michelle Obama hosts last garden planting at White House

Apr 11, 2016 U.S. first lady Michelle Obama recently hosted her last annual garden planting event at the White House.

Students from nearby schools came over to help with the planting, which is her last season before her husband leaves office early next year.

Michelle Obama hosts last garden planting at White House

The event brought back some of the children who originally helped the first lady create the garden seven years ago.

The students, now in high school, assisted the other children as they planted several garden beds with various vegetables.


“But I want to take this time to thank all the kids here and all the kids around the country who have been a part of this garden. This is my baby. And hopefully, this will not be the last planting. Hopefully, there will be other administrations who come in, and they take up this project and continue to make this a part of the White House tradition.”

Among the guests at the White House was NASA astronaut Cady Coleman, who planted a bed of Chinese cabbage which will be taken to the International Space Station.


Kerry: Russia has played 'constructive role' in Middle East

Apr 11, 2016 U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently moved to defend Russia’s efforts in ending hostilities in the Middle East.

“…in the case of President Putin, he says that he is prepared to be part of the solution with respect to Syria. Now, everybody doubted whether Russia would play any constructive role whatsoever with respect to the cessation of hostilities…”

Ahead of a new round of negotiations in Geneva, Kerry reiterated his belief that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would ultimately need to step down in order for peace to be achieved.


“The war will not come to a complete ending, closure, if Assad against the wishes of the opposition, unless there’s some agreement that I’m not aware of that gets reached with the opposition somewhere in time, you can’t end the war, because the opposition will not fight — end fighting because of what he is deemed to have done to their people, to the people of his country. And the opposition is a determined opposition that has survived even the Russian bombing and even the toughest onslaught of Assad for five years. They’re not going to suddenly disappear.”


Yao Ming hopes to establish hall of fame for China’s sports stars

Apr 11, 2016 Former NBA player Yao Ming, who was recently selected for the Basketball Hall of Fame alongside Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson, said he is considering setting up a Hall of Fame for China’s sports.

As an A-list sporting icon, Yao Ming opened up China to the NBA in his nine seasons with the Houston Rockets. He finished his career as an eight-time All Star and averaged 19 points and 9.2 rebounds in 486 games after being picked No. 1 in the 2002 NBA draft.


“Firstly, I’m very grateful for such a high honour awarded by the committee of the U.S. Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame,” Yao told reporters in Beijing. “I didn’t expect that, I dared not expect too much. I was also very shocked but I still want to express my deep appreciation. As for a deeper (meaning of the award), actually I have always hoped that someday China can establish its own sports Hall of Fame.”

He went on to comment on other athletes like Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson, saying:

“Basketball is great because of them. The value of basketball comes from the players and teams who are the real heroes on the basketball court. People may have forgotten that Kobe (Bryant) will just have a couple of games (before his retirement), he will definitely be a member of Hall of Fame in four years,”


Cape Town comes alive to the sound of music at annual jazz festival

Apr 8, 2016 The seaside city of Cape Town recently played host to the 17th edition of the famous International Cape Town Jazz Festival, which attracted over 37,000 revelers from all over the world.

The five-stage festival, which is also the fourth largest in the world, featured celebrated local artists as well as international musicians.

Highlight appearances included American bassist Victor Wooten, Malian duo Amadou and Miriam and Cuban pianist Roberto Solo Foncesca, as well as several popular South African acts like Mafikizolo and the legendary Abigail Kubeka.

With a mix of artists from different regions and decades, accompanied with more ticket sales than ever before, the 2016 edition lived up to its title of “Africa’s Grandest Gathering”.

One of the fans, Matt Ramphele, said:

“The jazz festival is amazing, all kinds of amazing acts, Christian Tiger School, who else?, Angie Stone, Felix Laband, your boy, Mick Jenkins, that’s the man. The jazz festival is amazing, I love it every year and I love it this year,”

Another fan, Dumisa Msweli, said;

“I think it’s one of the biggest jazz festivals that’s happening in South Africa you know? You can go all over, you won’t find something like this, and it’s the best,”

The Cape Town Jazz Festival has been applauded by many in South Africa for boosting Cape Town’s reputation as a city for arts and culture. According to organizers, the festival is expected to contribute more than 522 million Rands to the economy of Cape Town and the Western Cape.


Ebonylife TV and Wakanow produces TV Show

Apr 8, 2016 Thinking about a vacation in Africa? Then we’ve got great news for you.

Ebonylife TV, in partnership with Africa’s leading online travel concierge, Wakanow are getting set to premiere a unique travel show called “Destinations Africa” in May 2016.

Each episode of the show will feature a Nigerian personality teaming up with a local host and together they will explore the country’s top-end attractions, authentic treasures, culinary delights and some unexpected gems.

From visiting the world’s biggest Basilica in Cote d’Ivoire to walking with cheetahs in Zambia and sugar tastings in Mauritius, the show promises to re-define the African tourism experience.


New Zealand PM defends country's tax system

Apr 8, 2016 In light of a massive document leak from a Panamanian law firm showing several financial misdeeds via the offshore company structures, New Zealand’s Prime Minister recently moved to defend the country’s tax system.

Opposition Labor Party Leader Andrew Little had accused Prime Minister Key of letting people use the country due to its low tax jurisdiction.

Responding to this, Prime Minister Key said:

“New Zealand is not a tax haven. Tax havens don’t have the disclosure regimes that New Zealand have,” Key answered, later adding that “we’re signatories to 40 double tax agreements and 11 tax information sharing agreements. It’s not like we’re trying to operate in some black hole.”

According to John Nash, international revenue strategy manager for New Zealand’s Inland Revenue, the tax agency is working closely with its tax treaty partners to obtain full details of any New Zealand tax residents who may have been involved in any financial crime.


IMF chief amps up call to boost global growth as risks increase

Apr 8, 2016 International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde recently called for stronger action in boosting global economic growth. She also warned that without decisive action, downside risks were increasing.

Speaking at Frankfurt’s Goethe University, Lagarde prescribed several ways to circumnavigate the situation.

“We are actually growing and that is good news indeed. The not so good news is that that recovery is too weak, too fragile and its durability is at risk. Now of course we have made progress since the great financial crisis. But because that growth has been too slow, too fragile a lot of people are just not feeling it.”

She went on to point out China’s effective business model.

“China, as I said, is shifting its business model and as a result, is having good growth. You know, 6.5 (percent growth) is nothing to be ashamed but it’s significantly lower than what they had experienced and what their suppliers and the supply chain had experienced. Russia and Brazil are experiencing significant downturns, more so than what we had expected. And that is also true for the Middle East which is the prime region which is suffering from the low oil prices. There are also quite a few African countries that are suffering as much as the Middle East countries and that are less talked about. India by contrast, in that category, remains a bright spot with strong growth and rising real income.”


Fraud investigation will not slow Olympic construction, Rio official says

Apr 8, 2016 Olympic authorities in Rio de Janeiro recently reiterated that sporting venues will be delivered on scheduled for the 2016 Olympics, despite an on-going investigation into supposed irregularities at some of the venues.

Speaking to this effect, Roberto Ainbinder, director of the Municipal Olympic Company said:

“The issue is being looked at by the legal sectors of both the city and the company. I don’t know how to answer here now. But, the fact is that the service has already been done. There will not be any standstill that can impact the schedule of the project because the Deodoro projects, the vast majority of them anyway, are done,”

State lender, Caixa Economica Federal, also confirmed that it had suspended payments to a consortium building Deodoro, where 11 sports including rugby sevens and BMX Biking will be held.

“We made it essential to have an equestrian test event at Deodoro which was a great success. And there were things that were not completed for the test event because they were not necessary for the test event. For the Olympics, what is needed is the construction of the Handlers’ Village, which are three residential buildings. There is no mystery here. It is underway and will be done in May. The Veterinary Clinic, which is also a very small, very simple building also wasn’t ready. It wasn’t needed for the test event. It is being completed now. So everything is on schedule,”