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The ruling Botswana Democratic Party could see its first defeat at the polls since independence in 1966. What would a changeover of power mean for Africa's model democracy?

The Maldives is considered a dream holiday destination for many. But construction is threatening its fragile coral reefs and azure blue lagoons. Some locals are taking a stand against the building boom.

The Nobel Prize-winning author Doris Lessing, who died in 2013 at the age of 94, would have been 100 on October 22. The prolific writer and reluctant feminist icon was one of the 20th century's great storytellers.

The Lonely Planet travel guide has placed Germany's former capital, Bonn, among its top 10 cities to visit in 2020. Austria's second city, Salzburg, topped the list, ahead of Washington, DC.

[Botswana Daily News] Kanye -Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) official in Kanye, Ms Ndio Gaopotlake, says the commission is prepared for the general elections tomorrow.

[The Herald] The Zimbabwe National Army will not hesitate to deal decisively with rogue members who bring its image and reputation into disrepute, a senior army officer has said.

[Namibian] Mines and energy minister Tom Alweendo says Namibia is still faced with the challenge of corruption, despite achieving favourable rankings in regional and international indices.

[The Herald] Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr John Mangudya yesterday testified as the last State witness in the case where Kwekwe businessman Shepherd Tundiya is alleged to have coerced the director of JR Goddard Contracting (Pvt) Ltd to withdraw a criminal abuse of office report he had made against four members of the National Assembly.

Firms in the United Arab Emirates produce cigarettes worth billions of dollars annually. It's no doubt a lucrative business, but overseas smuggling has been causing rising tax losses elsewhere, as Stian Overdahl reports.

[News24Wire] Eskom wants Deloitte to pay back more than R207m for two tenders and other work the audit firm secured "improperly" during 2016.

[The Herald] Zimbabwe has planted its first legal hemp crop after it took steps in 2018 to decriminalise cannabis by adopting legalisation policies to tap into the opportunities that exist in this multi-billion dollar industry.

[Nation] Lawyer and ICT practitioner Adrian Kamotho has sued telecommunication operators for irregularly depriving consumers of their unused data bundles.

After being excluded from Borussia Dortmund's squad on the weekend, Jadon Sancho now has a chance to step up. With big names missing the Champions League trip to Inter, expectations for the young Englishman are high.

Bayern Munich made it three wins from three in the Champions League but some familiar failings made it tough going. A Robert Lewandowski brace and a great Corentin Tolisso strike proved just enough against Olympiacos.

After the first three games of their group, Leverkusen are last with no wins. A fair amount of possession and talented players on the field have not stopped them being left empty handed. In Madrid, it was the same story.

[The Herald] Zimbabwe's sprinter Panashe Majuru is fancying his chances of qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after wrapping up his season in the United Kingdom.

Left to right: Mona Lisa (AFP), Monna Vanna (Alamy)Image copyright AFP/Alamy
Image caption Have art experts just undressed (right) the Mona Lisa (left)?

A charcoal drawing housed in another art collection for more than 150 years may have been a sketch for the Mona Lisa, a French art expert says.

The charcoal portrait of a nude woman, known as the Monna Vanna, was previously attributed only to Leonardo da Vinci's studio.

But experts have found enough clues to suggest the artist worked on both.

After tests at the Louvre Museum in Paris, curators believe the sketch is "at least in part" by Leonardo.

It has been held since 1862 in the collection of Renaissance art at the Conde Museum at the Palace of Chantilly, north of the French capital.

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was one of the great painters of the Italian Renaissance, and his Mona Lisa oil painting (also known as La Gioconda) remains one of the world's most recognisable and valuable works of art.

It is believed to have been a commission from cloth merchant and Florentine official Francesco del Giocondo for a portrait of his wife, Lisa Gherardini.

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But was Leonardo right-handed?

"The drawing has a quality in the way the face and hands are rendered that is truly remarkable," curator Mathieu Deldicque told AFP news agency.

"It is not a pale copy. We are looking at something which was worked on in parallel with the Mona Lisa at the end of Leonardo's life.

"It is almost certainly a preparatory work for an oil painting."

Louvre conservation expert Bruno Mottin confirmed it dated from Leonardo's lifetime at the turn of the 15th Century and was of a "very high quality".

The Chantilly Estate posted a photo of the work being done on the sketch.

Skip Twitter post by @chantillydomain

Analyse de la Joconde nue au @c2rmf avec Bruno Mottin, conservateur du @c2rmf et @mathieudeldicqu conservateur du @chantillydomain pic.twitter.com/alMMSu09nP

— Domaine de Chantilly (@chantillydomain) September 28, 2017

End of Twitter post by @chantillydomain

Among clues proffered by Mr Deldicque:

  • The hands and body are almost identical
  • The portraits are almost the same size
  • Small holes pierced around the figure suggest it may have been used to trace its form on to a canvas

However, Mr Mottin pointed out that hatching on the top of the drawing near the head had been done by a right-handed person while Leonardo drew with his left hand.

"We must remain prudent," he told AFP, as work continued.

"It is job that is going to take some time," he said. "It is a very difficult drawing to work on because it is particularly fragile."

Rohingya crisis: UN chief warns of 'humanitarian nightmare'

Rohingya refugees arrive at a camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: 28 September 2017Image copyright Reuters
Image caption More than 500,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh since late August

Violence in Myanmar has spiralled into the "the world's fastest-developing refugee emergency" and a "humanitarian nightmare", the UN chief has warned.

Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on Myanmar to end its military operation, which has sparked the exodus of over 500,000 Rohingya since August.

He also demanded "unfettered access" to the region to deliver humanitarian aid.

Earlier, at least 14 Rohingya, all women and children, drowned after their boat capsized off Bangladesh's coast.

Survivors say the boat overturned after apparently hitting a submerged object near the coastal city of Cox's Bazar.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption The boat capsized a short distance from the coast near the city of Cox's Bazar

In the past 48 hours, about 2,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh by boat, fleeing violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state.

In Thursday's briefing to the UN Security Council, Mr Guterres said: "The situation has spiralled into the world's fastest developing refugee emergency, a humanitarian and human rights nightmare."

"We have received bone-chilling accounts from those who fled - mainly women, children and the elderly.

"These testimonials point to excessive violence and serious violations of human rights, including indiscriminate firing of weapons, the use of landmines against civilians and sexual violence."

Mr Guterres also warned that "the failure to address the systematic violence could result in a spill over into central Rakhine where an additional 250,000 Muslims could potentially face displacement".

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionMyanmar: Who are the Rohingya?

UN aid personnel were forced to leave Rakhine when the military began a crackdown on Rohingya militants behind attacks on security personnel in August.

Fleeing Rohingya - the majority of whom are Muslim - accuse Myanmar's military, backed by Buddhist mobs, of trying to drive them out with a campaign of beatings, killings and village burnings.

Images and reports from journalists confirm many villages have been razed.

But the military say they are targeting only militants.

'New Baghdadi tape' posted by Islamic State group

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. speaking in Mosul, 5 July 2014Image copyright AFP
Image caption Russian and Iranian officials have said the IS leader is dead but the US has disagreed

Islamic State militants have released what appears to be an audio recording of their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

A speaker who sounds like the IS leader seems to refer to recent North Korean threats against Japan and the US.

He also talks of battles for IS strongholds like Mosul, which was regained by Iraqi forces in July.

Baghdadi, who has a $25m (£19m) US bounty on his head, has not been seen in public since July 2014, leading to much speculation about his fate.

The last time he appeared was to preach at the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul after IS overran the city and a "caliphate" was proclaimed.

Asked about the audio, a spokesman for US forces fighting IS, Ryan Dillon, said "without verifiable evidence of his death, we have continued to assume that he is alive".

A defence department spokesman told the BBC: "We are aware of the audio tape purported to be of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and are taking steps to examine it. While we have no reason to doubt its authenticity, we do not have verification at this point."

The militant Sunni Muslim group IS, which earned notoriety for its brutal violence towards civilians and prisoners, has been steadily pushed back in Iraq and Syria this year.

The 46-minute recording was posted by a website with links to the group and is the first such speech to appear since November.

As well as Mosul, the speaker refers to battles in Raqqa and Hama in Syria, and Sirte in Libya, saying the bloodshed would not be in vain. He also talks of Russian-brokered peace talks on Syria. Much of the tape consists of religious references.

Baghdadi may be hiding in territory still controlled by IS along the Iraqi-Syrian border.

Less than a handful people would know his whereabouts, Hassan Hassan of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy wrote in a recent article for BBC News.

That makes it hard for the US, which has dedicated special forces constantly on the look-out for him.

In June, Russia reported that it was "highly likely" Baghdadi had been killed in a Russian air force strike on Raqqa on 28 May, and an Iranian official asserted he was "definitely dead" shortly afterwards.

However, claims of his death had been made before and the reports were treated with scepticism by US officials.


Analysis: A morale boost for IS

By Frank Gardner, BBC security correspondent

So the IS leader al-Baghdadi is still alive, or at least it appears he was still alive at least as recently as August.

This concurs with the views of western intelligence agencies and Iraq's government, which were always sceptical of Russian claims to have killed him an air strike.

His apparent survival to date will give some small morale boost to the beleaguered IS fighters still clinging on in Raqqa, but it is unlikely to make any strategic difference.

Like the al-Qaeda leader Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, the IS leader is so circumscribed by the need to keep his location secret that he communicates rarely, and is unlikely to be in a position to personally direct any ongoing operations - other than to give them his blessing.

Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus reveals breast cancer diagnosis

Julia Louis-Dreyfus at the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California, 17 SeptemberImage copyright Reuters
Image caption Ms Louis-Dreyfus won another Emmy earlier this month

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the award-winning star of US TV comedy series Veep, has announced she has breast cancer, in a message posted on social media.

"1 in 8 women get breast cancer," she wrote. "Today I'm the one."

"The good news", she added, was she had a "glorious group" of family and friends supporting her and "fantastic" insurance through her union.

The actress, 56, has also featured in Saturday Night Live, The New Adventures of Old Christine and Seinfeld.

Skip Twitter post by @OfficialJLD

Just when you thought... pic.twitter.com/SbtYChwiEj

— Julia Louis-Dreyfus (@OfficialJLD) September 28, 2017

End of Twitter post by @OfficialJLD

Earlier this month, Louis-Dreyfus picked up a record-breaking sixth Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a row for her role in HBO series Veep.

In Veep, her character begins as an ineffectual US vice-president whose attempts to expand her role are continually thwarted.

Louis-Dreyfus' announcement was met with an outpouring of support from other actors and celebrities.

Her Veep co-star Tony Hale retweeted the announcement, appending the message: "We love this woman."

Christina Applegate, who had a double mastectomy in 2008 following her own breast cancer diagnosis, told Louis-Dreyfus to contact her if she wanted to talk.

HBO, the network behind Veep, also issued a statement, saying: "We have every confidence she will get through this with her usual tenacity and undaunted spirit, and look forward to her return to health and to HBO for the final season of Veep."

'Universal healthcare'

The US actors' union SAG-AFTRA provides health insurance as a membership benefit, which union members earn credits toward as they work on accredited productions.

"The bad news is that not all women are so lucky," Louis-Dreyfus said in her statement, "so let's fight all cancers and make universal health care a reality".

Her call for universal health care - at a time when US President Donald Trump is pushing through healthcare reforms - is not the first time she has made targeted political comments.

Accepting the award for outstanding performance for a female actor in a comedy series at the SAG Awards earlier this year, she referenced Mr Trump's controversial travel ban, saying: "I am the daughter of an immigrant. My father fled religious persecution in Nazi-occupied France."

"I'm an American patriot, and I love this country... this immigrant ban is a blemish and it's un-American."


Breast cancer: The facts

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the world.

The rates of breast cancer vary from country to country - about one in eight women will get breast cancer during their lifetime in the US and the UK.

About 55,000 people are diagnosed with the condition in the UK every year - about 150 people a day. It is far more common among women, affecting just one in every 870 men.

Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption Mammograms are recommended on a regular basis for women over 50

Medical experts recommend women be aware of what their breasts normally look and feel like, so they can be aware of any abnormal changes.

Possible signs of breast cancer include:

  • Changes in the outline or shape of the breast, especially those caused by arm movements or by lifting the breast
  • Changes in the look or feel of the skin, such as puckering or dimpling
  • Any new lumps, thickening or bumpy areas in one breast or armpit, with or without pain, that differs from the same part of the other breast and armpit
  • Discharge from the nipple (may be bloodstained)
  • Moist, red areas on the nipple that don't heal easily
  • Any change in nipple position, such as being pulled in or pointing differently
  • A rash on or around the nipple

Recovery chances are good if the cancer is discovered in its early stages. Breast screening programmes use a mammogram - a type of X-ray - to sweep for small cancers in their infancy.

Sources: World Health Organization, NHS, Cancer Research UK


[Concord] The National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) says a total of 28,538 extremely poor and vulnerable households in ten (10) districts benefited from cash transfers under the Social Safety Net project.

[Ghanaian Times] The Jospong Group of Companies, with the help of the Hungarian government, has secured a facility for various developmental projects in Ghana.

[The Point] Two Gambian women have joined other delegates in Rome, Italy, where they are attending IFAD gender events, thanks to the support availed to Gambian smallholder farmers, by the National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Project (Nema).

[The Point] Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, Tuesday validated the off-grid solar market assessment report of The Gambia, as part of the preparatory phase of the Regional Off-grid Electrification Project (ROGEP).

[This Day] Two agencies of Lagos State Government and four firms Thursday announced a partnership towards the construction of five innovation centres across the state, saying the initiatives were designed to ensure capacity building, competitiveness and ecosystem among start-ups and budding entrepreneurs.

[Botswana Daily News] Gaborone -The Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Mr Bogolo Kenewendo, on Tuesday launched the first ever "smart green" Botswana Makeathon at the University of Botswana.

[Digital Content Africa] YouTube in Africa is creating a whole new generation of talent that doesn't have to go through the usual gatekeepers on TV and radio. Russell Southwood spoke to Mark Angel who runs the biggest YouTube channel in Nigeria about how he does what he does.

[Thomson Reuters Foundation] Asutsuare, Ghana -Ephraim Kofi Kenney does not like to work in the fields scaring pests away. But today he must.


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