- Kenyan leader, cabinet cut own pay to curb government wage bill
Kenya's president and cabinet on Friday agreed to a pay cut as part of austerity measures meant to reduce the government wage bill and free up funds for use in economic development - and called on lawmakers to do the same. Uhuru Kenyatta announced a month after his election in March last year that he would make reducing Kenya's ballooning public sector wage bill a priority, saying it was "unsustainable" and weighing on the national budget. The move was also a nod to public opinion, which often expresses anger at the salaries of public officials which are many times higher than those of ordinary Kenyans. On Friday, Kenyatta said he and Deputy President William Ruto will be taking a 20 percent cut on their monthly pay, and that the country's 18 cabinet secretaries had agreed to take a 10 percent pay reduction.
- Madagascar seizes Tanzanian ship with protected rosewood
Madagascar authorities have seized a stricken Tanzanian vessel laden with thousands of logs of the rare and precious red ruby coloured rosewood, police said Wednesday. "It was a Tanzanian ship that had developed a technical problem," the director of police security and intelligence Colonel Anthony Rakotoarison told AFP.
- Ex-coup leader's aide set to become Madagascar's new premier
A close aide to Madagascar's ex-strongman is likely to become the Indian Ocean island's new prime minister, after he was nominated by lawmakers of the largest party on Monday. "We are delighted to announce that we offer the post of prime minister to... Andre Resampa," said Jean de Dieu Maharante, the coordinator of MAPAR. Resampa, 43, was a top aide to Andry Rajoelina, who took power in a 2009 putsh that ousted president Marc Ravalomana, and plunged the country into five years of political crisis. Rajoelina's party has a majority in parliament and according to the law, enjoys the power to select a prime minister.
- Urgent! Lemur Crisis Prompts Conservationist Call-to-Action
Lemurs have captured the public imagination in movies such as "Madagascar," but now these adorable primates are on the brink of extinction, conservationists say. Nineteen lemur conservationists and researchers published a call-for-action to save Madagascar's 101 lemur species from the threats of deforestation and poaching stemming from the country's political woes. "Since the 2009 political crisis, the situation on the ground has been grim for the Malagasy people, but also for the lemurs, especially in terms of habitat loss. If things don't turn around, lemur extinctions will start happening," Mitch Irwin, an anthropologist at Northern Illinois University said in a statement.
- Uganda's Museveni to sign anti-gay bill: government spokesman
KAMPALA (Reuters) - Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni will on Monday sign a controversial anti-homosexuality bill which Western countries have criticized and tried to stop from being signed into law, a Ugandan government spokesman said. "The president is signing the anti-homosexuality bill today at 11 (0800 GMT). He wants to sign it with the full witness of the international media to demonstrate Uganda's independence in the face of Western pressure and provocation," Ugandan Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo told Reuters. Homosexuality is taboo in African countries and illegal in 37. ...
- Shark attacks down last year but fatalities up
By Barbara Liston ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - Shark attacks fell to a five-year low in 2013 but the number of fatalities rose to 10, up from an average of six deaths in recent years, according to a report released on Monday. There were 72 confirmed shark attacks in 2013, with Florida leading the globe with 23 and Hawaii with 13, according to the University of Florida's annual International Shark Attack File. (Shark study: http://r.reuters.com/zac96v) Those attacks resulted in two deaths in Australia and two deaths on the French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar. Brazil, Hawaii, Jamaica, New Zealand and South Africa each had one death as well as Diego Garcia, a coral atoll in the British Indian Ocean where the U.S. operates a naval facility.
- Uganda dismisses Obama pressure on anti-gay law
By Elias Biryabarema KAMPALA (Reuters) - Uganda on Tuesday dismissed U.S. president Barack Obama's call to its leader Yoweri Museveni not to sign an anti-homosexuality law, saying the U.S. was trying to blackmail the east African country. On Sunday, two days after President Museveni said he would sign the law widely criticized abroad as harsh and unjust, Obama warned that would complicate United States relations with Uganda and be a "step backward for all Ugandans." A senior Obama administration official said Washington - a major aid donor sending more than $400 million a year - would review U.S. relations with Uganda, a key regional ally in the fight against Islamic extremism in Somalia. But Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo said aid should not be tied to Uganda's stand on homosexuality.
- Obama warns Uganda over anti-gay law
By Steve Holland RANCHO MIRAGE, California (Reuters) - President Barack Obama warned Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Sunday that enacting an anti-gay law would complicate U.S. relations with Uganda and would be a "huge step backward" for all Ugandans." Obama, on a weekend golf holiday in Southern California, issued a statement denouncing Museveni's plans to sign a law that would impose harsh sentences for those convicted of homosexual acts. His national security adviser, Susan Rice, said via Twitter that she had spoken by phone to Museveni on Saturday night to protest after he told members of his party that he would sign the law. "As we have conveyed to President Museveni, enacting this legislation will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda," Obama said.
- Top Obama adviser urges Ugandan president not to sign anti-gay law
President Barack Obama's national security adviser urged Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Sunday not to sign an anti-gay law, saying it would be a "huge step backward" for Uganda and the world. Susan Rice said she had spoken by phone to Museveni on Saturday night after he told members of his party that he would sign the law, which imposes harsh sentences for those convicted of homosexual acts. Rice said she was saddened that the decision "will put many at risk and stain Uganda's reputation." She said she told Museveni the law is a "huge step backward for Uganda and the world." (Reporting By Steve Holland;
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