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/ 21 January 2008

A country sick of water

Fears of more rain in the coming days have sent aid agencies into a panic as the humanitarian disaster caused by the floods in Mozambique unfolds. The United Nations says the floods could turn out to be the worst in recent memory. Seven people have died and up to 70 000 have been displaced by the floods that have come earlier than forecast.

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/ 3 December 2007

Postcards from a sick island

It is hard not to resort to clichés when writing about Mauritius: white, sandy beaches, sunny blue skies and swaying palm trees. This Indian Ocean island paradise is the stuff travel brochures are made of. Stepping off a plane filled with eager tourists and a group of honeymooners proudly flashing "just married" T-shirts, it is easy to see how tourism has become the main source of income.

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/ 6 July 2007

Zim’s return to a barter economy

Zimbabweans are switching to barter, payment in kind and the use of foreign currencies, such as the rand, instead of the local dollar to survive hyperinflation and the accelerating economic meltdown. Zimbabwe’s currency is still pegged officially at Z$250 to one US dollar; recently the informal market price was about Z$130 000 to US$1, although two weeks ago it had crashed to Z$400 000 against the US dollar.

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/ 18 June 2007

Terror in Kenya’s slums

Florence Musola, a businesswoman living in Mathare, the second-largest slum in Kenya, and her four children were among the latest victims of an arson attack that destroyed their one-room shack. The attack is suspected to have been carried out by Mungiki sect members, many of whom are believed to live in the slum.

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/ 7 August 2006

LRA calls for ceasefire

Crucial peace talks between the Ugandan government and the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army will resume on Monday in Juba, according to Riek Machar, the chief mediator and southern Sudanese vice-president. "I am optimistic that this time they will come up with a positive result because I have seen the commitment of the Ugandan people," Machar told reporters.

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/ 21 September 2005

Oil is about everything

As thousands of angry Nigerians took to the streets to protest against 30% hikes in fuel price recently, across West Africa some of the world’s poorest were also feeling the pinch, struggling to cope with the record-breaking cost of crude and its knock-on effect on basic goods. Oil prices rocketed from about $40 at the beginning of the year to reach a record high of more than $70 on August 30 this year.