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African press review 29 July 2014


Nigeria is reeling from Boko Haram attacks and the Ebola virus outbreak, South Africa welcomes the end of a month-long strike and Sweden ups aid to Uganda.

The Nigerian Sun reports that the double blasts in Kano mark a new low in the conflict with Boko Haram. Two women hid home-made bombs in their veils and attacked a trade show and a petrol station.

According to the Premium Times, President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the attacks, calling the tactics "a wicked exploitation of the girl-child". He promised to beef up security in the area and increase partnership with surrounding countries.

Dossier: Sharia wars - Boko Haram v the military in northern Nigeria

Still in Nigeria, the Ebola outbreak is dominating headlines. The Tribune's front page reads: "Fifty-nine persons under watch", referring to passengers on the Liberian flight that carried a victim of the virus last week to Lagos.

The Tribune hints at the epidemic's likely economic toll on the country, as the Togolese airline ASky was ordered to suspend activities in Nigeria. The airline operated 80 flights into Lagos per week. According to the paper, the news did not go down well with management at ASky. National air authorities will be contacting other airlines to establish protocol on screening passengers.

Meanwhile the Punch reports on outrage over a local pastor who claims to be able to cure Ebola. The pastor was lampooned on social media for saying he could heal victims through touch alone. Commentators called his proposal a "suicidal prescription" and invited him to try his technique in Liberia, where death tolls are rising.

South Africa's Daily Maverick welcomes a deal struck by the country's largest labour union after a month-long strike. Low-income workers in the steel and metal industries have negotiated a 10% raise in wages. Once the agreement is vetted by labour ministry, this will apply to all companies. Union leaders hailed the deal as a "massive victory".

According to the Maverick, the strike cost the metals and engineering industry 300 million rand a day. It also came not long after a five-month lockdown in the platinum belt, which knocked the country’s economy.

The Maverick says the strikes were marred by occasional violence, with some intimidating non-striking workers and vandalising businesses. Going back to work - at least for now - is a welcome respite for all parties.

But Business Day reports that not everyone has welcomed the deal. Smaller businesses have said they couldn't afford to sign the agreement and would be starting lockouts at workplaces.

Uganda's government newspaper New Vision has bright news for mothers and children - the Swedish government has renewed funding, roughly 150 million euros, that will go towards improving their health.

Earlier this spring, Sweden announced aid cuts to Uganda along with other European countries, after a controversial anti-homosexuality law was passed.

The decision to resume aid was welcomed by Ugandan authorities, who stated that legislation had been misinterpreted by development partners.  Sweden's ambassador told the Daily Monitor that his country continues to support human rights and freedom from violence and that Swedish aid Uganda “will change" accordingly.

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