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Africa

African press review 5 March 2016

media DR

Cheaters have become strikers in Kenya, the Egyptian government is facing a rice crisis and South Sudanese are at risk after a study linked water pollution to oil production. All that, and more, in today's African press review.

We start with regional paper The East African, which is headlining on South Sudan and pollution. The paper reports on a worrying study carried out by Sign of Hope, a right group.

"Dangerous heavy metals used in oil production" in Northern South Sudan "have leaked into drinking water sources used by 180,000 people with life-threatening health risks" explains the daily.

The water was apparently "highly intoxicated with pollutants such as lead and barium". The NGO carried out tests or hair samples from 96 people currently living around the Thar Jath oil processing plant.

The area we are talking about has been badly impacted by the two years long civil war.

The country "is estimated to produce around 150,000 barrels a day, down from 350,000 at independence in 2011" explains The East African. Oil remains the biggest export of South Sudan, despite the slump in global prices meaning Juba lost money last year.

This comes at a time when the UN warned that " the country's humanitarian crisis is worsening" worries the paper.

The Egypt Independent reports on rice this morning. "Egypt has more rice than it needs but little available for those who need it most" writes the paper.

Here is what's happening: the government is now paying twice as much than three months ago, because "traders are holding back supplies and expect prices to rise further following the authorities' failure to replenish its stockpiles".

And that's crazy, because while some commodities have been in short supply recently, Egyptian farmers are actually producing a surplus of rice.

This means there's currently one million tonnes of rice sitting somewhere in Egypt. But as the paper puts it, "the more desperate the government gets in its attempts to buy rice, the more traders are likely to hold back".

"Growing shortages and rising prices carry immense political risk for President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, as tens of millions of the country's poorest rely on state subsidies for their basic food" explains The Egypt Independent.

Some Kenyan students are boycotting school reports The Daily Nation.

We talked about this story yesterday, where it appeared that the results of more than five thousand Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education candidates had been cancelled due to irregularities.

According to today's paper, some of those students are hitting back and protesting over the cancellation of their results.

"Teachers’ unions also called for the disbandment of the Kenya National Examinations Council" explaining "no student or teacher should be punished at all".

Classes where for example cancelled in Mandera yesterday.

"The 2015 examination recorded the highest cheating rate, at 70 percent, and most of it was due to collusion" explains The Nation.

What's more, "the cheating was so widespread that some schools had their entire results cancelled". 171 people have already been arrested over for "collusion" while the authorities are promising they'll be prosecuted swiftly.

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