We begin in Nigeria, where Punch has an update on the long-running graft trial in Italy of current and former managers of oil giants Shell and ENI Nigeria in connection with suspected bribes worth more than 1 billion euros to secure an exploration license for an offshore oil field.
The paper reports that on Wednesday, Italy's Supreme Court threw out an appeal by nine current and former executives or contractors of Shell to stymie the trial opened at a Milan court in 2011 citing procedural errors. According to Punch, the offshore oilfields targeted in the scam contain as estimated nine billion barrels of oil.
In Zimbabwe, the State-owned Herald welcomes latest World Bank forecast about the country's economy, in which it revises the Gross Domestic Product upwards, from the 1.8 percent projected in January last year to 2,7 percent. That's lower than the 3, 4 percent growth rate estimated last year.
But as the publication observes President Emmerson Mnangagwa remains optimistic that the economy will grow on the strength of Government’s economic reforms which seek to transform Zimbabwe into a middle income economy by 2030.
In Kenya, the Standard says that football fans in the country have set the Internet on fire in the run up to the World Cup, kicking off today with men and women trading jokes over the implications of the tournament.
According to the newspaper, one woman wondered online why men cannot watch the games from home, preferring instead to go to clubs. The Standard says that other women chose to be honest, revealing that they are excited even though they understand nothing about football -- admitting that their only interest in the month-long tournament is spotting attractive players.
The Standard also claims that men, on the other hand, have dictated humorous rules to their partners -- including “no talking during the game”, “the remote control belongs to me for the whole month”, “you should not pass in front of the TV while I am watching the game, you better crawl” and “make sure you don’t ask silly questions like is this Chelsea versus England”
In Zimbabwe, The Chronicle leads with the saga of a wife-basher who pleaded with a Bulawayo court not to give him a custodial sentence as he would not want to miss the World Cup which kicks off in Russia this Thursday. The paper doesn't says if Collias Mutungamiri's plea for a hefty fine instead was granted.
And in South Africa, the Times sympathizes with Morocco over the loss of its bid to host the 2026 football world Cup after they were beaten by a joint offer from the United States, Mexico and Canada. The paper claims that the North Americans outmaneuvered Morocco in every single area scoring 134 votes against 65 for the Kingdom, consluding that the" dice were surely stacked against the ‘African’ bid".