The weather forecast
The South African government on Friday welcomed a decision by Standard and Poor's to leave the country's credit rating on hold, but complained that the retained negative outlook was unfair. The Treasury Department said S and P's decision to keep the "BBB" rating with negative outlook "did not take adequate account of progress made" in addressing economic vulnerabilities. South Africa's poor economic growth, weak exports, fragile government budget, volatile labour market and moribund economic reforms have made it a candidate for a cut. Still the rating agency warned that a downgrade could come "if external imbalances continue to increase, or funding for South Africa's current account or fiscal deficits becomes less available."
Bangui (Central African Republic) (AFP) - Heavy gunfire was heard for several hours late Thursday at a military base near the capital of strife-torn Central African Republic, a French military source told AFP. "There was automatic gunfire, with heavy artillery, during several hours at the army base at the airport," the source said on condition of anonymity. The military base at the Mpoko airport in the north of Bangui hosts French and African Union troops that have been sent to the country under a UN mandate to try and stop the chaos in the notoriously unstable country. The Central African Republic spiralled into chaos after a March coup in which the mainly Muslim Seleka rebel group overthrew president Francois Bozize.
Madagascans voted Friday in a presidential run-off aimed at pulling the Indian Ocean island out of the political and economic doldrums and restoring democracy. For the past five years it's been truly horrible," said Fanjatiana Ramanantsoa as she stood in line to vote at a primary school in the capital Antananarivo. Madagascar's main political rivals -- interim leader Andry Rajoelina and the man he ousted, Marc Ravalomanana -- were barred from running amid international pressure over fears of a return to violence. Robinson Jean Louis, 61, a doctor and former health minister, is seen as a slight favourite after winning 21.16 percent in the first round.
Tangiers (Morocco) (AFP) - In the poor Tangiers suburb of Boukhalef, cramped apartment blocks house hundreds of sub-Saharan migrants dreaming of reaching Europe, but tragedy has turned it into a flashpoint for racial tensions in Morocco. During a police raid earlier this month, a young Cameroonian called Cedric was chased onto the roof of one of the four-storey buildings and then fell to his death. It was the second such death in two months, after a Senegalese man fell from his fourth-floor flat in October during another police raid. After the second incident, angry fellow migrants carried the Cameroonian's body through Boukhalef's streets protesting police "crimes" against their ranks.