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South Africa undertakers on strike amid Covid-19

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

Funeral parlour (archive)
Getty Images
The government has imposed strict rules for funerals during the Covid-19 pandemic

About 3,000 undertakers have gone on strike in South Africa demanding better pay and working conditions.

They are refusing to collect bodies from homes and hospitals - and to hold burials.

Their union is calling for the government to set up a coronavirus relief fund.

The cost of burials and cremations has increased by up to 25% since the beginning of the pandemic, due to the need for personal protective equipment, sanitiser and other items.

The authorities say they are worried that the strike will cause significant risk to public health.

Read more:

Deciding who lives and dies in a Cape Town township

Train drags vehicles in deadly crash in Nigeria

Crash site
Lasema
A minibus with passengers was dragged by the train for several metres

One person has died and two others have been seriously injured in a collision involving three vehicles and a train in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, authorities say.

The Lagos state emergency agency (Lasema) said the dead person was one of two passengers in an SUV that collided with a moving train in the Oshodi area on Monday morning.

It is unclear how the accident happened, but it seems the three vehicles were trying to cross the rail track and were unable to make it in time.

Two of the vehicles - the SUV and a minibus with six passengers - were then dragged for several metres along the rail track before the train came to a stop.

Many sustained minor injuries and were treated on the scene but those seriously injured have been taken to hospital, Lasema said.

The accident caused a two-hour delay on train services along the route, the BBC’s Andre Gift reports from Lagos.

Oshodi has the busiest bus stations in Lagos and is a major interchange for those coming from the suburbs and neighbouring states.

Zambia's good-luck fish being stitched up

Kennedy Gondwe

BBC News, Lusaka

The remains of a popular good-luck fish that died two weeks ago, sending Zambians into mourning, are being stitched together after they were found cut in pieces at the residence of a worker at Copperbelt University (CBU) in the mining city of Kitwe.

The bream fish, affectionately known as Mafishi, was a resident of the university's pond.

Its death led to students lighting candles and marching on the campus to mourn its death. President Edgar Lungu and other politicians joined in mourning the fish.

Students said they wanted to embalm it, but last week the fish went missing from the freezer where it was kept following its death.

Fish
Edgar Lungu/Facebook
The fish was said to have lived in the university's pond for more than 20 years

The university management launched an investigation, and the fish was found in a refrigerator at the home of a worker. Its scales had been removed and it had been cut into pieces, presumably to be cooked and eaten, Zambia’s national broadcaster reports.

CBU Vice-Chancellor Professor Naison Ngoma told the BBC that Mafishi’s remains were now being worked on for preservation.

“The restoration exercise has started but some parts are missing. They are probably in some people’s bellies somewhere,” he said.

“And as things stand, we don’t know where Mafishi will rest because our colleagues at the National Heritage Conservation want him. He will probably rest in eternity in Lusaka.”

Mafishi, meaning "Big Fish" in the local Bemba language, was thought to be at least 22 years old and had lived in the university's pond for more than 20 years, student leader Lawrence Kasonde previously told the BBC.

Some students used to pay homage to the fish before exams, believing it brought them good luck while others saw it as a stress-reliever.

Hotel Rwanda hero charged in court with terrorism

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

Paul Rusesabagina, portrayed as a hero in a Hollywood movie about Rwanda"s 1994 genocide, talks to his lawyer Rugaza David inside the Kicyikuri primarily court in Kigali, Rwanda September 14, 2020
Reuters
Paul Rusesabagina has appeared in court for the first time since his arrest

The man portrayed as a hero in a Hollywood movie about the Rwandan genocide has been charged with terrorism, murder and other serious crimes.

Paul Rusesabagina, who denies the charges, was brought to court under heavy security in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.

He is the leader of an opposition group which is said to have an armed wing which stages attacks on Rwanda.

Mr Rusesabagina, who's a strong critic of President Paul Kagame, had been living abroad.

An ethnic Hutu, he became well known after the 2004 film depicted his efforts to save hundreds of Tutsis at a hotel where he was a manager.



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