Togolese innovators turn the world’s junk into robots

Togo imports an estimated 500,000 tonnes of e-waste a year, some of it can be a health hazard, but it also inspires local innovators and provides jobs, as Waihiga Mwaura reports. It looks like a spider and it moves like one, but this robot creature cannot just be dismissed as a toy. It is also a symbol of the digital revolution brewing in one of West Africa’s smallest countries. “I made this from a [discarded] 3D printer,” Ousia Foli-Bebe says, pointing as his robotic arachnid. “The plastic retrieved from the…

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Marijuana, mountains and money: How Lesotho is cashing in

Lesotho is aiming to make money from the booming medicinal marijuana industry, but the BBC’s Vumani Mkhize says the southern African nation already has an unheralded illicit trade in the drug for recreational use. Green dust swirls around Mampho Thulo as she uses her hands to scoop dried marijuana leaves from a massive heap on the floor of her home into a big linen bag. She has been cultivating the prized crop in her scenic village of Mapoteng for as long as she can remember. Seventy kilometres (43 miles) north-east…

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Alisson: Brazil goalkeeper hopes for better luck against Swiss

Brazil goalkeeper Alisson is hoping for revenge when his side meet Switzerland in Rostov. The game will see the goalkeeper and a number of his team-mates line-up against Swiss players who ended their World Cup hopes almost a decade ago. In 2009 the Swiss knocked a Brazil team featuring Alisson, Neymar, Philippe Coutinho and Casemiro out of their U17 World Cup group en-route to winning it. “That wasn’t a very happy time for us,” he said. “They had a very strong side.” All four of those Brazil players are likely…

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Iowa approves ‘most restrictive abortion bill in US’

The US state of Iowa has approved an abortion law banning most abortions once a foetal heartbeat is detected. Republican lawmakers passed the bill in back-to-back votes, sending it to the governor’s desk to sign into law. If it comes into effect the bill will ban most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, and rights groups say it will be the country’s most restrictive. Critics argue it will make having an abortion illegal before most women even realise they are pregnant. Iowa’s Republican Governor Kim Reynolds has not said if…

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Kenya bans Rafiki ahead of Cannes debut over lesbian scenes

The first Kenyan film to debut at the Cannes Film Festival has been banned in Kenya due to its lesbian storyline. The film Rafiki, which means “friend” in Swahili, traces the love story between two young women. The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) said the film “seeks to legitimize lesbian romance”. KFCB warned that anyone found in possession of the film would be in breach of the law in Kenya, where gay sex is punishable by 14 years. The film’s director Wanuri Kahiu told the BBC: “I really had hoped…

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