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African press review 23 August 2013

We take our cue from Egypt where the release from detention of ex-president Hosni Mubarak and a crackdown on the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood is fuelling further tensions in the violence-racked Arab country.

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Egypt Independent reports that beards and the women’s full face veil, the niqab, have become a liability in the country after the military stepped up its crackdown against supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

Dossier: Revolution in Egypt

The paper reports that the campaign has been fed by round-the-clock broadcast on television of bearded gunmen firing on security forces.

The Independent says that local media and the government have also labelled the Muslim Brotherhood  terrorists.

The paper observes that as the crackdown continues, some preachers have offered “religious dispensation” to Muslims who want to shave their beards to avoid being targeted.

Daily News Egypt highlights the launch of a new Facebook campaign urging women to stand up for their rights. The operation codenamed “Handles Fasateen” or “We Will Wear Dresses” is set to start on Sunday 24 August and encourages women to wear a dress or skirt as they go about their business.

Al Masry al Youn reports a mass exodus of tourists from the country’s Red Sea resorts.

According to the paper, 18,000 foreigners left Hurghada International airport on board 130 flights to Europe and Russia over the past two days. The Cairo daily says the occupancy rate of hotels has dropped below 50 per cent, forcing some employers to place their staff on paid leave while others simply just laid off seasonal workers.

South Africa’s Mail and Guardian describes Egypt’s future as utterly bleak, as ex-president Hosni Mubarak’s release adds more volatility to the political turmoil in the country.

The Nigerian Tribune says the country’s future now hinges on the moral courage of the youthful Tamarod movement that started the democratic rebellion and the ability of the "spineless" secular intelligentsia to learn from the mistakes of the past.

Also in Nigeria, Punch raises the alarm about the extent of graft in the country. This is after the government announced a recorded revenue shortfall of about 573 million euros in the month of July alone due mainly to the theft of crude oil.

Leadership reports the landmark verdict handed down by a court in Gombe in north Nigeria. The judge ordered a 25-year-old undergraduate to pay his ex-fiancé 340 euros in damages after their two-year cohabitation as lovers. Miss Binta accused David of putting her in the family way twice and getting her to abort the pregnancies and of failing to marry her after using her for two full years.

In Kenya Standard Digital reports that an astonishing 465,000 unsafe abortions were procured by Kenyan women last year. The findings of a national survey published on Wednesday also attracted comments from the Daily Nation. The paper notes with disbelief that 45 per cent of women diagnosed with severe abortion complications were aged 19 or younger and were students or divorcees.

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