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African press review 22 September 2014

With at least two police officers dead and seven injured following yesterday's bomb attack in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, this morning's Egyptian papers are, tragically, full of explosions.

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According to the Egypt Independent, four bombs exploded simultaneously in the cities of Tanta and Mahalla yesterday afternoon.

In Tanta, 90 kilometres north of Cairo, a bomb exploded outside the Delta Hospital, a second one went off outside the Police Officers Hotel and a third exploded in al-Galaa Square.  In Mahalla, in the Nile delta, a bomb exploded in the street. Civil protection forces and bomb experts have been combing the surrounding areas.

Dossier: Revolution in Egypt

The main story in the EgyptIndependent reports that the Alexandria Court of Appeals yesterday accepted a challenge submitted by the defense of political activist Mahinour el-Masry to suspend a prison sentence of two years and a fine of 50,000 Egyptian pounds - about 5,300 euros - for violating protest laws.

The court reduced the jail term to six months but upheld the fine. Mahinour el-Masry was charged with demonstrating without permission in front of the Alexandria Criminal Court in December 2013 during the trial of police officers suspected of having killed another activist, Khaled Saeed, while he was in custody.

Mahinour el-Masry is a lawyer and human rights activist whos has been jailed under the presidencies of Hosni Mubarak and Mohamed Morsi, as well as during the current era of Abdul Fatah al-Sissi.

According to South African financial paper, BusinessDay, President Jacob Zuma must act quickly to stave off pressure on the rand, which weakened late last week after Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus's surprise announcement that she would not stay on after her current five-year term ends in November.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

It is widely thought the successor to Marcus will be appointed from within the Bank, which would ensure policy continuity. Analysts say Zuma should reassure financial markets by announcing the new appointment soon.

Marcus broke with protocol by revealing her plans not to serve a second term in reply to a question when announcing the monetary policy committee's decision to keep the central bank rate steady at 5.75%.

Also in BusinessDay, a report that the percentage of young black people in skilled positions has fallen since 1994 because of fundamental flaws in the system of black economic empowerment, this according to the head of the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

According to a 20-year review of skills and employment in the 25-to-34-year age group published by Statistics South Africa this morning, less than 18 per cent of blacks have skilled jobs, which is a lower percentage than 20 years ago.

Critics say says the government's demand for quick results has hampered investment in the longer and more important transformation that comes with skills development.

BusinessDay's African pages carry a report that Sierra Leone's Ebola measures have drawn criticism.

Sierra Leone’s 72-hour nationwide shutdown entered its final day on Sunday, says BusinessDay, as criticism grew that the extreme action aimed at containing the spread of the Ebola virus was no more than a poorly planned publicity stunt.

Most of the west African country’s 6-million people have been confined to their homes since midnight on Friday, with only health professionals and security forces exempt.

Almost 30,000 volunteers are going door-to-door to educate locals and hand out soap, in an exercise expected to lead to scores more Ebola sufferers and bodies being discovered. Independent observers have voiced concern about the quality of advice being given out, saying that many of the volunteers are too young and are not carrying the essential message efficiently.

The top story in the Kenyan Standard says that MPs from the ruling Jubilee coalition are scheduled to meet this week to discuss the summons calling President Uhuru Kenyatta to appear before the International Criminal Court in the Dutch city of The Hague.

Judges want to question Kenyatta over claims that his government has withheld documents requested by prosecutors. The Standard says a majority of the MPs want the president to snub the summons, citing a resolution by the African Union that no Head of State shall be required to appear before the international court while in office.

The Kenyan president is called to appear before the ICC on 8 October. Uhuru Kenyatta is accused of complicity in organising the violence which followed the 2007 Kenyan presidential election.

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