African press review 3 August 2011

Text by: Carla Westerheide
3 min

Debate on the death sentence in Zimbabwe. How an Opel Astra won a South African journalist a cheeseburger. Can wealth ruin your health? And a 20-million-year-old ape's skull is found in Uganda.

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We start in Zimbabwe. The Herald reports on the death penalty and how legal experts and even some religious leaders are calling for that type of punishment to be abolished. They quote one lawyer who says “its irreversibility makes it even worse”.

The Catholic church however is split on the issue. While some clergy argue that no man should ever kill another man, others say preaching justice is more important.

The article also says that there are currently 55 murderers awaiting execution in Zimbabwe. But courts seem to want to wait and see how the situation unfolds before ruling on their fate.

South African paper The Star published a fun piece as the country inaugurated a train from Johannesburg to Pretoria. Two journalists made a bet about who was faster.

They left at the same time - one took his car, the other left for the station to take the train to Pretoria. The car arrived 15 minutes earlier despite rush-hour traffic.

The main reason, the paper found was that getting to and from the train station was difficult. The article also says that taking a car is actually cheaper. A bet that was worth a cheeseburger.

Kenya’s Daily Nation asks if being rich is bad for your health. The World Health Organisation has published a report saying that if you make a decent living, you are more likely to die of heart disease.

This isn’t true for the wealthy rich, but for the “average rich”. People who have a lot of money pay attention to what they eat, choosing healthy - and often more expensive - foods, while those with a medium income will eat more fast food than they should. This is true on a global scale.

That means that in a poor country the wealthy are more affected, while in a rich nation, the poor will be more likely to die from “Western diseases”. In 2008 13 million people died of  strokes or another heart-related disease. One million were from low-income countries, two million from high-income countries, and 10 million from middle-income countries.

Uganda has made a big contribution to understanding human history. This is in Uganda’s Daily Monitor. Researchers discovered the oldest ape skull known to man buried beneath volcano ash, dating back some 20 million years.

The same team has been working in the region for 25 years and hopes that this skull will be the key to determine more accurately when our brains developed enough for speech, etc, separating us from the great ape.

A cast of the skull will be displayed in a museum in Uganda, the original is coming to Paris for further studies before being placed in a vault.

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