Is Africa going backwards on democracy?

Image copyright AFP Image caption The recent election in DR Congo was widely condemned More and more elections are being held in Africa however analysts dismiss many as being „lawful but illegitimate”. Although studies show that a majority of Africans still want to live in democracies, an increasing number are looking to alternative, autocratic models, reports the BBC's Dickens Olewe.
In the last three years African countries have registered an overall decline in the quality of political participation and rule of law, analysts say.
„Today there are almost the same number of defective democracies (15) as there are hard-line autocracies (16), among the continent's 54 states,” Nic Cheeseman, Professor of Democracy at Birmingham University, concludes from his analysis of the last three years.
Nigeria, which will hold its postponed election on Saturday, is among those listed as a „defective democracy”.
Despite the challenges, at least 68% of Africans prefer to live in open and fre..

Singapore HIV data leak shakes a vulnerable community

Image copyright Getty Images Just a few weeks ago, „Joyce” received a phone call that threw her life in the air.
Joyce is HIV positive, and was told in the call that this information – along with details of more than 14,000 other infected people in Singapore – had been made public in a massive data breach.
„I'm still very shocked and sad at how this happened,” Joyce told the BBC.
„How is it that the place that I thought was safe is now not safe for us?”
The scandal has gripped the Singaporean media for weeks.
The government has blamed the leak on the American partner of a local doctor, who had access to the records kept on all known HIV-positive people in Singapore.
Authorities say the leak has been contained, but this is little relief to a vulnerable community in a society that continues to stigmatise the condition.
Image copyright AFP Image caption The data leak raised questions about how safely Singapore stores data on its citizens Joyce, who didn't want her real name..

Trump-Kim summit: The sorry fate of North Korea’s diplomat defectors

Image copyright ED JONES Image caption North Korean defector activists like to float supplies with news of the South towards the North – increasingly something of a dilemma for the authorities in Seoul North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is about to attend his second summit with US President Donald Trump. But as the North inches its way out of near-total isolation and tentatively engages with the world, the question of what to do about high-profile North Korean diplomatic defectors becomes that much thornier.
It can't be easy. Deciding to defect from North Korea can put your life and those you love in danger. For Pyongyang's diplomats, who have enjoyed a life of prestige and power, the danger in defecting is that much more real.
These men and women are the Juche ideology foreign front line.
Their main role is to raise capital for the regime, but although they are the elite in their home country, they are unlikely to receive such a privileged position anywhere else. Ambassadors ..

Nigeria elections 2019: Is the country prepared?

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Mahmood Yakubu, who chairs the Independent National Electoral Commission, which postponed Saturday's elections Last Saturday, 16 February, elections in Nigeria were halted just hours before polling had been due to get under way.
It was a huge inconvenience for millions of Nigerians, many of whom had travelled long distances to vote.
The poll will now be held a week later, on Saturday, 23 February.
With the extra time to prepare, are things now in place for the vote?
Why was the poll postponed?Both the main parties, the governing All Peoples Congress (APC) and the People's Democratic Party (PDP), condemned the delay and blamed each other for meddling in the elections.
Nigeria election 2019: Who benefits from poll delay? Muhammadu Buhari vows to deal with vote riggers This isn't the first time voters in Nigeria have been left in the lurch. It happened in the two previous presidential elections, in 2011 and 2015, and has led ma..

24 photographers document 24 hours

Image copyright Helen Chambers Image caption 00.00 Helen Chambers: Looking to London Sixteen years ago, a group of 24 photographers set out to document every hour of New Year's Day, every year, for 24 years.
Image copyright Claire Spreadbury Image caption 01:00 Claire Spreadbury This year, their work has been curated by American photojournalist Ed Kashi and is on show in Soho Square, London, from Sunday, 24 February, until 19 March.
„To capture life in a 24-hour period, especially what life is these days, presents a great challenge,” says Kashi.
„The visual representation of this concept has been poignantly, and in some cases poetically, reflected in this set of images.
„The variety of situations, people and atmospheres give a vibrant and visually dynamic feeling to the times we're living in.”
Image copyright Wendy Aldiss Image caption 06:00 Wendy Aldiss Image copyright Spei Image caption 09:00 Spei Image copyright SARAH LUCY BROWN Image caption 13:00 Sarah Lucy Brown Image..

Why nations face dilemma over IS fighters’ children

Image copyright AFP Image caption A French woman walks with her child in a camp in northern Syria Thousands of children from around the world remain trapped in Syria facing an uncertain and dangerous future, a charity has warned.
Save the Children says it has found more than 2,500 children from 30 countries in three camps alone.
They are being held away from the camps' populations, in segregated areas with foreign women believed to be former Islamic State (IS) members.
The warning comes as the debate over what to do with these children rages.
The issue was brought to the fore after a number of women came forward to say they regretted their actions and wanted to return to their home countries, including the UK, US and France, so they could raise their children in peace.
In response, the UK and US have barred two mothers from returning. But what does this mean for their children, and the thousands of others – some just days old – caught in an international battle?
For many, it is c..