: News from Africa and the Caribbean

Daily news headlines from Africa and the Caribbean aggregated from various news sources worldwide, and organized by countries and topics.

African Headlines

South Africa: Unidentified stones spark 'diamond rush'
Many of those digging in KwaHlathi village in South Africa believe the stones are precious jewels. | 6/15/21 10:24 AM
Pro14 becomes United Rugby Championship as South Africa sides join tournament
South Africa's four Super Rugby teams will join the Pro14, with the league renamed the United Rugby Championship. | 6/15/21 8:29 AM
France to scale down West Africa military operations
French forces have been helping countries in the Sahel region to fight militants. | 6/10/21 8:02 PM
INTERVIEW Africa’s Business Heroes Awarding $1.5-Million to Africa’s Next Top Tech Entrepreneurs
The worldwide pandemic has spurred digital transformation across the African continent. Tech is booming in Africa, it is all too clear to see. Now more than ever, African entrepreneurs and startup founders are innovating new waves into the ocean of technology. All they need is funding. Enter: The Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) initiative – Alibaba […] | 6/10/21 11:19 AM
Africa desperately short of COVID vaccine
Cape Town, South Africa (AP) -- In the global race to vaccinate people against COVID-19, Africa is tragically at the back of the pack. In fact, it has barely gotten out of the starting blocks. In South Africa, which has the continent's... | 6/9/21 3:27 PM
SA, Nigeria & Kenya: Top E-Commerce Drivers in Sub-Saharan Africa
A recent Visa report has shown that the top market contributors to e-commerce in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) over the last 3 years were South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya, with Ghana also showing growth, having replaced Kenya in the top three contributors in 2020. SSA may be one of the smallest regions of e-commerce globally, but […] | 6/9/21 7:00 AM
TB Joshua: The Nigerian outsider who became a global televangelist star
TB Joshua, who has died aged 57, was one of Africa's most influential preachers. | 6/8/21 1:29 AM
TB Joshua: Influential Nigerian preacher dies at 57
TB Joshua was one of Africa's most prominent evangelists, with top politicians among his followers. | 6/6/21 9:23 AM

Caribbean Headlines

How ‘Sea of Thieves’ Brought ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ to Its World in New Expansion (EXCLUSIVE)
Jack Sparrow and Davy Jones are finally coming to “Sea of Thieves.” On Sunday, during Microsoft’s E3 showcase, developer Rare announced that it had officially partnered with Disney for a “Pirates of the Caribbean”-themed expansion, “A Pirate’s Life,” a free update hitting the multiplayer game on June 22. It is, as Rare executive producer Joe […] | 6/13/21 5:20 PM
Covid: Celebrity Millennium cruise guests test positive for virus
Royal Caribbean restarted cruises in June after they were suspended for more than a year. | 6/11/21 6:39 PM
Shark Attack Thriller ‘The Wreck’ Sets Malta Shoot, Altitude to Sell at Virtual Cannes Market (EXCLUSIVE)
Altitude Film Sales has boarded high concept survival thriller “The Wreck” and will introduce the project to buyers at the upcoming Cannes virtual market. Based on a screenplay by Nick Saltrese (“Jetski,” “A Prayer Before Dawn”), the film will follow a group of old college friends who reunite on a Caribbean scuba diving trip exploring […] | 6/11/21 8:22 AM
How ‘In the Heights’ Could Flip the Script on Hollywood’s Sketchy History With Latino Culture

In “Carnaval Del Barrio,” one of the many show-stopping numbers in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In The Heights,” the alleys of Washington Heights in the northern tip of Manhattan are draped in flags from all the countries its immigrant residents come from as the cast cries out “¡Alza la bandera!” — “Raise the flag!” The flags of Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic and even Jamaica all fly as the characters express their pride not just in their nationalities, but in the community they call home.

“My mom is Dominican-Cuban, my dad is from Chile and P.R.” sings the gossipy salon worker Carla. “Which means I’m Chile-Dominica-Curican…but I just say I’m from Queens!”

That awareness of the wide spectrum of Latino immigrant cultures is present in every second of Jon M. Chu’s film adaptation of the Tony-winning Broadway musical, from the Puerto Rican piraguas served during hot summer days to the Cuban guayaberas and Panama hats worn by the dancers as Abuela Claudia (Olga Mendiz) reflects on her mother’s decision to leave Havana in the song “Paciencia Y Fe.” They are, to quote Claudia, “little details that tell the world that we are not invisible.”

Chon Noriega, professor at the UCLA School of Film, Television and Theater and former director of the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, said that “In The Heights” is a welcome counter to Hollywood’s decades-long tendency to not only stereotype Latinos as maids, gang-bangers and sex symbols but also to homogenize the various cultures of Latin America even in films that show that culture in a positive light.

It’s a problem that dates back to the end of the silent film era in the early 1930s, when Hollywood took advantage of the rise of “talkies” and made films in Spanish. Those films, along with imports from the rising Mexican cinema scene, gave birth to Spanish-only cinemas like Los Angeles’ Azteca Theater. But Noriega says that unlike their Mexico City counterparts, the Spanish films from Hollywood didn’t care much for cultural accuracy.

“They would be casting films where all the characters came from different regions of Mexico and different countries in Latin America and Caribbean, and Spanish-speaking audience would be laughing at the screen because they are all speaking the wrong dialects and idioms for those characters’ backgrounds,” he said. “By comparison, the films coming out of Mexico City at the time would shape the characters around the actors playing them; so if they cast a famous Cuban singer, then her character would be Cuban as well.”

Even Hollywood films that touched on real issues faced by Latino immigrants had their own problems. The acclaimed 1961 adaptation of “West Side Story” turned “America,” one of the most popular songs from the Leonard Bernstein-Arthur Laurents-Stephen Sondheim musical, into an exchange between the film’s Puerto Rican characters over the promise and discrimination faced by immigrants at the hands of a racist white culture, all packaged in an iconic song-and-dance number that remains one of the most famous in film history.

But even this came with Hollywood discrimination, as many of those Puerto Rican characters were played by non-Latino actors like Natalie Wood and George Chakiris, all of whom wore heavy makeup to darken their skin. Even Rita Moreno, arguably Puerto Rico’s most famous actor, had to darken her skin in what would become an Oscar-winning performance.

“I remember saying to the makeup man one day ? because it was like putting mud on my face, it was really dark and I’m a fairly fair Hispanic ? and I said to the makeup man one day ‘My God! Why do we all have to be the same color? Puerto Ricans are French and Spanish…’ And it’s true, we are very many different colors, we’re Taino indian, we are black some of us,” Moreno said in a 2017 interview on the podcast “In The Thick.”

“And the makeup man actually said to me, ‘What? Are you a racist?’” she added. “I was so flabbergasted that I couldn’t come back with an answer.” 

Ironically, “In The Heights” shared filming space in New York City with Steven Spielberg’s upcoming remake of “West Side Story,” which features actual Latinos playing the Puerto Rican characters and teased more depictions of their immigrant community in its trailer than the 1961 version had. While Maria, Anita and Bernardo filmed their scenes in the original film in apartments and on rooftops built on soundstages, Spielberg’s version was largely shot in Washington Heights, which was transformed to look like the neighborhood did in the 1950s when it was transitioning from a largely Irish community to one filled with Latino immigrants.

Noriega said he found it ironic that “In The Heights” and “West Side Story” are both getting film adaptations this year as he sees Miranda’s musical as a response to the story between the Jets and the Sharks and other stories that base their depiction of Latino communities around their relationship to the larger white community in America.

“What ‘In The Heights’ does so differently is that it doesn’t treat Latino communities as part of a social problem, while so many films dating back to the 1930s that focus on the Latino population not only homogenize it but also treat it as an issue…as a group of people that has to assimilate into American society,” Noreiga said. “The problem itself may not be Latino people but it revolves around them, and so Latinos have to explain themselves and their reason for being where they are. ‘In The Heights’ just treats these people and the home they’ve created as a given.”

It’s the kind of message that he feels Hollywood should take going forward, but first there have to be more Latino writers and directors on studio call sheets. In a recent study by UCLA, only 25% of writing and directing positions for 2020 films were filled by artists of color — just 3% of them Latinos.

“We’ve seen a lot of progress in other areas for diversity, but it is still really rare for Latinos to write or direct a major studio film,” Noriega said. “And as hopefully more Latinos get hired, they are able to bring with them the nuance and detail about Latino life that only comes from their perspective.” | 6/11/21 12:26 AM
Young Devyn Turns Up At Her ‘Baby Goat’ EP Private Dinner
New York rapper Young Devyn is feeling the love from her label. The 19-year-old rap artist lights up Instagram Story with clips of herself looking at a themed private dinner at Brooklyn’s famous Kokomo Caribbean restaurant. There’s an intimate look at...

[Visit for more information] | 6/10/21 10:04 PM
PAHO urges Caribbean to prepare for 'dual threat' of hurricane season and COVID
Washington, United States (CMC) -- The director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr Carissa F Etienne has called on the authorities in the Caribbean to be fully prepared for the 2021 hurricane season. Dr Etienne warned that the... | 6/9/21 3:34 PM
Report: Armie Hammer Checks Into Rehab

Armie Hammer has reportedly checked into rehab in Florida as he faces rape allegations in Los Angeles.

Hammer has forcefully denied the accusations, and had been living in the Caribbean where his estranged wife Elizabeth Chambers and two children are quarantining.

According to Vanity Fair, Hammer left the Cayman Islands late last month to seek treatment at an “in-patient facility for drug, alcohol, and sex issues” in Orlando.

The magazine says Armie reached out to Chambers in May asking for help, and that she and the family are supportive of him getting treatment.

Hammer and Chambers’ lawyers declined to comment for the article, but a Hammer family friend said the star “is committed to getting healthy and having custody of his kids,” adding, “This is a clear sign that he is taking back control [of] his life and knows that this [is] a step towards his overall well being.”

Back in March, a woman named Effie stepped forward with serious allegations of mental, emotional, and sexual abuse against Hammer.

Variety reported Effie, who reportedly had a four-year relationship with Hammer, spoke out at a press conference with her lawyer Gloria Allred, saying of the incident, “I thought he was going to kill me.”

“On April 24, 2017, Armie Hammer violently raped me for over four hours in Los Angeles,” she alleged. “During which he repeatedly slapped my head against a wall, bruising my face. He also committed other acts of violence against me to which I did not consent.”

Effie, 24, claims that Armie also beat her feet during the rape “so they would hurt” when she walked. She said he “wouldn’t let me” get away.

Hammer’s attorney Andrew Brettler, of Lavely & Singer, denied the rape allegation to Variety, stating, “From day one, Mr. Hammer has maintained that all of his interactions with [Effie] — and every other sexual partner of his for that matter — have been completely consensual, discussed and agreed upon in advance, and mutually participatory.”

Effie said she met Hammer via Facebook and “fell in love with him instantly.” As their relationship continued, she said she now sees he used “clear manipulation tactics.”

“He would often test my devotion to him,” Effie stated, adding, “He abused me mentally, emotionally, and sexually.”

Allred would not disclose whether Effie is the same woman who made accusations against Hammer on an Instagram account called House of Effie.

Meanwhile, the L.A. Times reported the Los Angeles Police Department is currently investigating Hammer after a woman accused him of sexual assault.

A source told the paper the woman who filed the report on February 3 was Effie. | 6/9/21 1:29 AM
Antigua's PM calls for tax cuts in airline ticket prices in the region
ST. JOHN'S, Antigua, CMC - Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, says the coronavirus (COVID019) pandemic has provided the Caribbean governments with the opportunity to implement tax cuts for airline tickets across the... | 6/7/21 5:16 PM