Urban news roundup: March 16, 2015

Urban news headlines from around the continent…


Kinshasa: The Case Against Giant Traffic Robots
Kinshasa, the sprawling capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is trying an unusual approach to the city’s notoriously frenetic traffic situation. As first reported by AFP, Kinshasa installed three new robots last week to help direct traffic (two others were unveiled in 2013). But the robots are basically glorified traffic lights—which Kinshasa needs more of in general. It’s a public relations stunt that that turns attention away from serious growth and infrastructure issues in the city. — City Lab

Cairo: Egypt awards Alstom $84.7m Cairo Metro deal
Global rail infrastructure provider Alstom has been awarded two contracts worth $84.7m to supply the signaling system and infrastructure for Phase 4A of the Cairo Metro Line 3 which will eventually extend from the northwest of Greater Cairo to Cairo International Airport. — Construction Week Online

Lagos: Planned privatisation of water: Residents, civil societies dare Lagos govt 
A recent study by the World Health Organisation says 66 million Nigerians do not have access to potable or safe water, a situation which has given rise to water-related diseases, costing the country a whooping sum of $2.5billion as people throng various hospitals for treatment. In the face of this, the Lagos State government recently revealed its intention to partner with the World Health Organisation, WHO, to provide potable water for residents.— Vanguard

Baidoa: Gunmen launch attack on Somalia’s government offices
Suspected members of Somalia’s al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabab fighters have attacked a fortified area housing regional government headquarters, an airport and a United Nations compound in the central town of Baidoa, security officials said.”They are Shebab disguised in Somali military uniforms. That’s how they managed to enter,” according to one policeman.— Al Jazeera

Nairobi: Bill seeks tougher penalties for motorists who damage facilities
Motorists who destroy electricity poles, street lights and road or rail guards are set to start paying heavy penalties for the destruction if a proposed law is passed. This will be an addition to the current law, which spells out a fine of Sh100,000, a jail term of three years or both for those who steal electricity cables and transformers.— Business Daily

Kontagora: Suicide bomber strikes Federal College in Niger State
A deadly explosion occurred at the Federal College of Education, Kontagora, Niger State, the state police said. The Niger State police spokesperson, Ibrahim Gambari, said an unidentified female suicide bomber struck at the school on Wednesday, killing herself and injuring three others. Police bomb units have deployed to the scene, he said. — News of Africa

Rabat: Best city to live in Morocco according to survey
According to Mercer’s Quality of Living index, Rabat is the best city to live in Morocco and the seventh in Africa. The kingdom’s capital is ranked 116th in the ranking that assess the quality of living in 230 destinations around the world, while Morocco’s largest and populous city Casablanca is ranked 128th, making it the second best place to live in the country and the eight on the African level. — Morocco World News

Durban: Water dearth threat serious
Ethekwini and parts of the North and South Coasts could run short of water in just two years if rainfall trends continued and nothing was done to augment supplies. “Water has no substitute and the province is facing a drought, so the situation is urgent,” says KwaZulu-Natal’s chief director of water and sanitation, Ashley Starkey.— Independent Online

Harare: Pressure groups, diplomats urge release of Dzamara
Zimbabwe’s civil society organisations, Western embassies, and the country’s citizens yesterday called for the unconditional release of journalist-cum-political activist Itai Dzamara kidnapped in Harare on Monday, with government saying it has not received any demands from his abductors. —Daily News




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