big diamonds
Miner Finds Enormous 706-Carat Diamond, Promptly Hands it Over to the Government

A pastor and independent miner in Sierra Leone has unearthed an uncut 706-carat diamond estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars. The pastor turned the diamond over to the government in hopes that the proceeds from its sale will help the impoverished nation. But given the history of this former “blood-diamond” nation, what happens from here is anyone’s guess. Read More >>

A War Is On to Destroy the Fall Armyworm in Africa

A coalition of officials met in Zimbabwe this month to discuss a little pest that has become a big problem. The fall armyworm has spread through Africa over the course of the last year and it has had devastating effects on crops. Experts fear that globalisation and climate change are setting the caterpillar up to spread into Europe as well. Read More >>

A Mind-Boggling Carbon Deposit Was Just Discovered in the Congo

A newly-discovered peatland in the Congo Basin of central Africa contains an estimated 30.6 billion tonnes of carbon in its waterlogged soils — equivalent to three times the total annual carbon emissions of every human being alive today. Read More >>

13 Sensational Camera Trap Photos of African Animals At Night

Will Burrard-Lucas likes to photograph unsuspecting African animals with strategically placed camera traps. For his latest project, the wildlife photographer sought to capture images of nocturnal animals as they conduct their affairs at night, and the results are spectacular. Read More >>

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Stunning 7,000-Image Satellite Mosaic of African Doesn’t Have a Single Cloud

If you like jigsaws, you’d love to be on the team at the European Space Agency that created this image. Made up of 7,000 separate files — totalling 32 terabytes of data — the picture provides a completely cloud-free view of the whole of Africa. Read More >>

This Simple Vaginal Ring Can Reduce the Risk of HIV Infection

This plain-looking silicone ring is rather more useful than it looks. Doped with an experimental antiretroviral drug, when worn in the vagina by women in sub-Saharan Africa it was shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection by as much as 61 per cent. Read More >>

Ugandan Government Blocks Facebook, Twitter on Election Day to Stop ‘Lies’ 

Ugandans are voting in a presidential election today. They’re also dealing with a social media blackout orchestrated by the government. For President Yoweri Museveni, nothing says “democracy” like sweeping censorship of the electorate. Here’s hoping he loses. Read More >>

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This Satellite Image Looks Like Some Kind of Impossible Staircase

This mind-bending image looks like something out of Inception, but in fact it’s a view of fields in the south Khartoum area of Sudan. How on Earth do they grow anything on that? Read More >>

In Nigeria, Solar-Powered Fridges at Outdoor Markets Save Food From Spoiling

In developing countries, an unbelievable 45 per cent of food goes bad because of a lack of cold storage. It’s an especially big problem during transportation from farms to outdoor markets, where food sits in the scorching sun for hours on end. But one startup has a solution: solar-powered refrigeration stations that could save the livelihoods of half a billion farmers worldwide. Read More >>

These Hero Rats Are Trained to Sniff Out Land Mines and Tuberculosis  

An international NGO trains rodents to find buried bombs and a deadly respiratory disease. Meanwhile, I’ve taught my dog how to carry three tennis balls in his mouth at once. Read More >>

This Year the Medicine Nobel Prize Went to a Pair of Parasite Poisons

The 2015 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine just went to three scientists who found parasite-killing chemicals that are now important tools for fighting human diseases. But the chemicals in question weren’t created in a lab: one is produced naturally by a bacterium, the other by a plant used in a traditional Chinese herbal recipe dating back 1,000 years. Read More >>

Facebook is Going to Send Free Internet Across Africa From Satellites

Facebook has announced that it’s teaming up with French-based satellite provider Eutelsat Communications to beam free internet to 14 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Read More >>

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Beautiful Video Describes How Tanzanian Hunters Turn Ecology Researchers

If you need to understand the depths of the wilds, there’s nobody better to turn to than someone that lives and breathes the environment. This beautiful video tells the story of an African hunter who decided to stop killing animals — and help scientists find them instead. Read More >>