The African Union has condemned a coup in Niger, where soldiers have detained President Mamadou Tandja. AU chief Jean Ping said he was watching developments "with concern" after a day of gun battles culminated in a takeover led by Colonel Salou Djibo.


Niger exports enough uranium to France to generate 50 per cent of the latter’s electricity supply, writes Khadija Sharife. But ordinary Nigeriens reap little benefit from France’s control of their country’s uranium resources, with over three-fifths of the population living below the poverty line and reports of radioactive contamination of water, air and soil by multinational mining operations.

Niger's president, Mamadou Tandja, on Wednesday opened the campaign for 27 December local elections and urged his compatriots to turn out in their numbers to elect their representatives for the 266 local councils.

High school students in the Niger capital, Niamey, learned to put HIV/AIDS and reproductive health in a broader context during a recent essay contest. "In preparing my essay I learned that AIDS is not a death sentence," said one female student who requested anonymity. "This kind of exercise should be encouraged because it allows students to increase their knowledge of AIDS and its consequences."

Reporters Without Borders has noted the release from prison of Abdoulaye Tiémogo, editor of the independent weekly Le Canard déchaîné, after his sentence was reduced on appeal. The journalist, who is in poor health, had been held in custody since 1st August. He had been found guilty of “discrediting a judicial decision”.