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The Africa Report: 26 June

EWN’s Africa Correspondent Jean-Jacques Cornish reports on the day’s top African news.

French troops patrol in the streets of Gao on February 3, 2013. France said it carried out major air strikes on the same day near Kidal, the last bastion of armed extremists chased from Mali's desert north in a lightning French-led offensive. Picture: AFP / Sia Kambou

UNSC APPROVES DEPLOYMENT OF PEACEKEEPING FORCE IN MALI

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has given the green light for a 12,600-strong peacekeeping force for deployment in Mali.

The force will face an array of unprecedented challenges including sweltering desert heat.

Currently, an African peacekeeping force has been deployed in Mali as a replacement for French troops who are steadily withdrawing from the region following a successful military operation.

France will, however, maintain approximately 1,000 troops in Mali.

On Tuesday, the UNSC unanimously agreed to take over the peacekeeping mission there although it will initially be a "change of helmets", from the green of the African Union's force to the blue of the United Nations.

Elections are to take place in Mali on the 28 July and the UNSC-approved force will be monitoring the region from early July.

The force will be known as MINUSMA which stands for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Mali and will involve carrying out a number of security-related stabilisation tasks, human rights monitoring, protecting civilians, human rights monitoring, and prepare Mali for free, inclusive and peaceful elections.

OBAMA'S AFRICAN TRIP OVERSHADOWED BY COSTS

This long-awaited, possibly overdue tour is being overshadowed by not only the ailing health of former State President Nelson Mandela, but also by the exuberant costs of President Barack Obama's eight-day three-nation African tour.

The goals of his trip include boosting economic partnerships and engagement between Africa and the United States and promoting democratic development in African nations.

However, the costs of his trip look to overshadow the goals, with an estimated $100 million being spent to protect the first family.

Included in the costs are 17 Boeing C-17 Starlifters that will bring in armoured glass, armoured cars and even their own water.

In regards to Mandela's health, the White House have stated that they will change schedules for the tour accordingly.

On Tuesday, South African Minister of International Relations Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said that the country acknowledges that President Obama would have loved to visit Mandela but that it would not be possible.

Obama will leave Washington on Wednesday and make his first stop in Senegal, arriving in South Africa on Friday where he will spend the weekend and end his trip in Tanzania.

THE TERMINATOR'S PLANS TO REDUCE GREENHOUSE EMISSIONS

His back!

Actor-turned-38th-Governor-of-California, Arnold Schwarzenegger is in Africa not to single-handedly fight off Boko Haram, but to open an office in Algeria as part of his environmental initiative, Regions of Climate Action (R20).

He is in Algeria for three days and on Tuesday, he signed an accord with Environment Minister Amara Benyounes.

Schwarzenegger will be looking to terminate threats to the environment, visiting Algerian Prime Minister, Abdelmalek Sellal and the western city of Oran which will house the office of his non-governmental organisation.

A universal 75% reduction in greenhouse emissions is the aim for Schwarzenegger and R20.