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The Africa Report: 4 July

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

Millions of Egyptians celebrate after Mohamed Morsi was toppled by the army on 3 July 2013. Picture: AFP

MOHAMMED MORSI OVERTHROWN

On Wednesday night, at around 7pm, Egypt's first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi was told he was no longer the head of state.

Following the collection of 22 million signatures by Egyptian opposition Tamarod, the country's powerful army presented Morsi and his backers, the Muslim Brotherhood, with an ultimatum: adhere to the country's calls for you to leave office or risk ousting.

Tuesday night saw Morsi vow to maintain his position as an internationally recognised democratic president whilst six of his cabinet ministers had already left the Brotherhood's government.

The 48 hour deadline for negotiations to have taken place between Morsi, the Brotherhood and opposition lapsed and soon after, General Abdulfattah al-Sisi announced on national television that the military had once again seized control of the country.

In January 2011, former president Hosni Mubarak was overthrown by the military after an 11-day process. Morsi's took only four days, setting a dangerous precedent for future governments in Egypt.

The army accused Morsi of ignoring the calls of the protestors who were angered by his disregard of the opposition, his push to implement an Islamic agenda, and for neglecting to implement vital economic reforms.

The coup d'état has left the Arab world unsettled as Egypt is the largest Arab nation in the world and a longstanding regional leader.

Protestors remain in the infamous Tahrir Square and the largest mass protest in Egypt has left approximately 16 people dead.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

BANNING KHAT: AN END TO THE USE OF THE MILD NARCOTIC?

Khat is a plant native to the Horn of Africa as well as Western Asia.

The chewing of khat is an age-old social custom which allegedly results in feelings of euphoria and excitement and a loss of appetite.

In 1980, the World Health Organisation classified it as a form of drug abuse; Norway classified it as a narcotic drug and criminalised it but is now looking to rescind the ban.

Sweden criminalised it in 1989 and claimed it prevented Somali immigrants from integrating into Swedish society but the use of it continues.

Now Britain has banned the use and importation mild narcotic which is less addictive that nicotine and alcohol.

There are fears that the British government will criminalise the use of khat as chewing it does not make one a criminal.

The plant is best used damp and has been regarded by Ancient Egyptians as a means to release human divinity and is often credited with the ceasefire in Somalia as both sides refuse to shoot those who carry the khat.

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