Editor's note

Twelve years ago, the Sino Congolaise des Mines (Sicomines) was billed as "the deal of the century". It gave Chinese partners mining rights to cobalt and copper in the DRC; in exchange, China agreed to build much-needed infrastructure projects such as urban roads, highways and hospitals. But the deal, write Andoni Maiza Larrarte and Gloria Claudio-Quiroga, has not lived up to expectations – and its failings hold lessons for other African countries doing business with China.

There are only about 1000 mountain gorillas left in the wild, which is why conservationists are so worried by the behaviour of the population living in Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park. These gorillas are leaving protected areas to raid nearby farms' crops of plants that are rich in sodium. Cyril Grueter explains why this is so dangerous.

Social media and digital technologies can be used to rapidly spread fake news. In today's episode of Pasha, Professor Tawana Kupe explains the role that well-communicated science can play in fighting fake news on any platform.

Caroline Southey


Top stories

Copper was part of the deal between the DRC and the Chinese company Sicomines. Shutterstock

The DRC and China’s Sicomines: why future deals should be different

Andoni Maiza Larrarte, Universidad del País Vasco / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea; Gloria Claudio-Quiroga, Universidad Francisco de Vitoria

The deal between the DRC and the Chinese company Sicomines didn't take into account how the Congolese people would benefit.

The gorilla population in Rwanda remains fragile. Shutterstock

Rwanda’s gorillas have figured out where to find their sodium fix. But it’s dangerous

Cyril Grueter, University of Western Australia

In Rwanda gorillas have been leaving protected areas to raid sodium rich crops.

Environment + Energy

What Cape Town’s drought can teach other cities about climate adaptation

Gina Ziervogel, University of Cape Town

Cities need to pay attention to how extreme weather events effect their resources.

Light pollution: the dark side of keeping the lights on

Bernard Coetzee, University of the Witwatersrand

There's mounting evidence that increased lighting has a range of negative effects.


Pasha 13: Fake news and fallacies part 2

Ozayr Patel, The Conversation

To fight fake news, it's crucial that science is spread in an understandable way.

Pasha 12: Fake news and fallacies part 1

Ozayr Patel, The Conversation

In the era of fake news, science can play a crucial role.

From our international editions

Guinea pigs cured of Ebola with antibodies, raising hopes for treatment in humans

Pramila Rijal, University of Oxford; Alain Townsend, University of Oxford

The Ebola virus claimed 11,000 lives in 2014. Today, scientists may have cured the disease in guinea pigs by using antibodies.

How Twitter and other social media can draw the US into foreign interventions

Eleonora Mattiacci, Amherst College

When the 2011 Libyan civil war erupted, Twitter became a major instrument to air the rebels’ account of the conflict and present themselves internationally as a viable alternative to Moammar Gadhafi.

India: what’s at stake in the 2019 elections

Indrajit Roy, University of York

India heads to the polls in April and May for the world's biggest democratic exercise. Why the world should be watching this election.

The first known case of eggs plus live birth from one pregnancy in a tiny lizard

Melanie Laird, University of Otago; Camilla Whittington, University of Sydney

The evolution of live birth from egg-laying is no mean feat. Now new research reports on the first known example where both eggs and a live birth come from the same lizard pregnancy.


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