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At least 18 people, mainly students, have been killed by a large tree that fell on them at a popular waterfall spot in Kintampo, Ghana, police say.

The high school students were swimming during a storm when the freak accident happened.

Twenty-two others were injured and are being treated at local hospitals.

Image source Flickr

Rescue teams used chainsaws to cut through the fallen tree and free those trapped underneath, local media report.

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo has tweeted his condolences to the families of the victims.

Police and fire service personnel were involved in the rescue operation at the scene in Ghana’s central Brong-Ahafo region, 250 miles north of the capital Accra.

According to Ghana’s Starr News that most of those involved were students of the Wenchi Senior High School, but that there were also tourists.


Ghana’s World Cup squad has expelled players Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng for alleged indiscipline.

A statement on the Ghana Football Association website said both players had “been suspended indefinitely”.

The statement added Kevin-Prince Boateng had used “insults targeted at coach Kwesi Appiah” and said Sulley Muntari was guilty of an “unprovoked physical attack on an executive committee member”.

The news comes just hours before Ghana take on Portugal on Thursday.

Ghana's World Cup squad has expelled Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng for alleged indiscipline

Ghana’s World Cup squad has expelled Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng for alleged indiscipline

Ghana still has an outside chance of qualifying for the knockout phase of the tournament.

The Ghana FA statement said the incident involving AC Milan’s Sulley Muntari took place on Tuesday and named Moses Armah, a member of the team management, as the man said to have been assaulted by the 29-year-old.

And Schalke 04 player Kevin-Prince Boateng, 27, was said by the Ghana FA to have shown “no remorse for his actions”, which took place during the team’s training session in Maceio on Tuesday.

Ghana’s World Cup campaign has already been blighted by a dispute over players’ appearance fees.

On Wednesday, the national government sent in excess of $3 million in a chartered plane to Brazil to pay the squad following their threat to boycott their final group match against Portugal if they did not receive their money.

To reach the last 16, Ghana need to beat Portugal and hope there is a winner of the match between Germany and US – although Ghana would also need to overtake their rivals’ superior goal difference.

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Soccer fans across the US celebrated a last-gasp win against the team’s World Cup nemesis, Ghana.

Soccer fans across the US celebrated a last-gasp win against the team's World Cup nemesis, Ghana

Soccer fans across the US celebrated a last-gasp win against the team’s World Cup nemesis, Ghana (photo AFP)

John Brooks headed in a late winner for USA in a dramatic finale to their opening Group G game in Natal.

It went a long way towards making amends for being knocked out by Ghana in the last two World Cups.

Supporters across the US planned to party well into the night.

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Ghana’s incumbent President John Mahama has been won presidential election, the electoral commission has announced.

The commission said that John Mahama had won 50.7% against opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo on 47.74%.

However, the opposition NPP says it will contest the result, accused the governing NDC party of conspiring with commission staff to fix Friday’s poll.

President John Mahama urged “all leaders of all political parties to respect the voice of the people”.

“The voice of the people is the voice of God,” he added.

Police in the capital Accra fired tear gas to disperse opposition protesters from outside the commission’s offices.

Tanks guarded the electoral commission and roads around the offices were barricaded by police as the results were announced.

“Ladies and gentlemen, based on the results given, I declare John Dramani Mahama president-elect,” electoral commission chief Kwadwo Afari-Gyan told journalists.

He said turnout had been about 80%.

Ghana's incumbent President John Mahama has been won presidential election

Ghana’s incumbent President John Mahama has been won presidential election

Ghana, one of the world’s fastest growing economies, is regarded as one of Africa’s most stable democracies.

In a draft statement emailed to reporters on Sunday, the opposition said it would contest the results.

“This situation, if allowed to go unchallenged and uncorrected, would seriously damage the essence of the electoral process and the substance of democracy in Ghana,” the NPP said.

“To accept this result is to discredit democracy in Ghana and, in the process, distort the process of democratization in Africa. Therefore, the New Patriotic Party cannot accept the results of the presidential election as declared by the EC (election commission) this evening.”

Earlier, the NPP said it had “enough concrete evidence” to prove that Nana Akufo-Addo had won the election.

“The ruling NDC conspired with certain EC staff in constituencies across the country to falsify the election results and thereby abuse the mandate of the people of Ghana,” the party said.

“It was this planned, systematic stealing of votes at the collation level that was, thankfully, discovered in time.”

The party cited discrepancies between initial tally sheets and the results reported in the media.

John Mahama’s presidential adviser Tony Aidoo said there was no foundation for the allegations.

Nana Akufo-Addo lost the 2008 presidential poll by one percentage point, but accepted the result.

Glitches with a new finger-printing system meant that voting continued into Saturday in some parts of the country.

However, observers said the election had passed off largely peacefully.

John Mahama was Ghana’s vice-president until the unexpected death of President John Atta Mills in July catapulted him into office.

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Melcom department store has collapsed in Ghana’s capital, Accra, with dozens of people believed to be trapped inside.

Rescue efforts are under way, with officials saying that at least three people died in the multi-storey Melcom store.

Ten people have been pulled alive from the rubble so far.

Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama said he had suspended his campaign for next month’s election.

The government has declared the area in the city’s Achimota neighborhood a disaster zone.

Vice-President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur is at the site, co-ordinating rescue efforts at the building, which opened earlier this year.

Hundreds of rescuers are digging through the rubble, amid fears that dozens of people are trapped inside, our correspondent says.

Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur said the building collapsed shortly before the Melcom store was due to open for business.

Rescue efforts were being hampered by the large crowd that had gathered at the site, he added.

Melcom department store has collapsed in Ghana's capital, Accra, with dozens of people believed to be trapped inside

Melcom department store has collapsed in Ghana’s capital, Accra, with dozens of people believed to be trapped inside

“There’s so much noise that it’s not possible to hear the trapped people asking for help,” Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur said.

“If we could move out of here, it could help rescue operations.”

In a statement on its Facebook page, Melcom said it had rented the building which housed its Achimota branch on a 10-year lease.

“This is indeed a very tragic incident,” it said.

“We are doing everything possible to see that help reaches those who need it. Our heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies goes to the families of those who may have lost their lives.”

Customers often queue outside the store before it opens and officials say they believe about 50 people may been inside at the time of the collapse.

Eyewitness Ama Okyere told the AFP news agency she was very close to the shopping centre when the building came down.

“I had to run for my life. I was so terrified. I believe there are lots of people trapped under this because this is a heavily patronized shopping mall in the area.”

Family members have been trying to call relatives feared trapped beneath the rubble on their mobile phones, AFP reports.

Another witness, John Owusu, said he heard a bang before the building collapsed.

President John Dramani Mahama, in a tweet moments after the building collapsed, said: “My prayers are with the workers, shoppers and others who are trapped in the rubble of the Achimota Melcom building.”

He has cut short his campaign in the north of the country and is flying back to Accra.

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John Dramani Mahama, Ghana’s new president, has pledged to uphold stability following the death of his predecessor John Atta Mills.

Former Vice President John Dramani Mahama, 53, was sworn in several hours after John Atta Mills, 68, died at a hospital in the capital, Accra.

The opposition has praised the swift transition to John Dramani Mahama, saying it showed Ghana was a mature democracy.

John Atta Mills, who suffered from throat cancer, had governed since 2009.

He had planned to run for a second term in elections in December.

John Dramani Mahama will now serve as president until the election, but it is unclear whether he will be the candidate of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) party.

Former Ghana’s Vice President John Dramani Mahama was sworn in several hours after John Atta Mills died at a hospital in Accra

Former Ghana’s Vice President John Dramani Mahama was sworn in several hours after John Atta Mills died at a hospital in Accra

Taking the oath at an emergency parliamentary session, John Dramani Mahama said he would govern for all Ghanaians.

“I wish Ghanaians to be assured that all is well,” John Dramani Mahama said.

“We are going to maintain the peace, unity and stability that Ghana is noted for.”

John Dramani Mahama has declared a week of national mourning.

Opposition New Patriotic Party (NNP) presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo has suspended campaigning out of respect for John Atta Mills, our reporter says.

NPP chairman Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey praised the smooth transfer of power that happened within hours of the president’s death.

“Ghana actually has handled itself very well. We have never been through this before,” he said.

“Yet the transition that we saw in parliament has been very well handled, very smooth. We are showing a maturity that must encourage all Ghanaians.”

John Atta Mills died a few hours after being taken ill. No details have been given.

While John Atta Mills’s illness had always been a subject of great debate, it was never officially confirmed, correspondents say. He had always insisted he was well, and planned to seek re-election in December’s poll.

According to a presidential aide, the leader had complained of pains on Monday evening and his condition had deteriorated.

He had recently returned to Ghana after visiting the US for medical checks.

Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf extended her condolences to Ghanaians, saying the news had come as a surprise.

“On a personal level his moderation and integrity stood out,” Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said, adding that John Atta Mills had played a strong role at the regional meetings they both attended.

President Barack Obama also paid tribute, praising John Atta Mills as a “strong advocate for human rights and for the fair treatment of all Ghanaians”, according to a White House statement.

John Atta Mills served as vice-president to former Ghanaian military ruler Jerry Rawlings between 1997 and January 2001.

He came to power after narrowly winning against Nana Akufo-Addo, in polls in December 2008.

His predecessor, John Kufuor, stepped down after having served the maximum permitted two four-year terms.

Under John Atta Mills’ leadership, Ghana joined the ranks of the world’s large-scale oil producers.


Google has launched Gmail SMS, a text message-based version of its email service, in some of the African countries.

Gmail SMS can run on so-called “dumb phones” which only have very basic features and no access to the internet.

The service has so far been made available in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya.

Gmail SMS is the latest in a line of Google products aimed at the African market – the company is also running educational programmes in the region.

Gmail SMS can run on so-called "dumb phones" which only have very basic features and no access to the internet

Gmail SMS can run on so-called "dumb phones" which only have very basic features and no access to the internet

Google describes its efforts in improving computer science training as “an important goal for Google in 2012”.

It recently offered grants to 17 universities to expand its Computer Science for High School project.

However lack of access to affordable hardware is still seen as a critical barrier to technology adoption across the continent.

Geva Rechav, Google’s product manager for emerging markets, explained in a blog post how Gmail SMS was adapted to work by using simple text commands.

“Gmail SMS works on any phone, even the most basic ones which only support voice and SMS,” he wrote.

“Gmail SMS automatically forwards your emails as SMS text messages to your phone and you can respond by replying directly to the SMS.

“You can control the emails received by replying with commands such as MORE, PAUSE and RESUME.

“Additionally, compose a new email as an SMS and send to any email address recipient – who will find your message in the right email conversation thread!”

It will be free to receive messages from the system, but any sent texts will be subject to standard network rates.

Across Africa, adoption of mobile services has been swift and widespread.

Mobile commerce offerings like microfinancing tool M-Pesa have in excess of 15 million users.