By Ed Stoddard SEKOMA, Botswana (Reuters) - Molefi Ramantele, a small-scale livestock farmer who ekes out a living in Botswana's arid scrubland, lost a third of his cattle in the drought that has scorched southern Africa. Farmers, game reserves and central bankers across southern Africa are among those set to count the cost for years to come of the drought that wiped out livestock, pushed up food prices and caused power shortages and protests. The 2015/2016 El Nino weather system, the Pacific Ocean phenomenon associated with droughts, storms and floods, baked southern Africa before ending in May. This coincided with a slump in commodity prices that pressured African exporters' budgets, eroded currencies and deepened economic misery as well as challenging central bankers faced with higher prices and slow economic growth.
By Denis Dyomkin MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday blamed a shadowy campaign for unfairly stripping some Russian sports people of the right to compete at the Rio Olympics over doping allegations, hitting out at what he called short-sighted political schemers. Putin, addressing members of Russia's Olympic team in the Kremlin, said that the decision by international sporting organizations to ban some Russian athletes from the games, flew in the face of common sense and legality. “The deliberate campaign targeting our athletes was characterized by so-called double standards and opted for the idea of collective responsibility, which is not compatible with sport, justice in general, or the basic norms of law," said Putin.