Andre 'Dede' Ayew, Yaya Toure and Seydou Keita have been named on the final shortlist for the 2011 African Player of the Year award. The announcement by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) means that last year's winner, Samuel Eto'o, misses out on this year's title.
The winner will be announced at a ceremony in Accra on Thursday.
He will be crowned after a vote by national team head coaches and technical directors from within Caf.
Ayew, Toure and Keita are the final contenders for the crown after Caf revealed that Eto'o and Senegal's Moussa Sow had failed to make the final shortlist.
Ayew, who plays for Marseille and Ghana, was named as the BBC African Player of the Year last week.
He helped his club to Cup success in France last season, has steered them into the knock-out phase of the European Champions League and was a key man for Ghana as the Black Stars qualified with some ease for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
Yaya Toure has been central to the resurgence of Manchester City and is central to Ivory Coast's success as well - the Elephants qualified for the Nations Cup with a perfect record.
Keita has helped all-conquering Barcelona throughout another impressive 12 months and returned to the Mali side in time to help them squeeze through qualification for Equatorial Guinea and Gabon ahead of Cape Verde.
Eto'o has won four African Player of the Year awards but will not be adding to that total this year.
Caf will also reveal the winners of several other awards, including female player of the year, African-based player of the year and national team of the year.
The women's shortlist features Nompumelelo Nyandani of South Africa, Perpetua Nkwocha from Nigeria and Miriam Paixao Silva of Equatorial Guinea.
JOSEPH Kabila has been sworn in for another term as president of DR Congo, a job also claimed by his main rival following disputed polls that have plunged the country into deep crisis.
The 40-year-old incumbent was confirmed the winner by a Supreme Court the opposition says he packed with loyalists just before the Democratic Republic of Congo's election on November 28.
The chaotic vote in Africa's second-largest country was criticised by observers and by Kabila's main challenger Etienne Tshisekedi, who has proclaimed himself the people's president and is planning his own inauguration on Friday.
Kabila took the oath and vowed to "safeguard national unity and allow himself to be guided only by the general interest and the respect of human rights".
The 79-year-old Tshisekedi has stopped just short of calling mass protests and urged the security forces to defect and recognise him as the elected president.
The veteran opposition leader, a former prime minister under dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, has no militia of his own but the announcement of the results earlier this month had triggered violence in the streets of Kinshasa.
Police were heavily deployed across the capital, particularly in the eastern Limete district where Tshisekedi's Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UPDS) has its headquarters.
Opposition protesters were dispersed with tear gas there yesterday and several tanks from the Republican Guard were seen stationed across the city.
"It's for the people that these tanks are there," government spokesman Lambert Mande told UN-supported radio Okapi yesterday. "It's to help their ease of movement and to protect important visitors."
Kabila, who took over in 2001 after his father Laurent-Desire's assassination, risks isolation on the international scene as a result of the election, which the West has condemned as fraudulent.
DR Congo's Western trade partners were represented at a relatively low level at Kabila's inauguration ceremony and the only head of state to attend was Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe.
The United States has said the elections - just the second in the DR Congo since back-to-back wars from 1996 to 2003 - were "seriously flawed", and Belgium and France have also questioned their credibility.
Observers fear the vast mineral-rich country, which is two-thirds the size of Western Europe, could be headed for a flare-up of civil unrest.
Tshisekedi in a speech this weekend urged Congolese citizens "not only to retain their calm and serenity ... but also to create the climate of confidence that investors are looking for".
But he has also said he would give a "very large reward" to anyone bringing him Kabila "tied up".
Kabila's party spokesman Aubin Minaku brushed off the rhetoric.
"Yet another joke," Minaku said, calling Tshisekedi a "bad loser".
Blessing Liman, a 25-year-old lady from Kaduna State, has become Nigeria's first female military pilot. The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) at the weekend commissioned her along with 126 others who completed the Direct Short Service Course 2010/11 Cadets of 325 Ground Training Group at the NAF Base, Kaduna.
Miss Liman said she was very excited and proud to make history. She said: "It is very uplifting and I feel very proud of myself though it has been very challenging. Coming from the civil war and the civil mentality, the Air Force has done a great job because it has changed our orientation.
"I believe that all females have equal opportunity to dignify their rights in whatever adventure they choose they can do."
Liman, who wants to encourage other females, called on other womenfolk to see her feat as a challenge for them to explore their capabilities "for nation-building".
Speaking at the occasion, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Mohammed Dikko Umar, said the successful passing out from cadet training of the first female pilot was "a very laudable achievement" to the nation.
The armed forces were directed to produce female combatants, he said, in order to give impetus to gender equality in the polity as part of President Goodluck Jonathan's transformation agenda - as well as affirm the belief that women can make valuable contributions to nation building.
Umar said by producing the first female military pilot, NAF had given a good account of itself and justified the vision of its founding fathers as a veritable tool for nation-building.
He noted that although the federal government had taken steps to address the internal security situation across Nigeria, there was the need for the armed forces to be abreast of the general security situation in the country.
"Your primary responsibility is ensuring national security and the territorial integrity of our dear nation; hence I need to remind you where your loyalty lies," he said, charging members of the armed forces to cultivate harmonious relationships with the populace without compromising military values.
In the video, Kidjo is in Oslo, Norway, singing her popular hit "Malaika," for the 2012 Nobel Prize honorees: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia; Leymah Roberta Gbowee, the Liberian executive director of the Accra, Ghana-based Women Peace and Security Network; and activist/journalist Tawakkol Karman, from Yemen.
The annual Nobel Peace Prize Concert is a musical tribute held to recognize the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, which this year was awarded jointly to Sirleaf, Gbowee and Karman "for their nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work."
Sirleaf, the first elected female head of state in Africa, is respected worldwide for her work on ethics, principles and skillful governance.
She is a strong advocate of women's rights and education, both of which she feels are key empowerment tools that will help provide a better future for Liberia and its people.
Gbowee is best known as the leader of a women's peace movement in her country, which in 2003 stopped the second Liberian civil war, leading to Sirleaf's election as president. The award-winning peace activist is a founding member and former coordinator of the Women in Peacebuilding Program/West African Network for Peacebuilding. Gbowee also served as a commissioner-designate for the Liberia Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Karman, the 32-year-old Yemini activist, is best known for her involvement in the Arab Spring, the movement of demonstrations that began Dec. 18, 2010, in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Syria and Yemen. Despite death threats and intimidation that her children would be kidnapped, Karman continues a peaceful struggle in her country.
In the video, at the prize-giving ceremony, Sirleaf, Gbowee and Karman are smiling broadly with their trophy in their hands as Kidjo serenades them in song. All of the women look absolutely radiant and resplendent, adorned in exquisitely designed traditional garments.
On Sunday, Dec. 11, the day after the prize-giving ceremony, the 18th Nobel Peace Prize Concert, which took place at the Olso Spectrum, got underway. In addition to Kidjo, the concert featured performances by Jill Scott, Janelle Monáe, Sugarland, David Gray, Matthew Morrison, Ellie Goulding, Bernhoft, World Youth Choir, Ahmed Fathu and Miatta Fahnbulleh.
The co-hosts of the concert were Emmy Award-winning actress Helen Mirren, who was appointed a dame of the British Empire in 2003, and Rosario Dawson, the actress/activist/environmentalist associated with such organizations as V-Day, whose mission is stopping violence against women, and the Environmental Media Association. Dawson is the recipient of the President's Volunteer Service Award.
What a great lineup of women! And what amazing, life-changing work they are committed to doing to make this a better world for everyone. And in the midst, as is customary, is the great friend of Harlem and supporter of Africa Sings! our dynamic sister-friend Kidjo.
The "Moonlit Windows" column takes an insightful look at the lives of spirited, life-changing women living extraordinary lives in their quest of what it means to be human in the 21st century.
To contact "Moonlit Windows," please email firstname.lastname@example.org.