Wednesday 17 January 2018
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
A summit gathering European and African leaders from more than 80 countries drew to a close Thursday with plans for the immediate evacuation of some 3,800 African migrants stranded in Libya. Wrapping up the summit in the Ivorian capital, a top African Union official said there could be as many as 700,000 Africans trapped in Libya, where many have suffered attrocities and even been sold into slavery. The two-day summit of the African Union (AU) and European Union (EU) was showcased as a project to boost development in Africa as it faces a population crunch.
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
Twenty-five asylum seekers from Africa arrived safely in Rome Thursday, using a Christian "humanitarian corridor" set up for Syrians fleeing the war in their homeland. "It was just a project but it became THE project, the way of the future," said Mario Morcone of the Italian interior ministry. The 25 men, women and children from Somalia, Eritrea and South Sudan arrived in Rome before dawn on a flight from Ethiopia. They will be moved to centres across the country. "We want to ensure that people do not risk their lives in the desert and at sea," Morcone said. "This is an important turning point in the politics of our country. You are witness to this turning point and we will...
(AFP (eng) 11/29/17)
Stifled by the internet and 24-hour news channels as well as political pressures, Algeria's independent press born only 25 years ago is struggling in a crisis that has already killed off dozens of titles. Algeria's "democratic spring" that followed widespread protests in October 1988 put an end to a quarter century of single party rule and a state monopoly of the media, with independent newspapers emerging on the scene. Some of them have built up large circulations and are still going, such as the Arabic-language Echorouk and El-Khabar and French-language papers El-Watan, Liberte and Le Soir d'Algerie. But since 2014, 26 dailies and 34 weeklies have vanished, Communications Minister Djamel Kaouane said last month. The sales figures of the remaining...
(AFP (eng) 11/29/17)
More than 80 African and European leaders will gather in the Ivory Coast on Wednesday to promote jobs and stability for Africa's exploding population, with some calling for a new "Marshall Plan." The two-day summit in Abidjan opens as the European Union increasingly sees its fate linked to Africa's following the twin shocks of unprecedented migration and terrorist attacks. It comes as China, India, Japan, the Gulf Arab states and others also compete for influence on a continent where the 28-nation EU remains as a whole the biggest economic and political player. European Parliament President Antonio Tajani told parliamentarians from both continents before the summit...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
Hard cash but also the intangible ties of history have kept Europe in pole position as Africa's main partner, even if an influx of Chinese investment is prompting many African countries to look eastward. Successive years of hefty spending, particularly in infrastructure, have propelled China into the continent's top slot when calculated in terms of individual investor nations. But a quite different picture emerges when this is seen through a broader prism -- the ties between Africa and Europe as a 28-nation bloc. "Europe is in front, given the shared history," said Pierre Dagbo Gode, professor of political science at the Felix Houphouet Boigny University of Abidjan. "Europe is the premier trade partner, the top investor, the top donor," a...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
A furore over migrant slave markets in Libya casts a shadow over an AU-EU summit this week that aims to promote Africa's long-term economic growth and stability, spurred by European fears of terrorism and mass migration. The two-day African Union and European Union summit opening Wednesday in the Ivory Coast economic capital Abidjan is focused mainly on the need to create jobs for Africa's rapidly growing population. The summit marks what Europe sees as a potential turning point for broader and deeper ties with a continent it once colonised widely -- while China, Japan, India and Gulf Arab states also compete for influence. However, outrage over the slave trade in Libya looms over the talks in Abidjan, with the scandal...
(AFP (eng) 11/23/17)
Algerians trickled to the polls Thursday to vote in local elections after a low-key campaign that has brought no expectation of change in the North African state. In a rare public outing, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who is expected to seek a fifth term in office in 2019, appeared in a wheelchair to cast his ballot paper at a polling station in Algiers. Bouteflika, 80, who won a fourth term in 2014, has used a wheelchair for public appearances since a 2013 stroke. Dozens of political parties and four alliances were competing for seats in over 1,500 city councils and 48 state legislatures. Only the president's ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) and its coalition ally, the National Democratic Rally (RND), have...
(AFP (eng) 11/23/17)
Fresh from a regional tour to discuss the dispute over Western Sahara, the new UN envoy said Wednesday he was "encouraged" but did not announce plans for new political talks. Former German president Horst Koehler was appointed in August as special envoy to lead a new UN push for talks between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front on Western Sahara. After briefing the Security Council behind closed doors, Koehler told reporters "I am encouraged" but declined to provide details. "We know it's a very complex issue but there was a kind of constructive attitude in all the interlocutors he met," said Italian Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, who is council president this month. The council adopted a resolution in April that calls...
(The Associated Press 11/23/17)
Algerian voters are choosing new local leaders in an election marred by frustration over growing poverty caused by low oil prices. More than 50 political parties are fielding candidates in Thursday’s elections for mayors and council members in 1,541 towns and 48 local assemblies. Voter apathy is widespread, despite anger at corruption in this gas-dependent country of 23 million. A trickle of voters was casting ballots around the capital, Algiers. Ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika urged voters to turn out and promised to modernize public services. The presidential coalition of the FLN and RND parties is likely to keep its majority in the local assemblies. A YouTube star, Anes Tina, shook up the campaign with a video ahead of the elections...
(AfricaNews 11/21/17)
The African Union has called for an investigation on the Libyan authorities regarding the ‘slave markets’ of African migrants in the conflict torn nation. The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Professor Alpha Conde, strongly condemned the despicable acts which are at odds with the ideals of the Founding Fathers of the Organization and relevant African and international instruments, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. He calls for an immediate end to these practices and other criminal acts of human trafficking. He calls for a swift action to be taken and identify all perpetrators and accomplices, with the view of bringing the criminals to justice. This comes following the release of shocking images showing the sale of...
(AFP (eng) 11/20/17)
srael's cabinet voted on Sunday to close a migrant detention centre, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced an agreement to deport 40,000 Africans who entered the country illegally. Ministers unanimously approved plans to shutter the Holot centre in southern Israel and gave migrants a three-month deadline to leave the country or face deportation, said the interior and public security ministries. "The infiltrators will have the option to be imprisoned or leave the country," the public security ministry said in a statement. Israeli official figures from June 30 show a total of 38,043 African migrants in the country. They include 27,494 Eritreans and 7,869 Sudanese, and their presence in south Tel Aviv has raised discontent among Israelis there and elsewhere. Speaking...
(AFP (eng) 11/19/17)
Algeria's coastguard has intercepted almost 300 Algerians off the North African nation's coast as they tried to reach Europe on several boats, the defence ministry said. From Thursday to Saturday, the coastguard "intercepted and rescued a total of 286 Algerian citizens" attempting the perilous crossing on flimsy vessels, it said in a statement. Media reports said 200 of the Algerians were stopped at sea off the western coastal city of Oran. A 2009 law provides for up to six months in jail for those who attempt to leave the Algerian territory illegally. People smugglers can face up to 20 years in jail, according to the law. But the law has done little to deter would-be migrants. According to press reports,...
(AFP (eng) 11/18/17)
he African Union on Friday called for Libyan authorities to investigate "slave markets" of black Africans operating in the conflict-torn nation, following the release of shocking images showing the sale of young men. The demand follows the release of CNN footage of a live auction in Libya where black youths are presented to north African buyers as potential farmhands and sold off for as little as $400. Guinean President Alpha Conde, who is also Chairman of the African Union, demanded an enquiry and prosecutions relating to what he termed a "despicable trade... from another era". Meanwhile Senegal's government. commenting on Facebook, expressed "outrage at the sale of Sub-Saharan African migrants on Libyan soil,"...
(Xinhuanet 11/17/17)
Algeria on Thursday condemned the terrorist bombings which hit the city of Maiduguri in north-eastern Nigeria, killing more than 12 civilians. "Our conviction is consistent that this terrorist attack, especially those targeting civilian population, will not discourage Nigeria's government, army and security forces to eradicate the terror of Boko Haram, a constant threat to not only Nigeria, but also to all the countries of the region," Algerian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Abdelaziz Benali Cherif, said in a statement to the official APS news agency. He further added that Algeria urges for greater coordination between African countries in general and the countries of the region in particular to confront the scourge of terrorism, noting that his country is "convinced" that the continuous...
(Xinhuanet 11/17/17)
Algeria on Thursday called for respect for Zimbabwe's constitutional order after the army seized power from the government earlier on Wednesday. "Algeria is following with concern the recent developments in Zimbabwe," Algerian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abdelaziz Benali Cherif said in a statement. He added that his country calls "for calm and self-restraint and urge all the parties to ensure respect for constitutional order and to avoid any slide that would harm Zimbabwe and its people." Cherif further affirmed that Algeria supports the efforts being exerted by the countries of the region within the framework of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to allow "a quick return to normality." According to media report from Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday has...
(Xinhua 11/17/17)
The Algerian army on Thursday discovered a large batch of weapons on the border with Mali, a statement from the defense ministry said. The arms were hidden in a bunch in the locality of Bordj Badji Mokhtar in the southernmost province of Adrar, according to the statement. The weapons consist of an FMPK machine gun, nine pistols, a Kalashnikov machine gun, an RPG-7 rocket launcher, four semi-automatic rifles, a repeating rifle and a large quantity of ammunition. It is not the first time that the Algerian army has found weapon bunkers along the southern and southeastern borders. Located in a region plagued by unprecedented security and political instability, Algeria faces constant terrorist threats. The North African nation has deployed tens...
(AFP (eng) 11/17/17)
Africa is making only faltering progress towards food and nutrition security, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned. "Multiple forms of malnutrition coexist, with countries experiencing simultaneously high rates of child undernutrition or anaemia as well as high rates of obesity," it says in a new report, Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition. In sub-Saharan Africa, "progress towards the World Health Assembly global nutrition targets has been generally poor," the Rome-based agency says, referring to goals to end hunger by 2025. The annual document came out Thursday at the start of a two-day food and health seminar in Ivory Coast's economic capital, Abidjan. Around 200 people from 47 African nations are gathered to discuss "sustainable food systems...
(AFP (eng) 11/16/17)
Algerian Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel said Wednesday that North Africa is under threat from foreign fighters escaping the Islamic State jihadist group's defeats in Iraq and Syria. Messahel spoke at a news conference in Cairo after a meeting with his Egyptian and Tunisian counterparts, Sameh Shoukry and Khemaies Jhinaoui, over Libya. The Islamic State rose to prominence in the chaos of Syria's conflict, which broke out in 2011 with protests against President Bashar al-Assad. After its explosive rise in 2014 and conquest of vast swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq, IS established a "caliphate" that attracted thousands of foreign fighters.
(AFP (eng) 11/14/17)
An Algerian freelance journalist and fixer has been indicted on accusations of intelligence contacts with a foreign power, press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said Monday. Said Chitour, who has worked for the BBC and the Washington Post among others, faces up to life in prison if he is convicted for allegedly passing confidential documents to foreign diplomats. A court in the Algiers district of Bir Mourad Rais agreed to a request by prosecutors that Chitour be tried, RSF said. "The case has been referred to a criminal court." Intelligence services arrested Chitour at Algiers airport on June 5, RSF said. In September, it said he had been held for 100 days without any charge being brought. He is...
(Xinhuanet 11/14/17)
Algerian counter-terrorism troops arrested on Sunday four individuals suspected of providing support to terrorists in the province of Batna, 400 km southeast of Algiers, Defense Ministry said in a statement on Monday. The source specified that the four suspects were arrested after the exploitation of accurate intelligence by counter-terrorism troops. Later last month, a wide-scale counter-terrorism operation was conducted in the eastern region of Algeria, as six militants were killed and seven others arrested including five women. Several individuals were also arrested suspected of providing support to terrorist groups. Located in a region plagued by unprecedented security and political instability, Algeria faces ongoing terrorist threats. A few militants affiliated to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and recently established Daesh...

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