Friday 26 May 2017
(AFP (eng) 03/13/17)
An archaeological treasure trove on the site of a planned metro station in central Algiers is set to become a museum, opening a window on 2,000 years of history. The site, close to the Algerian capital's UNESCO-listed casbah, has yielded remains from the city's Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and French periods. "It was spectacular," said archaeologist Kamel Stiti, co-director of the excavations. "In one look, you could see two millennia of Algiers' history." The remains, on the location of a Roman port town called Icosium, were discovered in 2009 when the ministry of culture ordered surveys along the planned metro line. Archaeologists have since discovered coins, weapons, a public building paved with 5th century mosaics and a large 7th century Byzantine...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/13/17)
The United Arab Emirates, one of the Middle East's largest economies, wants to expand trade ties with faster growing nations in Asia and Africa, a senior official said on Sunday. Rich Gulf Arab states are looking at ways to diversify their economies, including who they trade with, after more than two years of depressed oil prices forced a rethink of government spending. The pace of economic growth in Asian and sub-Saharan African economies has made them ideal partners, Abdullah al-Saleh, undersecretary for foreign trade and industry at the UAE ministry of the economy, told Reuters in an interview in Dubai. Asia's two largest economies China and India are expected to grow by 6.5 percent and 7.2 percent this year whilst...
(AFP (eng) 03/10/17)
In the beginning was .com, followed by a host of other .somethings, but on Friday, 32 years after the world's first domain name was registered, the African Union has launched .africa for the continent. Africans who want to register a website will be able to apply for a .africa domain name in the coming months, which outgoing AU commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said would allow the continent's people and businesses to better reach the world. "With .africa, I would say Africa has finally got its digital identity," said Dlamini-Zuma, who will next week hand power to Chadian Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat after four years at the helm of the continental body Sub-Saharan Africa has one of the lowest rates...
(Middle East Monitor 03/09/17)
Algeria rejected calls for Morocco’s return to the African Union to be hailed in the Arab League on Sunday, a diplomatic source said. The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Algeria’s Permanent Representative to the Arab League Nadir Arbaoui refused the proposal of his Moroccan counterpart to enlist hailing Morocco’s return to the African Union to the agenda of the upcoming meeting of the Arab League prime ministers. The diplomat told the Anadolu Agency that a verbal skirmish erupted between the two representatives that resulted in ending the meeting and raised the issue to the prime ministers themselves. In January, the African Union officially accepted Morocco’s return after three
(Xinhuanet 03/09/17)
A critical mass of trained and well equipped community health workforce is key to easing the rising burden of infectious and noncommunicable diseases in Africa, experts said on Wednesday at a continental forum taking place in Nairobi. The experts, policymakers and campaigners who attended Africa Health Agenda International Conference agreed that optimal engagement of community health workers is key to revolutionize response to diseases ravaging the continent. Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Health Cleopa Mailu in his opening remarks said that investments in training for community health workers will have multiplier impact on Africa's socioeconomic development. "We require highly skilled and motivated cadre of community health workforce to deal with a high diseases burden in disadvantaged settings in this continent. These...
(AFP (eng) 03/08/17)
An official from the Polisario Front fighting for the independence of the Western Sahara on Tuesday blamed Morocco for the resignation of a UN envoy to the disputed territory. Christopher Ross quitting last week was a result of "Morocco blocking negotiations since 2012" on the future of the former Spanish colony, M'hamed Kheddad said. Morocco insists that the Western Sahara is an integral part of its kingdom, but the Algeria-based Polisario is demanding a referendum on self-determination. The two sides fought for control of the territory from 1974 to 1991, with Rabat gaining control of it before a UN-brokered ceasefire took effect. Ross submitted his resignation after spending eight years trying to resolve the dispute. An American who served as...
(AFP (eng) 03/08/17)
Lawyers and human rights campaigners launched an initiative for African whistleblowers in Senegal on Tuesday, aimed at providing a secure means of exposing wrongdoing on the continent. African nations such as Somalia, South Sudan, Libya and Guinea-Bissau regularly appear at the very bottom of rankings such as Transparency International's Corruption Index, while none make it into the top 30. The Platform for the Protection of Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF) will provide guidance from legal experts, secure submission of information and a hotline for potential informants, according to its founders. The initiative is the brainchild of Spanish superstar lawyer Baltasar Garzon -- who has defended Julian Assange of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks -- along with French lawyer William Bourdon, who worked on...
(AFP (eng) 03/07/17)
Switzerland on Monday extradited a former member of the Algerian rebel Armed Islamic Group to France, where he has been wanted since September, Swiss authorities said. Merouane Benahmed, who was arrested in Switzerland six months ago after he skipped out on his house arrest in northwestern France, "was handed over to French authorities at the Thonex-Vallard border crossing," justice ministry spokesman Folco Galli said in an email. Benahmed, who had been living under house arrest in the French town of Evron since 2015, had failed to show up for one his mandated meetings with local police on September 8, triggering his arrest warrant. He was detained in Vallorbe, in the Swiss canton of Vaud, on September 22. Migration authorities at...
(AFP (eng) 03/07/17)
The UN envoy for Western Sahara has offered his resignation after leading efforts for eight years to settle the conflict between Morocco and the Polisario Front independence movement, a senior UN official said Monday. Christopher Ross submitted his resignation in a letter sent last week to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who is considering whether to make a new appointment. Ross's departure would highlight the failure of the United Nations to make progress in settling the decades-old conflict in north Africa. "He has worked for eight years to try to come up with a framework by which the parties -- the king of Morocco and the Front Polisario -- would be able to renew negotiations," said UN political affairs chief Jeffrey...
(Xinhuanet 03/07/17)
Algeria on Monday inaugurated a new air base in the southernmost province of Tamenrasset, as part of the North African nation's efforts to secure its border. The deployment of Hassi Tiririne air base was officially inaugurated by Deputy Defense Minister, Army Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaid Salah, APS news agency reported, quoting a statement of Defense Ministry. This new military installation comes at a time where Algeria is facing constant terrorist threats, including the intrusion of weapons and terrorists. Several arm bunkers have been discovered in recent months along the borderline with Mali, Niger and Libya, while many terrorists were either captured alive or killed. Located in a region plagued by unprecedented security and political instability, experts believe...
(AFP (eng) 03/06/17)
When Fathia was seven years old, she would wait each day for classes to end, throw down her schoolbag and rush to play football with the boys from her neighbourhood. Now in her twenties, Algerian international Fathia plays for all-female club Afak Relizane, where love for "the beautiful game" has trumped gender stereotypes and even militant threats in the conservative yet football-mad North African nation. Coach Sid Ahmed Mouaz helped to launch Afak in 1997 in the middle of Algeria's blood-soaked civil war at a time when armed Islamists prohibited all women's sport. "The terrorists sent me a letter demanding that I stop girls' football," Mouaz recalls. But he refused to be intimidated. Midfielder Fathia has gone on to triumph...
(The Independent 03/06/17)
Th term was coined by sceptical officials, worried about the importance given to Commonwealth trade deals ahead of Brexit negotiations. Plans by government ministers to boost trade links with African Commonwealth countries are being internally branded “empire 2.0” by sceptical officials who are worried about the importance being placed on such deals ahead of the UK’s negotiations of leaving the European Union (EU). International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is expected to promise to build better links with the whole of the 52 member countries of the Commonwealth when ministers from each country meet in London later this week. But as the UK is prepares itself to leave the European Union, The Times reports that British ministers are planning to talk...
(AFP (eng) 03/03/17)
Three jihadist groups operating in the Sahel region have merged to form one single organisation, Mauritania's private news agency ANI said Thursday, citing a video distributed by the Islamists. Among the groups joining the merger south of the Sahara are Mali's Al-Qaeda-linked Ansar Dine and Al-Murabitoun, led by Algerian extremist Mokhtar Belmokhtar. The new movement will operate under the name the Group to Support Islam and Muslims, and will be led by Ansar Dine's Iyag Ag Ghaly, ANI said, adding that it had received the video Wednesday. The Macina Brigades group, active in central Mali, has also joined the merger. ANI distributed a screenshot of the video showing five jihadist leaders seated together, with Iyad Ag Ghaly in the centre...
(AFP (eng) 03/03/17)
Algerian writer Boualem Sansal, whose novel "2084" depicted a dystopian state governed by religious law, says writers and artists need to join the fight against Islamic extremism. "Literature and the arts are not playing a big role in this struggle against barbarism," he said. In an interview with AFP, the 67-year-old elder statesman of Algerian letters urged writers to use their freedom of speech and do more to fight "fundamentalism". An avowed atheist, Sansal has long been a free thinker, criticising both religious fundamentalists and Algeria's government. He has continued to live in Algeria despite being personally
(Bloomberg 03/03/17)
Polar Star Management Ltd., which runs one of the best-performing African and Middle East hedge fund over the past five years, plans to start a private-equity unit that will invest in agriculture to exploit rising demand for food. The Cape Town-based firm plans to use its own money to buy small farms and processing companies in South Africa this year, then increase efficiency through consolidation and better management, said Murray Derksen, a director at Polar Star. It aims to raise 1.5 billion rand ($115 million) for the fund, which may also buy commodities such as grains, while targeting an internal rate of return of 8 percent to 12 percent, he said. “We looked at the increase in corn demand globally,...
(AFP (eng) 03/02/17)
A film raging against colonialism and the exploitation of Africa wowed viewers at the continent's top cinema festival Wednesday, winning shouts of approval at a screening packed to bursting point. "The African Storm" tells the story of an African president who nationalises businesses run by racist, cynical Western executives. Directed and produced by its Beninese star Sylvestre Amoussou, it tackles several hot-button issues including an exit from the CFA franc currency, closer ties with Russia and China as opposed to the West, criticism of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and pride in being African. One of 20 feature-length movies on show at the Panafrican Film and Television Festival (Fespaco) in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou, the movie was punctuated...
(AFP (eng) 03/01/17)
Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has rarely appeared in public since a crippling stroke in 2013, marks his 80th birthday on Thursday amid persistent doubts over his health. He suffered a bout of bronchitis in February, forcing German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the last minute to cancel a scheduled visit to Algiers and sparking renewed speculation about his future. "The president has not directly addressed the Algerians since 2012. No Algerian can believe that there is not a power vacuum," Ahmed Adhimi, a professor of political science at the University of Algiers, told AFP. In a May 2012 speech, Bouteflika hinted he would give up power at the end of his third term in 2014. "For my generation, it's game...
(AFP (eng) 02/28/17)
The Algerian army "neutralised" nine Islamists in the North African country's restive eastern Kabylie region on Tuesday, seizing weapons and ammunition, the defence ministry said. "An army detachment neutralised terrorists near Azzefoun," a coastal town 170 kilometres (105 miles) east of Algiers, a ministry statement said. The authorities use the word "terrorist" to describe armed Islamists who have been active in the country since the early 1990s. A security source told AFP the militants were shot dead following a search near Azzefoun. Soldiers also seized ammunition, two Kalashnikov assault rifles, a sniper rifle, a shotgun and five hunting rifles, the source said.
(AFP (eng) 02/28/17)
The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership -- the world's biggest individual prize -- drew a blank once again in finding a suitable laureate, it was announced Tuesday. The prize only goes to a democratically-elected African leader who demonstrated exceptional leadership, served their mandated term and left office within the last three years. The award comes with $5 million (4.7 million euros) paid over 10 years and $200,000 annually for life from then on. The prize, founded by Sudan-born telecoms tycoon Mo Ibrahim, has only been given four times in its 10-year existence. The philanthropist has said in the past that making no award sent just as strong a message on African leadership. "A very high bar was deliberately...
(AFP (eng) 02/27/17)
The Islamic State jihadist group claimed responsibility on Monday for a suicide bomb attack in east Algeria which police said had been foiled. In a statement posted on the internet, the group said a "martyrdom-seeking brother" had been able to detonate an "explosives-laden bag" at a police station in the city of Constantine. The jihadist group said "a number of apostates" were killed and wounded in Sunday's attack. Police officials said a policeman managed to foil the attack, opening fire on the bomber and triggering the explosives belt he was wearing. National police said the attacker had been approaching the police station when he was shot by the officer. At the time of the foiled attack around 9:00 pm (2000...

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