Saturday 24 June 2017
(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...
(AFP (eng) 02/27/17)
The trial opened Sunday of a police colonel charged with the February 2010 gunning down of Algeria's police chief Ali Tounsi during a meeting in his Algiers offices. Colonel Chouaib Oultache, who headed the air division of the Directorate General for National Security (DGSN), or civil police, stands accused of "premeditated homicide". The interior ministry said at the time of the murder seven years ago that Tounsi was shot dead by a policeman with his service weapon in a moment of "mental disorder". The court on Sunday agreed to hear seven witnesses, including doctors who examined the police chief's body, from a list of 10 submitted by the defence, lawyer Amine Sidhoum told AFP. Oultache has already been sentenced to...
(AFP (eng) 02/27/17)
Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika is "doing well" despite a health scare last week which forced him to postpone a meeting with the German Chancellor, the general secretary of his party said. The president's office said he could not meet Angela Merkel in Algeria last Monday because he was suffering from bronchitis, but the 79-year-old has had persistent health woes leading to several periods in hospital over the past decade. "The president is doing well and is carrying out his engagements as usual," Djamel Ould Abbes of the National Liberation Front said in remarks carried by the press agency APS on Sunday. Bouteflika, Algeria's longest-serving leader, suffered a mini-stroke in 2013 that affected his mobility and speech. The 79-year-old has since...
(AFP (eng) 02/27/17)
Morocco said Sunday it will pull back from a zone of the contested Western Sahara that has raised tensions with Algeria-backed Polisario Front separatists. "The Kingdom of Morocco will proceed from today with a unilateral withdrawal from the (Guerguerat) zone," the foreign ministry said in a statement. It said the decision was taken by King Mohamed VI at the request of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Rabat now "hopes the secretary general's intervention will allow a return to the previous situation in the zone concerned, keep its status intact, allow the flow of normal road traffic and thus safeguard the ceasefire", it said. In a telephone call to Guterres on Friday, the king called on the United Nations to take...
(Xinhuanet 02/27/17)
Three police officers were injured late on Sunday as a suicide bomber blew himself out near a police station in the eastern province of Constantine, local media reported. The terrorist attack occurred in the locality of Bab el Kantara in downtown Constantine, TSA news website reported, specifying that a suicide bomber tried to blow himself out inside the police station, but was deterred by a policeman who opened fire on him. While falling down, the suicide bomber detonated his explosive belt, killing himself and injuring three police officers, the report said. Soon after the attack, counter-terrorism units were deployed around the police station. Located in a region plagued by unprecedented security and political instability, Algeria faces ongoing terrorist threats.
(AFP (eng) 02/27/17)
An African road movie about four women wowed its audience Sunday as it kicked off the Panafrican cinema and television festival (Fespaco), a showcase for the continent's burgeoning film industry. "Borders" ("Frontieres") directed by Apolline Traore, a Fespaco laureate in 2013, sweeps across Africa as its protagonists journey through Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Benin on their way to Nigeria. Along the way the women -- Ivorian, Senegalese, Burkinabe and Nigerian actresses -- are spared nothing as they are beset by customs officers, thieves, murderers and rapists. The film -- the first feature-length film to show at the festival -- deals with "the bravery of women," Traore told AFP at the festival in the Burkinabe capital Ouagadougou. "There is a...
(AFP (eng) 02/25/17)
Morocco's King Mohammed VI on Friday asked the United Nations to take urgent measures to end "provocation" by the Algeria-backed Polisario Front threatening the ceasefire in the disputed Western Sahara. Morocco insists that the former Spanish colony is an integral part of its kingdom, but the Polisario is demanding a referendum on self-determination. The two sides fought for control of the Western Sahara from 1974 to 1991, with Rabat gaining control of the territory before a UN-brokered ceasefire took effect. Mohammed VI spoke on Friday with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to deplore "repeated incursion by armed Polisario men" in the Guerguerat district, a royal court statement said. The king said that Polisario "provocation" and "premeditated" action in the region...
(AFP (eng) 02/23/17)
For the first time in Africa, researchers said Wednesday they have detected a malaria parasite that is partially resistant to the top anti-malaria drug, artemisinin, raising concern about efforts to fight a disease that sickens hundreds of millions of people each year. The discovery means that Africa now joins southeast Asia in hosting such drug-resistant forms of the mosquito-borne disease. Malaria infected more than 200 million people and killed some 438,000 people worldwide in 2015, most of them children in Africa. "The spread of artemisinin resistance in Africa would be a major setback in the fight against malaria, as ACT (artemisinin-based combination therapy) is the only effective and widely used antimalarial treatment at the moment," said lead author Arnab Pain,...
(Agence Ecofin 02/22/17)
Mali’s and Algeria’s ministers of energy, Malick Alhousseini and Noureddine Bouterfa respectively, are working on ways to implement the energy cooperation agreement established between the two nations in November 2016. The cooperation is to help Mali benefit from Algeria’s experience in terms of construction and management of solar and wind stations as well as in terms of power network development. According to Bouterfa, it should be facilitated by the geographical similarities between the two nations. The partnership will especially be helpful to Mali in the framework of its electrification program which is to benefit remote areas and see the construction of two hybrid power plants of 40 MW each in Gaoua
(Xinhuanet 02/22/17)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Algeria scheduled for Monday and Tuesday has been postponed to a later date due to Algerian President Bouteflika "acute bronchitis," according to the statement issued by the president office. "Algerian and German authorities mutually agreed on Monday to postpone Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Angela Merkel's official visit," read the official APS agency's statement. The source specified that the visit will be rescheduled on a date to be agreed upon by both parties. President Bouteflika, 80, is recovering from a stroke at the end of April 2013 which restricted his mobility and presidential activities. The president's health has been the subject of controversy as opposition parties claim he can no longer govern...
(Xinhuanet 02/22/17)
Africa Energy Indaba, the continent's premier energy event, kicked off in Johannesburg on Monday with the aim of finding solutions to the continent's energy future. The three-day conference is being attended by the governments' representatives, business and funders. The meeting seeks to unleash the continent's potential by coming up with an energy mix to develop Africa. Dr. Garth Strachan, Deputy Director General and Head of Gas Industrialization Unit in South Africa's Department of Trade and Industry said the recent discoveries of gas in Mozambique, Angola and Tanzania provides a huge opportunity for the continent. He said there is a need for the countries to work together to tap benefits from the gas for the good of the continent. Strachan said...
(AFP (eng) 02/21/17)
Speculation mounted Tuesday over Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's health and political future after acute bronchitis forced the 79-year-old to postpone a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel had been due to meet him Monday as part of efforts to push North African countries to reduce the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean into Europe. But Bouteflika's office said he was "temporarily unavailable due to acute bronchitis", forcing Merkel's visit to be pushed back. Bouteflika, who has been in power since 1999, suffered a stroke in 2013 that affected his speech and confined him to a wheelchair. He has rarely appeared in public since, but frequently visits France for medical treatment. "From great alacrity to temporary unavailability," read Algeria's French-language...
(AfricaNews 02/21/17)
The Algerian presidency has announced that the official visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been postponed due to what they described as the “temporary unavailability” of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The statement released today disclosed that the President was suffering from “acute bronchitis,” the reason why he was unable to meet with the German Chancellor. “The Algerian and German authorities have today agreed, by mutual agreement, the postponement of the official visit to Algeria by Her Excellency Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.
(Bloomberg 02/21/17)
Ashish Thakkar, who co-founded Africa banking conglomerate Atlas Mara Ltd. with ex-Barclays Plc head Bob Diamond, lost a ruling over the ownership of family assets in a London divorce case, with a judge questioning Thakkar’s truthfulness. Judge Philip Moor ruled that Thakkar, and not his mother and sister, was the owner of disputed assets in the divorce. He found that the 35-year-old owned 100 percent of Mara Group Holdings Ltd. and other corporate entities. The result will have ramifications in the proceedings where a judge will have to decide how much Thakkar -- described in videos posted on his foundation’s website as "Africa’s Youngest Billionaire" -- is worth. Thakkar says he has assets of 445,532 pounds ($553,000) while his wife,...
(AFP (eng) 02/20/17)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Algiers was called off on Monday because President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was "temporarily unavailable" due to "acute bronchitis", his office said. "Algerian and German authorities have today mutually agreed to postpone the official visit" of Merkel, the presidency said in a statement. "This postponement is due to the fact that Mr Bouteflika, who is at his residence in Algiers, is temporarily unavailable due to acute bronchitis," it added. Merkel had been due to arrive in the capital at 1700 GMT as part of efforts to get North African countries to reduce the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean into Europe. Bouteflika, 79, suffered a mini-stroke in 2013 that affected his mobility and speech. He has...
(AFP (eng) 02/20/17)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits Algeria from Monday to press efforts to get North African countries to reduce the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean into Europe. Merkel, who last week hosted Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, is hoping for partnerships with Maghreb countries and Egypt to prevent a new wave of migrants making the dangerous sea crossing to the EU. Merkel arrives in Algiers at 1700 GMT before holding meetings with Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal and, on Tuesday, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Algeria is a key actor in seeking to stabilise neighbouring Libya...

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