Wednesday 25 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
President Donald Trump said the United States "deeply respects" Africans and will dispatch its top diplomat to the continent, in a letter to African leaders seen by AFP on Sunday. The letter sent last week comes after Trump provoked a firestorm of indignation among African nations earlier in January when he reportedly called them "shithole countries" during a meeting with lawmakers in Washington. While Trump has denied the remarks, they are expected to be formally condemned by the 55 member states of the African Union during their ongoing summit in the Ethiopian capital. "I want to underscore that the United States deeply respects the people of Africa, and my commitment to strong and respectful relationships...
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
Jean-Marc Froment leant against a railing at the lodge in Pendjari National Park in Benin's far north, and spotted about 40 elephants drinking at a large water hole. Almost in slow motion, a group of adults -- their trunks and ears pointing forward -- chased away two female lions watching nearby and stood in the way of other predators so their young could quench their thirst in safety. "See how they're arriving calmly? That was unthinkable a couple of months ago. They were still very nervous," said Froment, the head of conservation for African Parks. Froment, who is originally from Belgium, moved to Benin four months ago and has spent his working life across Africa, helping countries to protect their...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
US President Donald Trump on Friday asked the African Union chairman to pass on his "warmest regards" to other regional leaders at a summit this weekend, after sparking outrage with a reported slur against Africans. Trump met Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where some African business leaders say they are planning to boycott Trump's closing speech later Friday. The outspoken US leader congratulated Kagame on taking over as chair of the 55-nation African bloc, which Trump said was a "great honour". "I know you're going to your first meeting shortly. Please give my warmest regards," Trump told Kagame after they held a one-on-one meeting at the forum.
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
The oldest remains of a modern human outside Africa have been dug up in Israel, offering evidence of what genetic studies have already suggested -- that humans migrated out of Africa some 50,000 years earlier than previously thought. Facial fragments, including a jawbone and several teeth, were found at a site called Misliya Cave in Israel, one of several prehistoric cave sites located on Mount Carmel. The bones date to between 174,000 and 188,000 years old, said the report in Thursday's edition of the US journal Science. Until now, the earliest modern human fossils found outside of Africa were estimated to be between 90,000 to 120,000 years old. "Misliya is an exciting discovery," said co-author Rolf Quam, an anthropology professor...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/22/18)
KLEINARL, Austria (Reuters) - The chilly conditions on an Austrian mountainside belied the warm reception given to people from 15 African countries who took part in an annual luge race aimed at helping migrants integrate into European society. The event over the weekend, dubbed the African Winter Sports Cup, is a luge race contested by people with little or no experience of winter sports. Its aim, over the six years it has been held, is to promote social integration through sport, organizers said. The countries represented included Nigeria, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan. Some of the people taking part had come to Europe as asylum seekers while others were born on the continent. “We are all human, we have...
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
A proposed law to ban public-sector workers in Benin from going on strike has been declared unconstitutional, after three days of protests. The constitutional court said the proposed law was "non-compliant with the constitution", a source at the institution told AFP late Thursday. "(The court) wants lawmakers to legislate to protect the right to strike rather than ban it," the source added on condition of anonymity. The court has to officially inform President Patrice Talon of the decision. That is likely to take place next week, the source said. Benin's parliament last month approved the controversial law to prevent the military, police, health and court service workers from going on strike. Talon has said it was part of the "tough"...
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
US Ambassador Nikki Haley expressed regret on Thursday to African ambassadors who were outraged by President Donald Trump's alleged description of African countries as "shithole" nations, the head of the African Group said. Haley asked to meet the African ambassadors at the United Nations after they released a joint statement on Friday demanding an apology from Trump for his "outrageous, racist and xenophobic remarks." Ambassador Anatolio Ndong Mba of Equatorial Guinea, who chairs the Africa Group, said the US ambassador did not offer an apology during the closed-door meeting, but she did express regret. Haley told the meeting that "she was not there at the White House, she is not sure what was said, but she regretted all this situation...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
Civil servants in Benin walked out on Wednesday, calling for the repeal of a new law banning them from taking industrial action. The three-day strike, called for by seven trade unions representing public sector workers in areas such as health and the justice system, began on Tuesday. Many courts, schools and medical clinics in the country's commercial capital, Cotonou, were deserted as a result, according to AFP reporters in the city. In response, the government attempted to get workers back at their posts but union leaders said the tactic had not worked and the strikers had held firm. Benin's parliament last month approved the controversial law to prevent the military, police, health and justice workers from going on strike. The...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
There's nothing covert about Roxy -- a huge market in Abidjan selling counterfeit medicine, the scourge of Africa and the cause of around 100,000 deaths annually on the world's poorest continent. Located in the bustling Adjame quarter of Ivory Coast's main city and commercial hub, the haven for fake medicine has been targeted time and again by authorities and stockpiles burnt. But it resurfaces every time. "The police hassle us but they themselves buy these medicines," said Mariam, one of the many mainly illiterate vendors who hawk everything from painkillers and antibiotics to anti-malaria and anti-retroviral treatments. "When we are harassed we always come to an arrangement with them to resume our activities," she said. Fatima, another hawker, said: "Many...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
The African Union said Friday that President Donald Trump's reported description of African nations as "shithole countries" broke with "accepted behaviour" and was "extremely upsetting." Ebba Kalondo, spokeswoman for AU Chairperson Moussa Faki, told AFP that Trump's statement "truly flies in the face of accepted behaviour and practice." "This is not only hurtful, I think, to people of African origin in the United States, but certainly to African citizens," she said. "It's an extremely upsetting statement," she added. The comment was reportedly made during a Thursday meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
President Donald Trump reportedly lashed out in a Thursday meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform, demanding to know why the US should accept citizens from what he called "shithole" countries. The comments, first reported by The Washington Post, sparked anger among Democrats and Republicans and revived questions about Trump's tendency to make racially charged remarks. Trump sat down with senators and congressmen at the White House to discuss a proposed bipartisan deal that would limit immigrants from bringing family members into the country, and restrict the green card visa lottery in exchange for shielding hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation. "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" Trump said, according to people briefed...
(AFP (eng) 01/05/18)
Magistrates in Benin on Thursday announced a five-day strike in protest against a parliamentary decision to ban strikes by workers in essential services. The National Union of Benin Magistrates (UNAMAB), said its members would hold a five-day strike starting on January 8. "We cannot tolerate such a democratic retreat.. it is urgent to respond vigorously to the beginning of the liquidation of Benin's democracy," UNAMAB said in a statement. The controversial law voted in by parliament on December 28, bans strikes by "the military, public security agents (including police, customs officers and firefighters), health services workers, judicial staff, prison officers and those concerned with state security". On Wednesday Justice Minister Joseph Djogbenou spoke out in support of the new law...
(AFP (eng) 01/03/18)
Israel on Wednesday began implementing a plan to force tens of thousands of African migrants out of the country by April, threatening to arrest those who stay. "This plan will get under way today," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting. Under the programme, some 38,000 migrants who entered Israel illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese, will have until the end of March to leave. Each will receive a plane ticket and $3,500 (2,900 euros) to do so. After the deadline, this amount will decrease and those who continue to refuse to go will face arrest. Holot, an open facility in Israel's desert south that can host 1,200 migrants who are allowed to leave to work...
(AFP (eng) 12/18/17)
France on Monday accepted a first group of 19 refugees who were identified in Africa under an overhauled asylum policy that will also see it expel thousands of economic migrants. While it has drawn little public outcry in France, the policy faces stiff opposition from the left and from charities that shelter migrants, 22 of which called in an open letter for France's rights ombudsman Jacques Toubon to intervene. Djamel, a refugee from the Central African Republic, arrived at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport with his wife and four children after spending four years at a camp in Chad, telling AFP: "Now we've no other family. Now you are our family." The new refugees -- also hailing from Sudan --...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/15/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Giving poor families just $6 a month has significantly reduced child trafficking in parts of the West African country of Benin where there is a longstanding practice of exploiting children for labor in fields and mines, the World Bank said. At least 40,000 children a year are estimated to be victims of trafficking in Benin, according to the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF, although the latest data is a decade old. The phenomenon is widespread and growing, with many parents selling their children into labor because they cannot support them...
(AFP (eng) 12/11/17)
Up to 6,000 Africans who fought for the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in Iraq and Syria could return home, the African Union's top security official warned Sunday, calling on countries to prepare for the threat. Smail Chergui, the AU's commissioner for peace and security, said African nations would need to work closely with each other and share intelligence to counter returning militants. "There are reports of 6,000 African fighters among the 30,000 foreign elements who joined this terrorist group in the Middle East," Chergui told a meeting in Algiers, according to the Algeria Press Service news agency. "The return of these elements to Africa poses a serious threat to our national security and stability and requires specific treatment and...
(AFP (eng) 12/07/17)
The African Union has upped its goal to repatriate stranded migrants from Libya, saying in a statement that it aims to bring 20,000 Africans home in the next six weeks. Pressure has grown on the continental body and individual African states to get their citizens out of Libya after CNN broadcast a report showing black Africans being sold as slaves in the north African country. The African Union had earlier said it wanted to repatriate 15,000 migrants by the year's end, but increased its goal after a task force - including AU, European Union and United Nations officials -- met earlier this week.
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
Angry AIDS activists are urging western and central Africa to step up the fight against HIV, saying millions of people, especially children, are at risk from complacency and underfunding. A six-day conference in Africa has thrown a stark light on the problems in a region whose two dozen nations extend from Mauritania in the north to Gabon in the south, and include some of the poorest countries in the world. Coalition Plus, an alliance of AIDS groups, said AIDS-related deaths in western and central Africa are running at 5.1 percent, more than twice the 2.1 percent in the rest of the continent. The region accounts for just six percent of the global population, but has at least 16 percent of...
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
Conflicts, violence and disaster across Africa forced some 15,000 people to flee their homes every day in the first half of the year, international monitors said Wednesday. A total of 2.7 million Africans were internally displaced within their own countries in the first six months of 2017, a report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) found. They join the estimated 12.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) living in African countries at the end of 2016. That number does not include those who have fled across borders to seek refuge, with UN figures showing there were more than 5.6 million refugees in Africa by end of last year. Internal displacement has soared in a...
(AFP (eng) 12/05/17)
The head of the UN's AIDS agency on Monday urged African countries to protect young women and children who are bearing the brunt of the continent's AIDS epidemic. A sharp rise of people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has now slowed, "but now is not the time to drop our guard," Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, told the start of a six-day conference on HIV/AIDS and sexually-transmitted diseases in Africa. "The many changes under way in our world should not threaten the sustainability of our great achievements in the AIDS response," he warned. "We cannot afford to lose our gains. If we want to end this epidemic, we must act now and act differently." About 36.7 million...

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