Tuesday 20 February 2018
(AFP (eng) 02/07/18)
Benin's public sector unions on Wednesday claimed "a small step forward" following a meeting with President Patrice Talon over weeks of strike action that have paralysed the public sector. Union leaders met government officials and Talon on Tuesday night to discuss an end to the crisis, which has seen mass walk-outs at hospitals, schools and courts. "We brought up the question of freedoms and expressed our unhappiness... the head of state did not dismiss it," Anselme Amoussou, of the confederation of independent unions, told AFP. "There's been a small step forward", he added but maintained that planned strike action would not be suspended. Benin has been gripped by industrial action for weeks over Talon's proposed...
(AFP (eng) 02/03/18)
Megastar Rihanna vowed she would "never stop fighting" to get millions of children back in school on Friday as French President Emmanuel Macron promised a major boost in foreign aid for education in developing nations. Macron co-hosted a conference in Dakar organised by the Global Partnership for Education with Senegalese President Macky Sall, while Rihanna attended as the organisation's global ambassador. "We have made tremendous progress today but of course our work is never done, we have a long way to go, and this is a fight we are never going to stop fighting, until every boy and every girl has access to education," she told the crowd. At ease with the African heads of state gathered onstage, Rihanna put...
(AFP (eng) 02/02/18)
Rihanna on Thursday used her star power to urge key governments to commit to ensuring education for the world's poorest as she takes part in an international conference in Senegal. The chart-topping singer arrived in the capital Dakar where she on Friday will join the Global Partnership for Education talks co-hosted by Senegalese President Macky Sall and French leader Emmanuel Macron. Rihanna, the fourth most followed person on Twitter with 86 million followers, took to social media to urge Macron,...
(AFP (eng) 01/31/18)
Benin's vast Pendjari National Park, one of West Africa's last remaining wildlife refuges, will receive $23.5 million (18.9 million euros) to help protect it and fight poaching, donors announced in London on Wednesday. The Benin government will provide $6 million (4.8 million euros), with the National Geographic Society donating $7.5 million (6 million euros) and the US Wyss Foundation stumping up the rest through the African Parks NGO, the groups said at a press conference. The 4,800-square-kilometre Pendjari is one...
(AFP (eng) 01/30/18)
Matthieu Yoa smiles at a job well done. The ranger and his colleagues have just put a satellite tracking collar on an elephant in the Pendjari National Park in northern Benin. "It was very strong," he says in halting French, visibly emotional about what he has just done to help protect the animal. Although Yoa was born just a few kilometres (miles) outside the huge 4,700-square-kilometre (1,814-square-mile) park, the 23-year-old had never seen the wild animals until two months ago...
(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...
(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...
(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...
(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...
(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...
(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...
(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...
(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...
(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...
(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) 12/07/17)
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...
(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...
(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...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/30/17)
DAKAR/LIBORE, Niger (Reuters) - Mabingue Ngom, the head of the U.N. Population Fund in West Africa, knows that if he wants to cut birth rates he can’t ignore religion. Population experts like Ngom are worried that if West Africa’s population continues to grow at its current pace - the region has the highest birth rate in the world - it will drive fiercer competition for scarce water and farmland, and fuel malnutrition, conflict and ever more economic refugees. West African...

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