Sunday 21 January 2018
(AFP (eng) 05/13/17)
​An annual Jewish pilgrimage to Africa's oldest synagogue on Tunisia's Djerba island began on Friday under tight security but in a festive mood. An AFP journalist saw dozens of pilgrims from the North African country and from France heading to the revered Ghriba synagogue to pray, light candles and write wishes on eggs. Some celebrated the centuries-old Lag BaOmer festival by sipping glasses of boukha, a liqueur made from figs. "My parents brought me to Djerba when I was a little boy and each year since I have returned," said Sylvain, who travelled from Paris. "This year I came with my oldest brother and some friends. We are happy to be here," said the 55-year-old interior decorator. Organisers expect the...
(The Associated Press 05/12/17)
Ballet dancer Fady el-Nabarawy feels he can finally breathe again the moment he enters the gates of the Cairo Opera House after a commute from his ramshackle, poor neighborhood. This is where he and his fellow dancers practice, perform, love and create. “Every day, I cannot wait to come here. My oxygen is here,” he said. Ballet is in its own bubble in Egypt, removed from the surrounding society. The elite Western art form is far from Egypt’s own rich traditions of classical Arabic music and dance, let alone the electro-beat sweeping the Arabic pop music scene. The country has grown more conservative, and in the eyes of some Muslims, ballet is outright “nudity.” Social pressure to conform is overpowering,...
(Business Day 05/10/17)
The SABC wants the Broadcasting Act to be changed so that those watching TV via electronic devices can be charged a TV licence fee. The shock proposal was made by acting CEO James Aguma in Parliament on Wednesday while presenting a corporate plan for the 2017-18 financial year to the portfolio committee on communications. The cash-strapped SABC is scrambling to find new revenue streams amid plummeting audience rates that are repelling advertisers who used to spend hundreds of million of rand buying airtime space. Aguma urged MPs to support his idea so that those viewing SABC programmes via devices, such as cellphones‚ tablets and laptops, could be brought into the SABC revenue stream. He believed a majority of non-payers of...
(APA 05/08/17)
The first ever cabinet retreat of the new Gambia Government on Friday and the breaking news of a Gambian citizen joining the Islamic State terrorists group, ISIS dominate the headlines of Gambian newspapers on Monday. The Point Newspaper said the Gambian leader, Mr. Adama Barrow, on Friday presided over his government's first cabinet retreat organised in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in The Gambia, under the theme '' Collaborative Leadership and Dialogue''. Addressing the gathering, President Barrow hailed the ''timeliness'' of the meeting involving his ministers and the team of technicians working together for common vision and development priorities of government, the Newspaper reported. Speaking at the meeting held in Banjul, the United Nations Special representative for...
(The Associated Press 05/08/17)
Archaeologists and conservation experts met in Cairo on Sunday to discuss the safe transportation of King Tutankhamun's throne, chests and bed from the Egyptian Museum in central Cairo to a new one being built on the other side of the Egyptian capital. The meeting, organized by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, brought together experts from Egypt, France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark and Japan. Tareq Tawfiq, a senior ministry official in charge of the new museum, told The Associated Press that the meeting's primary objective was to reach a "global consensus" on how to safely transport and display King Tut's items in the new museum being built close to the famed Giza Pyramids. The meeting also discussed methods to display the...
(AFP (eng) 05/06/17)
Young, fashion-conscious and eager for change, thousands of Zimbabweans spent this week partying at music concerts and open-air bars during a six-day festival hosted in the capital against all the odds. The Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), founded in 1999, was abandoned last year as Zimbabwe's economy crumbled and left desperate locals unable to withdraw money from banks. Despite many sponsors pulling out, festival organisers have revived an event widely seen as an expression of defiance against the country's woes under 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe. "Cash is everyone's major problem," Chidochemoyo Nemhara, 29, a festival-goer who works for a women's business group, told AFP.
(Radio Dabanga 05/05/17)
The Sudanese Journalists Network says that the Sudanese press is still facing real problems, most importantly by the state's prior and pre-censorship of newspapers and violations of journalists' rights. Speaking on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day yesterday, the network confirmed the rise in the violations against the press in 2016 and predicted a rise during the last half of this year. Hassan Barkiya, the member of the Journalists' Network told Radio Dabanga that the Sudanese press is facing real problems, including authoritarian interventions by the state and structural problems related to the press institutions themselves and the press industry. He said that the press is working in an unfavourable legal and political environment that restricts press freedom, hinders...
(AFP (eng) 05/04/17)
South African visual artist William Kentridge, best known for his animated films of shape-shifting charcoal drawings, won on Thursday Spain's top arts prize, the Princess of Asturias award. The prize jury hailed Kentridge, 62, as "one of the most multifaceted innovative artists on the international scene" in its citation for the 50,000 euros ($57,000) award. His work "has expressed emotions and metaphors related to the history and reality of his country which nonetheless transcend the latter and raise essential questions regarding the human condition," it added. Born in Johannesburg in 1955, Kentridge's parents were both lawyers specialised in defending the victims of the apartheid white minority rule in South Africa.
(AFP (eng) 05/04/17)
Israel warned its citizens on Wednesday against visiting Tunisia, where Jewish pilgrims will celebrate a religious festival later this month, citing the threat of jihadist attack. It also said any Israelis there should "leave the country immediately." The festival of Lag BaOmer draws hundreds of Jews to tombs of revered rabbis as well as the famed El Ghriba synagogue on the Tunisian holiday island of Djerba. This year the pilgrimage is due to start on May 12, according to organisers. "Terrorist elements, especially those affiliated with global jihad, continue to act toward carrying out attacks in Tunisia," the counter-terrorism bureau said in a statement released by the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "There is a risk of attacks, against...
(The Associated Press 05/04/17)
Egypt's antiquities ministry says that a Spanish archaeological mission has discovered a nearly 4000-year old funerary garden in the southern city of Luxor. In a Wednesday statement, the ministry said the rectangular-shaped garden was found during excavations in an open courtyard of a rock-cut tomb belonging to the Middle Kingdom of ancient Egypt. The garden is divided into four squared sections. Each covers 30 square centimeters and is believed to have contained different kinds of plants and flowers. The head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector, Mahmoud Afifi, says the discovery is the first of its kind in the area.
(AFP (eng) 05/03/17)
Tunisian and international non-governmental organisations warned Tuesday of deteriorating freedom of the press in a country considered to be a rare success story of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. "The Tunisian government these past weeks has not stopped tightening its grip on the press," they said in a joint statement published on World Press Freedom Day. Twenty-five associations, including the Tunisian Press Syndicate, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Amnesty International, said they were "deeply concerned" about the creation of a regulatory body for audiovisual communication. Six years after a popular uprising toppled longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the rights groups expressed concern about the recent banning of a small daily
(Voice of America 05/03/17)
Ethiopia’s state of emergency has seen thousands of people detained, allegedly in connection with the unrest last year in the Oromia region. Those arrested have included journalists and bloggers. VOA sat down with three of them in Addis Ababa ahead of World Press Freedom Day (May 3). University lecturer and commentator Seyoum Teshome was arrested in October and detained for two months after he gave a radio interview to Deutsche Welle in which he criticized the government. Since his release, Seyoum has continued to post several times a week on various political blogs and social media about current affairs. “I got so many warnings from the local officials, from the command post, from the security officials. It’s very, very risky...
(Premium Times 05/03/17)
An escalating spate of arrests of journalists and intimidation of bloggers as well as the violent crushing of peaceful protests across Nigeria shows the authorities’ determination to suppress the right to freedom of expression, said Amnesty International, Wednesday, on World Press Freedom Day. The organisation is urging the federal and state governments to respect international human rights law and the Nigerian constitution by protecting the right to freedom of expression and press freedom including by ensuring that state machinery is not used to harass and intimidate anyone simply for expressing opinions that those in power dislike. “Escalating arrests of journalists and violent disruption of peaceful protests since the start of 2017 shows staggering decline of freedom of expression and assembly...
(AFP (eng) 04/30/17)
In the Congolese town once home to the palm oil plantations of Anglo-Dutch conglomerate Unilever, memories of forced labour mingle with nostalgia for its lost decades of prosperity. Formerly known as Leverville, the town is now called Lusanga. Grass grows in the remains of villas, offices are abandoned and factories are in ruin, testament to the tumultuous history of this part of southwest Democratic Republic of Congo. Back in 1911, while a Belgian colony, vast concessions of palm tree forests were granted to English entrepreneur William Lever, whose company Lever Brothers gave birth two decades later to Unilever, an international food and consumer products giant.
(AFP (eng) 04/28/17)
"I haven't once spoken my mother tongue Kilokele in the 62 years I've lived in Kinshasa. None of my nine children speak it," says Charles Tongohala. Tongohala's native tongue is one of 450 spoken in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a sprawling nation of 71 million people whose lingos -- almost all of them spoken, not written -- account for nine percent of the world's 5,000 languages. He was a boy when he moved to DR Congo's capital from a northeastern village home to the Lokele fisher people, who live along the banks of the giant Congo river and speak Kilokele. Now retired, Tongohala worked for Congo's river transport company. Daniel Mukebayi, another Kinshasa resident, speaks Tshiluba, the language of...
(AFP (eng) 04/28/17)
A video clip apparently showing the traditional ruler of Lagos snubbing the spiritual leader of the Yoruba people has caused controversy in Nigeria. In the footage, the 73-year-old Oba (king) of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, appears to rebuff the greetings of the Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, at a public event in the city Tuesday. The ooni, 42, then went quietly to his seat without incident but what appeared to be the oba's dismissive attitude sparked protests online -- and speculation as to what was behind it. The Ooni of Ife is the most powerful and influential monarch among the Yoruba people of southwest Nigeria, who are the country's second biggest ethnic group after the Hausa-Fulani. Historically, the ooni or...
(Agence Ecofin 04/28/17)
Press freedom in Nigeria continues on its downward path in Nigeria. This is what reveals the recent World Press Freedom index produced by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Indeed, the ranking puts the African nation at the 122nd position out of 180 countries graded, while it was 116th in 2016. According to the report, “in Nigeria, it is nearly impossible to cover stories involving politics, terrorism or financial embezzlement”. “Journalists are often threatened, subjected to physical violence, or denied access to information by government officials, police, and sometimes the public itself”. In Africa, the three most well ranked nations in RSF’s index are Namibia (24th in the world), Ghana and South Africa (26th and 31st respectively). Closing the ranking on the...
(AFP (eng) 04/21/17)
A painting by a South African artist showing President Jacob Zuma raping the late Nelson Mandela has caused outrage in the country, with the ruling party Friday describing it as "grotesque". The piece by controversial artist Ayanda Mabulu shows Zuma seated on a red chair, penetrating a crying Mandela. Both men have their legs wide apart, exposing their genitals. The African National Congress and the Nelson Mandela Foundation have condemned the colourful artwork titled: "The economy of rape". "Whilst we respect Mabulu's freedom of expression, we find his work grotesque, inflammatory and of bad taste,"
(Reuters (Eng) 04/20/17)
Egypt has unveiled a massive granite statue of Ramses II, the most powerful and celebrated of the ancient Pharaohs, after completing its restoration. Standing 11 meters (36 feet) tall and weighing 75 tons, the statue was presented in a floodlit ceremony at the Luxor Temple on the banks of the Nile on Tuesday evening. When the statue was discovered between 1958 and 1960, it was in 57 pieces. Ramses II, also known as Ramses the Great or Ozymandias, reigned more than 3,000 years ago. He led several military expeditions and expanded the Egyptian empire to stretch from Syria in the north to Nubia in the south. The statue was displayed just hours after archaeologists unveiled the tomb of a nobleman...
(Seychelles News Agency 04/19/17)
A national pavilion showcasing the work of 16 Seychellois artists will be part of the 57th edition of the Venice Biennale exhibition titled 'Viva Arte Viva.' The exhibition - curated by Martin Kennedy and organised by the Seychelles Art Projects Foundation (SAPF) - will showcase the tortoises of the island nation and has been aptly named "Slowly Quietly." The title for the Venice Biennale exhibition was chosen by Christine Macel who explains that, "Viva Arte Viva is an exclamation, an expression of the passion for art and for the state of the artist. Viva Arte Viva is a Biennale designed with the artists, by the artists and for the artists." The Seychellois pavilion will feature 16 life-sized sculptures of the...

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