Tuesday 23 January 2018
(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...
(AFP (eng) 01/20/18)
The airport serving the Libyan capital resumed flights on Saturday following a five-day suspension after deadly clashes around the facility that also damaged planes on the tarmac. Lotfi Khalil, the director general of Mitiga airport on the eastern outskirts of Tripoli, said services resumed with Buraq Air flying to the eastern city of Tobruk and Libyan Airlines leaving for Tunis. One local carrier, state-owned Afriqiyah Airways, however, has yet to resume operations because its planes were damaged in Monday's fighting in which at least 20 people were killed, he told AFP.
(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...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
A three-month old baby has died after being picked up by rescuers at sea off Libya, because bad weather and a lack of boats made a medical evacuation impossible, aid organisations said Thursday. Over 1,650 migrants have been rescued in the Mediterranean since Tuesday, including many women and children. While some were brought to land Thursday, hundreds of others could be trapped for days yet by stormy seas. The Proactiva Open Arms and Sea Watch 3, which have plucked over...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - The only functioning airport in Libya’s capital Tripoli remained shut for a third day on Wednesday after fierce clashes between armed groups damaged planes belonging to all four of the airlines that operate there. The fighting erupted on Monday after one of the city’s many armed groups launched an attack at Mitiga Airport in an apparent effort to secure the release of prisoners held in an adjacent prison. At least 20 people were killed and 60 wounded...
(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) 01/16/18)
The Libyan capital's only working international airport remained closed to flights on Tuesday, the airport said, a day after fighting killed at least 20 people and damaged several planes. Mitiga airport said in a statement that all scheduled flights had been rerouted through the western city of Misrata. Mitiga airport, a former military air base on the eastern fringes of Tripoli, was evacuated on Monday after militiamen attacked it in an attempt to free colleagues held at a jail there...
(AFP (eng) 01/16/18)
Fighting at the Libyan capital's only working international airport killed at least 20 people Monday, officials said, after militiamen attacked it in an attempt to free colleagues held at a jail there. Mitiga airport, a former military air base on the eastern outskirts of the capital, was evacuated when the clashes erupted and roads to the facility were closed. Six Libyan aircraft on the tarmac were hit by gunfire, an airport source said. In an updated casualty toll, the health ministry of Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) said 20 people were killed and 63 wounded in the clashes. It did not specify if the casualties were civilians or fighters.
(Reuters (Eng) 01/16/18)
TRIPOLI/TUNIS (Reuters) - Fierce clashes broke out in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Monday, killing at least 20 people, shutting the airport, and damaging planes during what the government said was a failed attempt to spring militants from a nearby prison. The attack triggered the heaviest fighting in Tripoli for months, undercutting claims by the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) to have largely stabilised the city. The violence also undermines GNA efforts to persuade diplomatic missions to return...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/16/18)
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - An Airbus A319 passenger jet belonging to Libya’s Afriqiyah Airways was damaged by artillery fire during clashes between rival armed groups at Tripoli’s Mitiga airport on Monday. A Reuters reporter saw the plane, which was empty at the time it was hit, sitting in a hangar with a hole in its roof. Two other passenger jets operated by Libyan Wings airline suffered minor damage from gunfire during the clashes, which caused the airport to shut earlier on...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/15/18)
TRIPOLI/TUNIS (Reuters) - Heavy clashes broke out in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Monday, leaving at least 10 people dead and shutting the airport during what the government said was an attempt to spring militants from a nearby prison. The attack triggered the heaviest fighting in Tripoli for months, undercutting claims by the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) to have largely stabilized the city. It also undermines GNA efforts to persuade diplomatic missions to return. Automatic gunfire and...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Fierce fighting forced the closure of the Libyan capital's only civilian airport on Monday, officials said, after a militia in charge of security there said it had been attacked. The Facebook page of Mitiga International Airport, in eastern Tripoli, said "flights have been suspended because of fighting that broke out this morning". Al-Radaa, a force loyal to the UN-backed Libyan government and tasked with keeping the facility secure, said in a statement it had come under attack. An armed group...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
The United Nations' political chief held talks on Thursday with the head of Libya's parliament about elections to be held under a UN plan to stabilise the strife-ridden country. Jeffrey Feltman, who is on a tour of Libya and Tunisia, travelled to the eastern town of Al-Qobba where the parliament is based for the meeting with speaker Aguila Saleh. "The meeting, attended by the UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame, focused on the elections scheduled for this year," said parliament...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
Libya marked the destruction of its last toxic arms Thursday, hailed by the world's chemical weapons watchdog as a "historic occasion" to make the world a safer place. The final destruction of some 500 metric tonnes of chemical products at a facility based in Munster in western Germany, was a "historic occasion for disarmament and security," the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said. "It heralds the end of Libya's chemical demilitarisation process and another step towards fulfilling...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
The Berbers -- descendants of pre-Arab populations across North Africa -- are currently celebrating their New Year festivities. On Friday -- for the first time -- the Yennayer New Year is being marked as a national holiday in Algeria. The Berbers, who refer to themselves as the Amazigh, have long fought for greater recognition for their ancient ethnic group, their culture and language. In Algeria they make up roughly a quarter of the country's total population of 40 million and...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 01/11/18)
Greece's coastguard on Wednesday said it had seized a freighter carrying explosive materials from Turkey to Libya, described as a "moving bomb". The ship was found to be carrying 29 crates containing detonators and explosive materials including ammonium nitrate. "The coastguard has deactivated a moving bomb," coastguard rear admiral Yiannis Sotiriou told reporters, according to state agency ANA. Sotiriou added that the Tanzania-flagged freighter Andromeda, seized on January 6, was found to have dozens of structural issues and should not have been at sea. "It could have had unpredictable consequences on people and the environment," he said.
(AFP (eng) 01/10/18)
The United Nations' political affairs chief traveled to Libya on Tuesday seeking progress in a new UN push to unite the country and end years of chaos. Jeffrey Feltman, the UN under-secretary of state for political affairs, will also travel to neighboring Tunisia during his visit until Friday, said a UN statement. The United Nations has launched a plan to bring stability to Libya through elections and changes to a 2015 political deal that set up a government of national...
(AFP (eng) 01/10/18)
Between 90 and 100 migrants were missing after their makeshift boat sank in the Mediterranean off the coast of Libya, the country's navy said late Tuesday. The inflatable boat was carrying more than 100 people when it went down, according to navy spokesman Ayoub Kacem, who said rescuers had saved just 17 people, including some women. Survivors clung to the vessel for hours before help arrived. The boat sank off the city of Khoms, around 100 kilometres (60 miles) east...

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