Wednesday 28 June 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 05/26/17)
Nearly 80 migrants were rescued off Libya's coast after clinging to their sinking boat for two days, though the bodies of seven people who did not survive were also recovered, officials said. The 77 migrants, including a woman and one child, were rescued on Thursday off the coastal city of Zawiya in western Libya, Libyan coastguard and International Organization for Migration (IOM) officials said. "Seven bodies were recovered near the boat," said Tripoli coast guard spokesman Ayoub Qassem. "According to survivors they stayed for two days holding their boat (which became unseaworthy due to overloading) until they were rescued." "Some of them are suffering from burns as a result of remaining in the sea and under the sun for a...
(AFP (eng) 05/26/17)
Entertainment | France | film | festival | Cannes | Zambia | witchcraft Cannes, France | AFP | Friday 5/26/2017 - 14:01 UTC+3 | 615 words by Katy Lee Being accused of witchcraft is no laughing matter in Africa -- but movie director Rungano Nyoni decided a dose of humour was just what was needed to tackle a problem rampant in parts of the continent. Set in Zambia, the sharp satire "I Am Not A Witch" has premiered to strong reviews at the Cannes film festival, taking aim at the blatant sexism behind accusations that overwhelmingly target women. White tourists are seen gawping at women detained in a "witch camp" in the movie, taking pictures of them as if they're...
(AFP (eng) 05/25/17)
The father of suspected Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi was once part of a Libyan militant group with alleged ties to Al-Qaeda, a Libyan security source said Thursday. Abedi's father Ramadan "was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG)," said Ahmed bin Salem, spokesman for Libya's Deterrence Force, which acts as the police for Libya's unity government. The Tripoli-based force arrested Abedi's father and brother after Monday's attack at a pop concert which killed 22 people and was claimed by the Islamic State group.
(AL Jazeera 05/24/17)
Rescue operation by Malta-based aid boat just one of 15 under way off Libya's coast, according to Italy's coastguard. At least 20 people, including young children, have died after their vessel capsized off Libya's coast, the Italian coastguard says. About 200 people fell off the overloaded vessel that was just 20 nautical miles (37km) in the Mediterranean Sea from Libya when the accident occurred on Wednesday. The crew of the Phoenix aid boat, chartered by the Malta-based NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), had begun the rescue and were distributing lifejackets
(Reuters (Eng) 05/24/17)
The U.S. ambassador to Libya pledged Washington's support for its U.N.-backed government on Tuesday and urged rival factions to avoid civil war, during the first, fleeting visit to the country by a U.S. envoy in nearly three years. Peter Bodde, who is based in Tunis, and Marine General Thomas Waldhauser, the top U.S. military commander overseeing troops in Africa, flew into Tripoli for two hours to meet the prime minister of Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) and other senior officials. There has been uncertainty over U.S. policy on Libya following Donald Trump's election
(Reuters (Eng) 05/24/17)
Britain's interior minister said on Wednesday she believed the suicide bomber, who killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert in the English city of Manchester, had recently returned from Libya. Asked to confirm whether Salman Abedi had recently come back from the country, Amber Rudd told BBC Television: "Yes, I believe that has been confirmed. When this operation is over, we will want to look at his background and what happened, how he became radicalized and what support he might have been given," she said. Rudd said up to 3,800 military personnel would be deployed on Britain's streets in response to the worst militant attack for over a decade. (Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)
(Reuters (Eng) 05/24/17)
When U.S. President Donald Trump and other leaders of the world's seven major industrialized nations gather in Sicily on Friday, they will enjoy a spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea, but won't get any glimpse of boats full of migrants. A common sight off Sicily in recent years, the authorities have banned all migrant landings on the island during the Group of Seven Summit for security reasons, telling rescue vessels that pick them up at sea to take them to the mainland during the two-day meeting. Out of sight does not mean out of mind. Italy chose to host the summit in Taormina, on the cliffs of eastern Sicily, to concentrate minds on Europe's migrant crisis and to seek ways...
(Xinhuanet 05/23/17)
The armed forces of Major General Khalifa Haftar on Monday took control of a military site in southern Libya used by a militia loyal to the UN-backed government in Tripoli, according to a military source. "An army force took control of Mashroo Al-Daboot on the outskirts of the southern city of Al-Shati, which was used by a military force allied to the government of national accord," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. The source further explained that the site, where arms and ammunition were seized, had been controlled by members of the southern brigade led by Ahmed Hasnawi, an ally of the government of national accord. Libya has remained in chaos since the 2011 uprising that toppled former...
(The Guardian 05/23/17)
Call comes as Libya Quartet meets in Brussels to discuss ways to prevent deadly Mediterranean crossings. The UN refugee agency has called on the Libyan government in Tripoli to close its refugee detention centres, describing conditions as inhumane and shocking. The call comes as the Libya Quartet meets in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss how to slow the flow of refugees across the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy. The Italian coastguard said that on Friday alone 2,100 people were rescued from the sea. Up to 17 May, 45,754 migrants from the Libyan coast have been rescued at sea and taken to Italy this year, more than 8,500 of whom arrived in the past two weeks. The figures represent a big...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/23/17)
Fossils from Greece and Bulgaria of an ape-like creature that lived 7.2 million years ago may fundamentally alter the understanding of human origins, casting doubt on the view that the evolutionary lineage that led to people arose in Africa. Scientists said on Monday the creature, known as Graecopithecus freybergi and known only from a lower jawbone and an isolated tooth, may be the oldest-known member of the human lineage that began after an evolutionary split from the line that led to chimpanzees, our closest cousins. The jawbone, which included teeth, was unearthed in 1944 in Athens. The premolar was found in south-central Bulgaria in 2009. The researchers examined them using sophisticated new techniques including CT scans and established their age...
(AFP (eng) 05/22/17)
The head of the United Nations refugee agency on Sunday urged Libyan authorities to free all asylum seekers and refugees from its detention centres as he visited Tripoli. "I hope first of all that asylum seekers and refugees can be taken out of detention centres," UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said after visiting one centre in the Libyan capital. "I fully appreciate that the government has security concerns," he said, but added that "other solutions" could be found for people fleeing countries in conflict such as Syria and Somalia. Thousands of migrants are being held in dozens of detention centres in Libya, after being stopped or rescued from rickety boats as they attempted the perilous Mediterranean crossing to...
(AFP (eng) 05/22/17)
Forces loyal to Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar have bombed rival forces in retaliation for a deadly attack on an airbase in the south of the country, media reported Sunday. "Warplanes launched air strikes overnight Saturday as part of the Martyrs of Brak al-Shati operation," the LANA news agency said in reference to the airbase where at least 141 people, mostly forces loyal to Haftar, were killed on Thursday. LANA, which is loyal to authorities based in eastern Libya, said MIG-23 jets carried out seven air strikes, targeting "terrorists in Hun and Jufra", two areas in southern Libya. The agency, quoting Colonel Mohammad al-Manfour of the pro-Haftar Benina airbase in Benghazi, said "several weapons depots, vehicles and centres of operations"...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/22/17)
East Libyan forces have targeted rival brigades with a series of air strikes in the southern region of Jufra, officials and witnesses said on Sunday, three days after dozens of their men were killed in a surprise attack on an air base. The escalation risks reigniting warfare in Libya's central desert regions, where forces aligned with the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) have skirmished since late last year with opponents aligned with a U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli. The two sides represent the main factions in a sporadic conflict between shifting alliances that have fought for power in Libya since 2014. A resident in Jufra said LNA air strikes had caused casualties, though the number of dead...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/22/17)
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa need to get their budgets in order, diversify their economies and look after their poorest people. If they do that, there is no reason why the region cannot have the strong growth needed to meet the aspirations of a young and growing population. That, at least, is the three-pillared prescription from the International Monetary Fund as expressed by one of its top Africa researchers, Celine Allard, in an official IMF blog post and podcast. Allard co-authored the Fund's regional economic outlook, released earlier this month. It found that sub-Saharan economic growth hit only 1.4 percent last year, the lowest level in two decades and well off the 5-6 percent rates normally reached. It was also well...
(AFP (eng) 05/20/17)
Some 5,000 migrants bound for Italy were rescued in waters off the coast of Libya between Thursday and Saturday morning by Italian and Libyan coastguards, statements from both countries said. Around 2,900 people were rescued Thursday, 2,300 of whom were found in international waters and taken to Italy, while 580 picked up in Libyan waters were returned to the north African country. Through Friday until Saturday morning, coastguards rescued another 2,100 migrants packed in 17 vessels, but found the body of one man who drowned, the Italian coastguard said. The number of migrants arriving in Italy has soared
(AFP (eng) 05/20/17)
An attack on an airbase in south Libya has killed 141 people, mostly soldiers loyal to military strongman Khalifa Haftar, a spokesman for his forces said on Friday. Members of the Third Force militia loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord in Tripoli on Thursday attacked the base used by Haftar's self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA), military sources said earlier. LNA spokesman Ahmad al-Mesmari late Friday said the victims included civilians who worked at the Brak al-Shati airbase or were in the nearby area, also reporting that summary executions took place. "The soldiers were returning from a military parade. They weren't armed. Most of them were executed," he said. The GNA said in a statement late Friday a commission...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/20/17)
A spokesman for east Libyan armed forces said on Friday that as many as 141 people had been killed a day earlier in an attack on a southern air base, and the head of Libya's United Nations-backed government suspended his defense minister pending an investigation into the incident. The attack at Brak Al-Shati air base shattered a truce in the area, which in recent months had become a flashpoint between military alliances based in eastern and western Libya. It risks a major escalation in a stop-start conflict between eastern-based factions and rivals loosely aligned with current and former governments in the capital, Tripoli. Ahmed al-Mismari, a spokesman for the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), said 103 of those killed in...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/20/17)
France will step up the fight against resurgent Islamist militants in north and west Africa and will work more closely with Germany to help the tinderbox region, President Emmanuel Macron said on his first trip outside Europe on Friday. Visiting Mali days after taking office, Macron vowed to keep French troops in the Sahel region until there was "no more Islamist terrorism" there. He said operations would be escalated in response to signs that militant groups were regrouping and uniting. "It is vital today that we speed up. Our armed forces are giving their all, but we must speed up" efforts to secure the Sahel, he told a news conference in Gao, Mali, where he held talks with President Ibrahim...
(AFP (eng) 05/19/17)
The United Nations envoy to Libya on Friday condemned a deadly attack by forces loyal to the unity government on a military base controlled by forces backing a rival administration. Members of the Third Force militia loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord in Tripoli attacked an airbase used by military strongman Khalifa Haftar's self-proclaimed Libyan National Army, military sources said. There was no independent word on casualties in the assault on the Brak al-Shati base, but Libyan media reported at least 60 dead. "I am outraged by reports of significant numbers of fatalities, including civilians and by reports that summary executions may have taken place," UN envoy Martin Kobler said in a statement. The unity government, the rival...
(AFP (eng) 05/19/17)
At least 60 people were killed as rival Libyan forces clashed at a southern air base on Thursday, medical and military officials said, dimming hopes that tensions in the area can be calmed. The violence erupted after a brigade from the western city of Misrata attacked Brak Al-Shati base, which they had previously ceded to an opposing faction aligned with the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA). The two sides are attached to loose and shifting alliances based in the east and west of Libya that have vied for power over the past three years, deepening the divisions that surfaced with the country's 2011 uprising. A medical source in Brak Al-Shati said 60 bodies had been brought to a hospital there,...

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