| Africatime
Thursday 30 March 2017
(AFP (eng) 03/10/17)
In the beginning was .com, followed by a host of other .somethings, but on Friday, 32 years after the world's first domain name was registered, the African Union has launched .africa for the continent. Africans who want to register a website will be able to apply for a .africa domain name in the coming months, which outgoing AU commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said would allow the continent's people and businesses to better reach the world. "With .africa, I would say Africa has finally got its digital identity," said Dlamini-Zuma, who will next week hand power to Chadian Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat after four years at the helm of the continental body Sub-Saharan Africa has one of the lowest rates...
(Middle East Monitor 03/09/17)
The House of Representatives (HoR) in the east of Libya yesterday voted to suspend its involvement in the Libya Dialogue process. The HoR also voted to reject part one of the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) which names the members of the Presidency Council (PC). By doing so, the HoR will no longer recognise any member of the Presidency Council. Head of the PC Fayez Al-Sarraj, and its members Ahmed Maiteeq, Abdelsalam Kajman, Mohamed Al-Amari and Ahmed Hamza – all based in Tripoli – are likely to ignore the HoR’s move. The decision comes as Libya’s rival power bodies are moving closer to open conflict with militia groups. “The GNA unity government is not legitimate any more, as well as its...
(Middle East Monitor 03/09/17)
Libya’s eastern-based parliament has called for early elections following a collapse in a United Nations-brokered peace deal with rival authorities in the capital Tripoli. An open letter was sent by the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) to the country’s electoral commission on Tuesday requested the commission make “all the necessary arrangements to prepare for presidential and parliamentary elections before February 2018,” owing to Libya’s ongoing “difficult situation” and “political struggle”. Earlier, the HoR voted to withdraw its support for the Tripoli-based UN-backed Government
(The Guardian 03/09/17)
Conflict sparked by Benghazi Defence Brigade’s capture from Libyan National Army of terminals at Sidra and Ras Lanuf. Ambassadors to Libya from the UK, US and France have made an appeal for calm as Libya falls back into a bloody civil war with rival sides battling for control of the hugely lucrative Libyan oil terminals. Diplomats are concerned the fighting will severely damage the coastal oil infrastructure – the economic lifeblood of the country. The fighting was sparked by the Islamist-led Benghazi Defence Brigade’s surprise capture on Friday of the oil export terminals at Sidra and Ras Lanuf. The terminals were wrested from the control of Field Marshal Khalid Haftar, the head of the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA), a...
(Libya Herald 03/09/17)
The Italian government is looking to seal a deal with Niger that it hopes will dramatically cut back migration from sub-Saharan Africa through Libya and from there across the Mediterranean to Italy and elsewhere in Europe. “After the deal with Libya, the Italian government is now focusing on reaching a deal with Niger – the southern neighbouring country of Libya, and the main transit country for migrants coming from the Horn of Africa,” said Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano at a meeting yesterday in Turin. In fact, the overwhelming bulk of all migrants crossing the Sahara into Libya pass through Niger, with the central Nigerien town of Agadez now the main migrant portal into Libya. The Libya deal to which...
(Financial Times 03/09/17)
Exports threatened amid fears the country is sliding towards full-scale civil war. Forces loyal to Libya’s UN-backed government have retaken control of two crucial oil facilities after several days of clashes that threatened to dent the Opec member’s crude exports. The Tripoli-based administration said late on Tuesday that an allied force called the Petroleum Facilities Guard was now in control of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf ports. The Benghazi Defence Brigade, a militia, had seized the facilities on Friday but had handed them over to the faction loyal to the government. An escalating conflict over the ports has triggered concerns that recent increases in Libya’s oil production are at risk of being reversed. The fighting is also undermining efforts by...
(Middle East Monitor 03/09/17)
Rebels from Sudan have reportedly been smuggling weapons into Libya, a senior Sudanese official has said. In a statement, Sudanese General Ahmed Khalifa Al-Shami said a rebel group in western Sudan affiliated with the Darfur movement has been smuggling large quantities of weapons into the north African country. The general had mentioned that the Darfur movement in western Sudan had started doing business with Libyans, with authorities having seized large quantitates of cars attempting to smuggle weapons and even people. Chaos hit Libya in 2011 when a revolution ousted long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi and led to a battle for power in the country.
(Xinhuanet 03/09/17)
A critical mass of trained and well equipped community health workforce is key to easing the rising burden of infectious and noncommunicable diseases in Africa, experts said on Wednesday at a continental forum taking place in Nairobi. The experts, policymakers and campaigners who attended Africa Health Agenda International Conference agreed that optimal engagement of community health workers is key to revolutionize response to diseases ravaging the continent. Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Health Cleopa Mailu in his opening remarks said that investments in training for community health workers will have multiplier impact on Africa's socioeconomic development. "We require highly skilled and motivated cadre of community health workforce to deal with a high diseases burden in disadvantaged settings in this continent. These...
(Bloomberg 03/08/17)
Libya’s United Nations-backed forces took control of two of the nation’s biggest oil ports on Tuesday, after clashes between rival armed groups led to a halt in shipments. The Petroleum Facilities Guard has obtained control of oil facilities at the ports of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf “under the authorization of the Presidential Council,” Al Nabaa television reported, citing a statement from PFG head Idries Bu Khamada. The Benghazi Defense Brigades, a militia group, captured the ports in an offensive that began on March 3. Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, the North African nation’s largest and third-largest oil ports, respectively, had been under the control of eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar. Bu Khamada said Libya’s National Oil Corp. can now...
(AFP (eng) 03/08/17)
Lawyers and human rights campaigners launched an initiative for African whistleblowers in Senegal on Tuesday, aimed at providing a secure means of exposing wrongdoing on the continent. African nations such as Somalia, South Sudan, Libya and Guinea-Bissau regularly appear at the very bottom of rankings such as Transparency International's Corruption Index, while none make it into the top 30. The Platform for the Protection of Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF) will provide guidance from legal experts, secure submission of information and a hotline for potential informants, according to its founders. The initiative is the brainchild of Spanish superstar lawyer Baltasar Garzon -- who has defended Julian Assange of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks -- along with French lawyer William Bourdon, who worked on...
(AFP (eng) 03/06/17)
Five people remained missing on Sunday after scores of migrants in an inflatable boat were rescued in turbulent waters off the coast of Libya overnight. About 122 of the migrants were saved after being spotted by the Golfo Azzuro, run by the Spanish Proactiva Open Arms group. "We saw the lights, the rescue boat, but we were very far," Farses, a migrant from Ghana, told AFP aboard the Golfo Azzuro. He had earlier been playing draughts, also called checkers, with another Ghanaian; both had won a game, so they agreed to play the tiebreaker once they were in Italy. But the friend fell asleep, and was among seven who fell into the sea when a strong wind buffeted the boat...
(AL Jazeera 03/06/17)
Haftar's LNA launches air strikes in attempt to regain control of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf ports seized by BDB fighters. An eastern Libyan group says it is carrying out air strikes against rival factions as part of its attempt to push them back from positions around the major oil terminals of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf. The Libyan National Army (LNA) is attempting to regain control of the ports after being forced to withdraw on Friday by an attack by the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB). The BDB is composed partly of fighters who were expelled from Benghazi by the LNA. LNA warplanes targeted on Sunday afternoon positions near Es Sider [Al Sidra] and south of the coastal town of...
(The Independent 03/06/17)
Th term was coined by sceptical officials, worried about the importance given to Commonwealth trade deals ahead of Brexit negotiations. Plans by government ministers to boost trade links with African Commonwealth countries are being internally branded “empire 2.0” by sceptical officials who are worried about the importance being placed on such deals ahead of the UK’s negotiations of leaving the European Union (EU). International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is expected to promise to build better links with the whole of the 52 member countries of the Commonwealth when ministers from each country meet in London later this week. But as the UK is prepares itself to leave the European Union, The Times reports that British ministers are planning to talk...
(AFP (eng) 03/04/17)
The number of migrants rescued at sea this year in operations run by Italy's coastguard topped 15,000 Friday after another 900 people were saved, including eight-month-old Syrian twins and five other babies. The latest operations confirm the pattern of a sharp upward spike in winter departures from troubled Libya. Aid groups believe the exodus is being driven by worsening living conditions for migrants in the north African state and by fears the sea route to Europe could soon be closed to traffickers. Migrant arrivals in Italy from its former colony are up by between 57 and 81 percent this year in comparison to the opening two months of 2015 and 2016, according to Italian interior ministry figures. The coastguard said...
(Bloomberg 03/04/17)
Libya’s biggest oil port was seized by an armed group, dealing a blow to the North African country as it seeks to revive production of its most important commodity. Brent crude futures climbed. The Benghazi Defense Brigades, a militia that’s not allied to the United Nations-backed government in Tripoli, took control of the Es Sider terminal on Friday afternoon, according to people with knowledge of matter who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak to the media. The facility had previously been under the control of eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar. “That is a considerable blow to Haftar,” said Mattia Toaldo, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “We have to see if...
(AFP (eng) 03/04/17)
The Libyan navy said it rescued 115 migrants Friday headed for Europe whose overloaded rubber boat was sinking off the coast near Tripoli, and that another 25 people were missing. "We rescued 115 illegal immigrants, six of them women, all African nationals except for a Bangladeshi," navy spokesman General Ayoub Qassem told AFP. Qassem said the survivors told of 140 passengers on board the boat that had run into problems on Thursday night after setting off from a beach east of the capital. "Our search for the missing was unsuccessful," he said. The navy and coastguard had responded to a distress call from the migrants aboard the boat that was "taking on water and about to sink", Qassem said. Italy's...
(AFP (eng) 03/03/17)
Islamist militias on Friday attacked Libya's main oil-production area in the east, prompting the forces of strongman Khalifa Haftar who control it to retaliate with air strikes, military sources said. The attack was spearheaded by the Benghazi Defence Brigades, a coalition of mostly Islamist militias and armed groups, and was backed by tribal fighters and former petroleum installation guards. They "advanced towards the oil crescent and are 15 kilometres (nine miles) south of the town of Nofliya," said Colonel Moftah al-Megarief, who heads an oil facilities guard controlled by Haftar. Nofiliya is on the edge of the North African country's strategic oil crescent, home to the main export terminals
(AFP (eng) 03/03/17)
Russia's foreign minister on Thursday pushed an "inclusive national dialogue" in Libya at talks with its UN-backed premier that came after his key rival sought to boost ties with Moscow. "We are convinced that only the Libyan people themselves can overcome the current crisis, all the parties in Libya through an inclusive national dialogue aimed at reconciliation," Russia's Sergei Lavrov told Fayez al-Sarraj at the start of the meeting. Lavrov described Moscow as an "old friend" of Libya and insisted it would "strongly advocate the need to create conditions for the Libyans themselves to resolve their problems". Sarraj's Moscow trip comes as Libya remains in chaos, six years after the ouster and killing of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in the...
(AFP (eng) 03/03/17)
Some 970 migrants were rescued off the coast of Libya on Thursday, Italy's coastguard said, as the numbers attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe continue to rise. Even before Thursday's arrivals, more than 13,400 people had arrived on Italy's shores so far this year -- an increase of 50 to 70 percent compared with 2016 and 2015. According to the United Nations, more than 440 people have died or gone missing in January and February while crossing from Libya in the depths of winter, when the sea is at its most treacherous. The migrants rescued Thursday were crammed into four rubber dinghies, a small wooden boat and another larger one. Italy's coastguard said it coordinated the rescue operations with...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/03/17)
Russia said on Friday it was ready to help unify Libya and wanted to foster dialogue between rival authorities in Tripoli and factions in the east of the country. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held talks in Moscow with Fayez Seraj, the head of the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli, on Thursday. The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday that the talks had focused on how efforts to unite Libya could best be advanced. Moscow was ready to mediate and wanted to cooperate with all sides in the oil-rich country, it said. "Moscow confirmed its readiness to work closely with all sides in Libya with the aim of seeking mutually acceptable solutions to create the grounds for the...

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