| Africatime
Thursday 30 March 2017
(AFP (eng) 12/29/16)
French border police intercepted 45 African migrants who were trying to enter the country from Italy and arrested the two smugglers involved, local prosecutors said Wednesday. Travelling in two vans, 25 migrants in the first vehicle were stopped while 20 in the second breached a checkpoint at Montgenevre in southeastern France, before later being found. According to the prosecutor's office, the migrants were returned to the border and the two smugglers are to be tried in Italy.
(AFP (eng) 12/28/16)
Its lower cost has made it popular in commercial food production, but after being blamed for deforestation in Asia, palm oil plantations are now getting a similar rap in Africa. The sheer scale of land required is having an impact in Gabon, Cameroon and the Congo Basin, environmentalists say. With financing coming from American, European and Asian agri-businesses, palm bunches are cultivated then cut from trees and sent to factories where oil is extracted by hot pressing. But the production process accelerates deforestation, contributes to climate change and threatens fauna and flora in vulnerable areas, opponents argue. However the companies say that palm oil is not only less expensive than soya or sunflower oil but requires much less land to...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/27/16)
A French-Swiss aid worker has been kidnapped in the city of Gao in northern Mali, and French and Malian authorities are working together to rescue her, the French foreign ministry said on Sunday. Sophie Petronin, who runs a non-governmental organization that helps children suffering from malnutrition, was kidnapped on Saturday afternoon, but, so far, no one has made a claim of responsibility, Malian Commandant Baba Cissé said. Mali has been beset by attacks from resurgent Islamist groups, including Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) this year, especially in the north. Gao - seized by Islamist militants in 2012 before French forces drove them out a year later - is considered the most secure town in northern Mali with multiple...
(The Herald Online 12/27/16)
The end of 2016 provides an opportunity to take stock of Africa’s recent economic performance and future prospects. It’s been a tumultuous year for some African countries largely due to a commodities crisis and a global economic slowdown.Yet there were still pockets of good growth which displayed the huge potential of the African continent. And 2017 looks to be the year the countries hardest hit by the crisis seek to recover from the economic reversals of the past few years. Since the start of the new millennium average economic growth across Africa has been stronger than the global growth rate. Growth across the continent averaged 5 percent. This fuelled the “Africa Rising” narrative that permeated public discourse. Among the growth...
(AFP (eng) 12/25/16)
A woman with French and Swiss nationality was kidnapped Saturday in Gao, the biggest city in Mali's restive north, officials said. "We immediately launched a search," a security source said on condition of anonymity, without revealing her identity or how she was abducted. Two elected officials in Gao, more than 1,200 kilometres (750 miles) from the capital Bamako, confirmed the kidnapping. There have been no claims of responsibility. A French diplomatic source in Paris said they were trying to verify the information. Northern Mali fell to jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda from March 2012.
(Reuters (Eng) 12/24/16)
A record 5,000 migrants are believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea this year, following two shipwrecks on Thursday in which some 100 people, mainly West Africans, were feared dead, aid agencies said on Friday. Two overcrowded inflatable dinghies capsized in the Strait of Sicily after leaving Libya for Italy, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said. "Those two incidents together appear to be the numbers that would bring this year's total up to over to 5,000 (deaths), which is a new high that we have reported during this crisis," IOM spokesman Joel Millman told a Geneva briefing. The Italian coast guard rescued survivors and had recovered eight bodies so far, he said...
(The Globe and Mail 12/23/16)
The Square Kilometre Array will be the world’s most powerful radio telescope, opening new frontiers in our understanding of the universe. But the builders have to contend with an unforgiving climate and other formidable challenges first, In the desolate rocky plains of the Great Karoo, the dangers are endless. Scorpions and puff adders are underfoot. The harsh sun beats down, interrupted only by occasional lightning storms. Temperatures range from stifling heat to freezing cold. But at night, in the vast empty darkness, the stars are impossibly bright and clear. And it is the stars that have lured a Canadian-backed project to build the world’s most powerful radio telescope, with the potential to unlock the deepest secrets of the universe. For...
(AFP (eng) 12/22/16)
Selma saunters on her stilt-like legs, batting thick lashes as she extends a blackish tongue -- as long as an arm -- to grab pellets offered by an awed tourist. The giraffe is after all, eating for two. Her pregnancy is good news for one of the rarest giraffe species, protected at the Giraffe Centre in the Kenyan capital, but experts warn the outlook for the rest of the world's tallest land mammals is far gloomier. While it is hoped the shocking news that the gentle giants of the African savannah are facing extinction will spur action, conservationists largely have their hands tied as many giraffe live in Africa's most conflict-torn regions. Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/21/16)
The main separatist group in northern Mali, the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), has suspended its participation in a committee charged with implementing a 2015 peace accord, according to a statement seen by Reuters on Tuesday. The document, dated Dec. 19 and signed by CMA President Alghabass Ag Intalla, an elder of the Tuareg ethnic group cited rising violence and a lack of progress on reforms among other reasons for its decision. However, in a sign that the suspension might be temporary, Ag Intalla also called for a high-level encounter with mediators in order "to save the accord and preserve the credibility of the process". A statement on Twitter from a branch of the CMA group said it would continue...
(The Citizen 12/21/16)
Tanzania is among some African countries which may see a drop in development aid as the US is likely to expand fiscal stance and cut spending during Donald Trump's presidency, a new report shows. The move by the world's largest economy will affect dependent countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and DRC according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) latest report released in London yesterday. In its Economic Insight: Africa Q4 2016, the accountancy and finance body points out that signs of an expansionary fiscal stance under the Trump administration coupled with spending cuts to accommodate increased infrastructure expenditure are likely to lead to the decrease in aid. "Aid is one of the main...
(Voice of America 12/20/16)
Mali said Monday will not help the European Union identify and return illegal Malian migrants to the country. Ongoing talks on the issue are part of larger efforts by the EU to curb migration via cooperation with key countries of origin, a strategy that resulted in a multi-million-dollar deal with Niger earlier this month. In Mali, negotiations on facilitating migrant returns have caused a stir, following terms of the proposed deal detailing the presence of civil servants in Europe to help authorities identify Malians who are there illegally.
(AFP (eng) 12/20/16)
When Rose Kariuki first felt a lump on her left breast, the spectre of cancer -- a disease she had only heard of on television -- was the last thing on her mind. "To me, cancer was nowhere near us. It was shocking, I feared death, I feared so many things," the 46-year-old Kenyan school teacher told AFP. Rose is one of a growing number of Africans suffering from cancer, one of the lifestyle diseases -- along with diabetes and heart problems -- proving increasing deadly on the continent. A World Health Organisation (WHO) survey released Tuesday showed that most Africans had at least one risk factor for developing one of these diseases, such as smoking, a lack of exercise,...
(AFP (eng) 12/19/16)
Mali's president said Sunday he could let Burkina Faso forces pursue jihadist fighters when they flee across the border into his country, days after militants massacred 12 Burkinabe soldiers. Around 40 fighters attacked a base some 30 kilometres (18 miles) from the Burkina-Mali border on Friday in what local authorities called the biggest ever jihadist attack on the army. It was the second direct strike against the Burkina army since jihadist militants surfaced in the country in early 2015, mostly staging attacks in the north near the borders of Mali and Niger.
(AFP (eng) 12/17/16)
Malian lawmakers have decided a treason case should be dropped against former Malian president Amadou Toumani Toure, who was overthrown in a military coup in 2012. Toure, known by the acronym ATT, came to power in 2002, and fled to Senegal after being overthrown by a military junta in 2012 just as he was preparing to end his final term in office. "The elected representatives of the people have voted by secret ballot on the fate of former president ATT, and have decided not to pursue him after leading Mali for 10 years," an opposition lawmaker told AFP after Friday's vote. Under Malian law, it is lawmakers who sit in judgement on current or former presidents. Toure was accused by...
(AFP (eng) 12/16/16)
The number of migrants feared to have died this year has soared to nearly 7,200 -- a more than 20-percent increase over 2015 -- with most of the fatalities in the Mediterranean, IOM said Friday. In total, 7,189 migrants and refugees have died or remain missing on migratory routs around the world, the International Organization for Migration said. That number is already 1,449 more than in all of 2015. And since it represents an average of 20 deaths per day, another 200 to 300 people could perish by the end of the year if the trend continues, the Geneva-based IOM warned in a statement. The Mediterranean Sea routes, used so far this year by nearly 360,000 people seeking a new...
(CNN 12/15/16)
In the sleepy, sun-blasted town of De Aar in central South Africa, a mighty force is stirring. The largest solar plant in Africa, Middle East and the Southern hemisphere was inaugurated here earlier this year, a 175-megawatt facility that spreads over almost 500 hectares. The facility is the brainchild of Solar Capital, led by hotel magnate turned solar evangelist Paschal Phelan, which ploughed $400 million into the venture. The plant supplies power to the National Grid, but when the heat is fiercest it produces far more than the Grid can use, and the excess power goes to waste. "It's like you have a Ferrari and you run a small car," says Massimiliano Salaorno, plant manager of Solar Capital De Aar...
(AFP (eng) 12/14/16)
Family planning helps people in Africa to be healthier and wealthier, as women without contraceptives become locked in "a cycle of poverty," Melinda Gates told AFP as a conference on the topic was held in Ivory Coast. "When a woman has access to contraceptives she can lift herself out of poverty, and if she doesn't have access to contraceptives, it locks her inside a cycle of poverty for the rest of her life," said the wife of Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Bill Gates, whose foundation is very active in the field. Family planning has "huge health benefits for the woman and for her children, and it has economic benefits," Gates told AFP by telephone from the Ivorian economic capital Abidjan...
(AFP (eng) 12/13/16)
A surge of violence in Cameroon's two English-speaking regions, both longtime opposition bastions, has spotlighted the simmering anger of the anglophone minority as the nation heads for a key presidential election. Angry protesters torched the national flag and hoisted a separatist one in its place in northwest Bamenda last week, where "at least two" people were killed in clashes with the police, authorities said. The opposition alleged four people had been killed and a police station was set ablaze in the second clash in the city between police and protesters in just over two weeks.
(Reuters (Eng) 12/13/16)
The European Union, under an agreement published on Monday, will provide funds to Mali to help it create jobs and strengthen border management in return for the African country's aid in fighting people smugglers and accepting deportees from Europe. The Mali agreement comes as they EU is stepping up migration collaboration with countries of origin and transit in Africa and the Middle East to prevent a repeat of last year's uncontrolled influx of refugees and migrants to its shores. Announced by the Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders after his talks in Bamako, the deal also envisages EU support to Mali on development, biometric passports and advancing security in northern part of the West African country. Ever since French forces intervened...
(AFP (eng) 12/13/16)
The cocktails keep flowing by the pool on the tourist strip, but in The Gambia's markets many African migrant traders are packing up their businesses and heading home. The international community is piling pressure on President Yahya Jammeh to leave power after 22 years and hand over to opposition leader Adama Barrow, who won an election two weeks ago only for Jammeh to later reverse his original concession of defeat. Of the economy's two main sources of investment from abroad, tourism appears to be weathering the country's political storm far better than the thousands of petty traders who move to The Gambia from the rest of west Africa. President-elect Barrow told AFP on Monday claims that tourist numbers could be...

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