Tuesday 23 January 2018
(AFP (eng) 01/23/18)
One man died and several other people were injured during a stampede Monday on the border between Morocco and the Spanish overseas territory of Melilla, authorities and a rights group said. At least three were injured on the Spanish side, including a man who was hospitalised in "a very serious condition" and later died, authorities in Melilla said. A spokeswoman for the central government's representative office in Melilla said the man, a Moroccan, died of "cardiac arrest". Morocco's interior ministry added the victim, whose identity was not revealed, was 39. The Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH) said 11 people were injured on the Moroccan side. The stampede took place at the Barrio Chino border...
(AFP (eng) 01/23/18)
Authorities in Morocco said Monday they doubt the authenticity of an alleged dinosaur tail sold in Mexico, after launching a probe to see if it had been illegally exported from the North African country. The purported four-metre-long (13-foot) fragment of an "Atlasaurus tail from the Jurassic period" was sold on Tuesday for 1.8 million pesos (78,000 euros, $96,000), according to Mexican auctions website Morton. But Morocco's mines ministry said preliminary investigations showed the supposed dinosaur tail was likely "restored from an assembly of vertebrae found isolated, not emanating from the same species."
(AFP (eng) 01/22/18)
Several people were injured, at least one seriously, during a stampede Monday on the border between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla, authorities and a rights group said. At least three were injured on the Spanish side, including a man who was hospitalised in "a very serious condition", Melilla police said. The Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH) said 11 people were injured on the Moroccan side. The stampede took place at the Barrio Chino border post, which is reserved for pedestrians who carry merchandise across the border on foot, said Omar Naji, an AMDH official based in nearby Nador.
(AFP (eng) 01/22/18)
Hosts and title favourites Morocco had a penalty saved as they drew 0-0 with Sudan Sunday to top Group A at the African Nations Championship. Morocco and Sudan had already qualified, having won their first two group matches in the biennial competition for local-based footballers. Guinea, who sacked coach Kanfory Lappe Bangoura after being eliminated last Wednesday, came third through a 1-0 win over Mauritania in a match played simultaneously in Marrakech. Morocco coach Jamal Sellami made 10 changes to...
(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...
(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...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
RABAT (Reuters) - Morocco’s government needs to explain the benefits and risks of its new flexible currency system, which will stoke inflation, the head of the state High Planning Commission told Reuters on Wednesday. Ahmed Lahlimi said annual inflation will rise to around 1.6 percent in 2018 from 0.2 percent last year as oil prices have been rising and because imports of food and other goods will become more expensive. The North African country launched this week a more flexible...
(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)
A Moroccan court sentenced to death a man over the murder of a member of parliament and jailed his widow, in a case involving sex and money, the government said Tuesday. Abdellatif Merdas, who was a member of the liberal Constitutional Union party, was gunned down near his house in Casablanca in March last year. A local councillor, Hicham Mouchtari, was sentenced to death on Monday after he was convicted of "premeditated murder", the justice ministry said. Merdas's widow, Ouafae...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Morocco on Saturday said it has started the third and final operation to repatriate its nationals stranded in Libya, a stepping stone to illegal migration to Europe. The ministry of expatriates and migration said the operation was launched on Friday and aimed at bringing home 338 Moroccan migrants stuck in Libya. The migrants were to be flown to Casablanca on the Libyan airline Afriqiyah and then transported by bus to their home towns, the ministry said in a statement. It did not say when the operation was expected to be concluded. Since the 2011 fall and killing of its longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Two women carrying goods between Morocco and Spain's Ceuta enclave were killed on Monday in a stampede at the border between the two countries, a rights group and officials said. The stampede took place at the Tarajal II crossing for pedestrians between the Moroccan border town of Fnideq and Ceuta, rights activist Mohamed Benaissa said. Two women in their 40s named Ilham and Souad, both from Fnideq, were killed, the head of Morocco's Northern Observatory for Human Rights said. Known as "mule women" on the Spanish side of the border and "hamalat" or porters in Morocco...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Hosts and title favourites Morocco ran riot in the second half to defeat neighbours Mauritania 4-0 Saturday in the opening match of the 2018 African Nations Championship. Ayoub el Kaabi broke brave resistance from the Mauritanians on 66 minutes and Ismail el Haddad added a second goal six minutes later at Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca. El Kaabi bagged a brace 10 minutes from time before being substituted as Morocco made an impressive start in Group A, where Guinea tackle...
(AFP (eng) 01/13/18)
Morocco will start a gradual and controlled liberalisation of its currency the dirham from Monday, Prime Minister Saad-Eddine Al-Othmani said after a cabinet meeting. The North African country has had a fixed exchange rate regime for the dirham since the 1970s. It is pegged to the euro and the dollar. Othmani spoke to AFP on Friday after a cabinet meeting during which the long-expected decision was taken. The process of moving towards what the authorities call a "flexible exchange rate"...
(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) 01/10/18)
An EU fisheries deal with Morocco is invalid because it involves the disputed region of Western Sahara, the legal advisor to the bloc's top court said Wednesday in a fresh blow to Brussels and Rabat. The advocate general to the European Court of Justice, Melchior Wathelet, said in a legal opinion that the European Union was "in breach of its obligation to respect the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination". Morocco suspended ties with Brussels in 2016 after a lower EU court annulled an agriculture deal on similar grounds, although the ruling was later overturned and they are now pushing ahead with the pact.
(AFP (eng) 01/05/18)
"Teaching young people to dream again" is the vision of a Moroccan cultural centre in a rundown Casablanca district, once home to a group of suicide bombers who killed 33 people in 2003. Based in a white building next to a tramline and opposite a mosque, the Stars Cultural Centre in Sidi Moumen regularly hosts more than 300 young people for classes in music and music theory, classical dance, hip-hop, English and French. "When we tell young people that violence...
(AFP (eng) 01/03/18)
Israel on Wednesday began implementing a plan to force tens of thousands of African migrants out of the country by April, threatening to arrest those who stay. "This plan will get under way today," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting. Under the programme, some 38,000 migrants who entered Israel illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese, will have until the end of March to leave. Each will receive a plane ticket and $3,500 (2,900 euros) to...
(AFP (eng) 12/28/17)
Thousands of protesters in northeastern Morocco on Wednesday called for "jobs and development" in the fourth day of mass protests since two miners died in a shuttered coal pit. "No to marginalisation," cried the mostly young demonstrators in the main square of the impoverished city of Jerada. On Friday, two brothers died in a tunnel accident 85 metres (280 feet) below ground, sparking the fury of residents over what they view as state neglect. "We ask the state to find...

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