Saturday 21 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 02/02/18)
Rihanna on Thursday used her star power to urge key governments to commit to ensuring education for the world's poorest as she takes part in an international conference in Senegal. The chart-topping singer arrived in the capital Dakar where she on Friday will join the Global Partnership for Education talks co-hosted by Senegalese President Macky Sall and French leader Emmanuel Macron. Rihanna, the fourth most followed person on Twitter with 86 million followers, took to social media to urge Macron, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to ensure specific funding levels. In her tweet to Macron, Rihanna -- who met with him in Paris in July -- thanked the French leader for leading the conference...
(AFP (eng) 02/01/18)
Another miner died Thursday in an impoverished Moroccan city shaken by protests over the plight of people scraping a living in abandoned coal pits known as the "mines of death". A second person was seriously injured in the accident in a disused coal mine in the northeastern city of Jerada, a local activist told AFP. The authorities confirmed that a man had died in an abandoned mine in the city. Each day hundreds of people risk their lives to extract coal by hand from the shuttered pits. Mass protests against economic marginalisation broke out in the city in December after two brothers died in a tunnel accident.
(AFP (eng) 02/01/18)
France's national rail operator on Wednesday lost its appeal against a finding that it discriminated against hundreds of Moroccan workers arriving in the post-colonial era, damaging their careers. A court had in 2015 ordered rail company SNCF to pay more than 170 million euros ($212 million) in damages to more than 800 former staff, most of whom arrived in the 1970s from a newly independent Morocco. The SNCF sought to overturn the decision, but the main appeals court in Paris ruled Wednesday that the 848 men had indeed suffered decades of discrimination that meant their careers ended up going nowhere. Their lawyer Clelie de Lesquen-Jonas greeted the ruling -- which comes after more than a decade of legal wrangling in...
(AFP (eng) 02/01/18)
Surprise 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) star Ayoub el Kaabi scored twice as hosts Morocco overcame Libya 3-1 after extra time Wednesday in a Casablanca semi-final thriller. Nigeria won the later semi-final 1-0 over Sudan in Marrakech with Okechukwu Gabriel scoring the only goal in a match where each side had a player red-carded. Eight-goal El Kaabi is the runaway leading scorer in the tournament restricted to footballers playing in their country of birth, with his nearest rivals five behind. He netted twice against Mauritania and scored a hat-trick against Guinea during the group stage before breaking the deadlock in a quarter-finals victory over Namibia. The 24-year-old striker, who was not guaranteed a starting place ahead of the Championship, found...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/30/18)
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - PSA Group’s Opel plans to start exporting cars to Tunisia and Morocco from its European plants, its chief executive told German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) in an interview. France’s PSA agreed in March to buy Opel from General Motors in a deal valuing the business at 2.2 billion euros ($2.73 billion). The move was aimed at helping the group to challenge European market leader Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE). PSA has given Opel until 2020 to return to profit as part of a recovery plan aimed at shifting the brand’s model line-up onto PSA’s production platforms. “We see good opportunities for us overall,” Opel CEO Michael Lohscheller was quoted as saying of its African prospects...
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
The International Monetary Fund is holding a two-day regional conference from Monday in Morocco with a message of reform amid growing "frustration" among the population of some Arab states. "Rising social tensions and protests in several countries across the Middle East and North Africa are a clear indication that the aspirations of the people of the region, for opportunity, prosperity and equity, remain unfulfilled," said Jihad Azour, director of the IMF's Middle East and Central Asia department. "Reforms are the key to address the fundamental problems that have plagued so many countries of the region for so long: low growth, high unemployment and corruption," he wrote in an analysis ahead of the conference in Marrakesh. Unemployment in the Middle East...
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
President Donald Trump said the United States "deeply respects" Africans and will dispatch its top diplomat to the continent, in a letter to African leaders seen by AFP on Sunday. The letter sent last week comes after Trump provoked a firestorm of indignation among African nations earlier in January when he reportedly called them "shithole countries" during a meeting with lawmakers in Washington. While Trump has denied the remarks, they are expected to be formally condemned by the 55 member states of the African Union during their ongoing summit in the Ethiopian capital. "I want to underscore that the United States deeply respects the people of Africa, and my commitment to strong and respectful relationships...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
US President Donald Trump on Friday asked the African Union chairman to pass on his "warmest regards" to other regional leaders at a summit this weekend, after sparking outrage with a reported slur against Africans. Trump met Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where some African business leaders say they are planning to boycott Trump's closing speech later Friday. The outspoken US leader congratulated Kagame on taking over as chair of the 55-nation African bloc, which Trump said was a "great honour". "I know you're going to your first meeting shortly. Please give my warmest regards," Trump told Kagame after they held a one-on-one meeting at the forum.
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
The oldest remains of a modern human outside Africa have been dug up in Israel, offering evidence of what genetic studies have already suggested -- that humans migrated out of Africa some 50,000 years earlier than previously thought. Facial fragments, including a jawbone and several teeth, were found at a site called Misliya Cave in Israel, one of several prehistoric cave sites located on Mount Carmel. The bones date to between 174,000 and 188,000 years old, said the report in Thursday's edition of the US journal Science. Until now, the earliest modern human fossils found outside of Africa were estimated to be between 90,000 to 120,000 years old. "Misliya is an exciting discovery," said co-author Rolf Quam, an anthropology professor...
(AFP (eng) 01/25/18)
Hundreds protested on Thursday outside a Moroccan court in support of four journalists being tried for publishing content deemed confidential. The journalists stand accused of publishing in late 2016 excerpts of a parliamentary commission's debates over huge deficit at the national pension fund. A member of the Democratic Labour Confederation (CDT) is also being prosecuted for providing information on these debates. "Freedom of expression is a red line," journalists and activists chanted outside the courthouse in the capital Rabat. Thursday's hearing was adjourned to March 8 as one of the journalists did not appear for trial. "This trial is quite unique. We're being prosecuted for publishing accurate information," defendant Abdelhak Belachgar said.
(AFP (eng) 01/24/18)
After years fighting to evict tenants he believes are backed by corrupt officials, Slimane Brihmi called a much-heralded anti-graft hotline in Morocco -- but it made no difference. Like many countries struggling with endemic corruption, the North African kingdom has launched various initiatives to tackle the phenomenon. The toll-free "Green Number" is an anonymous service launched with much fanfare in June 2015 to let members of the public report on corrupt officials. Hicham Mellati, acting director for criminal cases at the justice ministry and head of the project, said the line received some 6,000 calls a day in its early months, later falling to around 500 a day. But 30 months on, it has produced only 36 prosecutions, official figures...
(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 post, which is reserved for...
(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) 01/23/18)
Morocco is "fully mobilised" for its long-shot bid to host the 2026 World Cup, hoping to be a candidate "for the whole of Africa", top sports officials said Tuesday. The kingdom "is not a non-starter -- it's a real candidate," Moulay Hafid Elalamy said in his first public appearance as chairman of the country's 2026 bid committee. "We are going to put in all our energy," he told a news conference in Casablanca, brushing off criticisms that the campaign had been delayed. "Our record is and will be irreproachable." Morocco's fifth bid, announced in August, faces fierce competition from a three-nation ticket of the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Fouzi Lekjaa, head of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF), said...
(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 the team that started against Guinea four days ago, with five-goal leading scorer Ayoub el Kaabi among those rested. Achraf Bencharki, a star of the Wydad Casablanca 2017 CAF Champions League-winning team, made his first start after coming off the...
(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 are all human, we have...
(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 did not offer an apology during the closed-door meeting, but she did express regret. Haley told the meeting that "she was not there at the White House, she is not sure what was said, but she regretted all this situation...
(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 foreign exchange system, part of free-market reforms recommended by the International Monetary Fund to protect the economy against external shocks and safeguard its foreign reserves. The dirham has hardly moved since against major currencies, easing worries about a devaluation. The...
(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 the many mainly illiterate vendors who hawk everything from painkillers and antibiotics to anti-malaria and anti-retroviral treatments. "When we are harassed we always come to an arrangement with them to resume our activities," she said. Fatima, another hawker, said: "Many...

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