Wednesday 20 September 2017
(AFP (eng) 08/19/17)
Residents of Melouiya, a village high in Morocco's Atlas Mountains, are in shock at the news two of their sons were implicated in terror attacks in Spain. A traditional tent set up on a rocky patch of ground near the rough stone house of the Oukabir family, originally intended for a wedding reception, has been turned into a funeral tent. "Joy has given way to sadness and pain," said Abderrahim, in his forties, an uncle of the Oukabir brothers. Driss Oukabir, 27, was arrested in the Spanish town of Ripoll on Thursday just hours after a van sped into crowds on the busy Las Ramblas avenue in central Barcelona, leaving 13 people dead. His brother Moussa, 17, was one of...
(AFP (eng) 08/19/17)
Spanish police Friday released the names of three Moroccans suspected of deadly terror attacks and who were shot dead overnight by security forces in the seaside resort of Cambrils. Catalonia's regional police identified them as Moussa Oukabir, 17, Said Aallaa, 18, and Mohamed Hychami, 24. Police said they were searching for a fourth suspect, Younes Abouyaaqoub, aged 22. Police on Friday stepped up their investigation into the twin vehicle attacks in Spain that left 14 dead and over 100 more injured in a bustling tourist area of Barcelona and the nearby seaside resort of Cambrils. The attacks claimed victims and wounded from three dozen countries. Of the 12 people police suspect of involvement in the attacks, five were shot dead...
(AFP (eng) 08/14/17)
Morocco on Monday rejected accusations by media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) that it obstructed coverage of months of unrest and protests that have shaken the northern Rif region. In July, RSF issued a scathing statement accusing the authorities in the North African country of preventing journalists from covering events in the Rif, particularly in the main city of Al-Hoceima. "The situation of Moroccan and foreign journalists covering the events in northern Morocco keeps on getting worse," said Yasmine Kacha, the head of RSF's North Africa bureau, at the time. "By trying to prevent coverage of the Rif protests, the Moroccan authorities are gradually turning this region into a no-go zone for independent media." On Monday, the culture and communications...
(Bloomberg 08/14/17)
The U.S. will probably maintain its current levels of aid to Africa despite President Donald Trump’s proposals to slash funding, according to Bill Gates, the world’s richest man. Trump said in May his government would no longer allocate funding for family planning, a move that has the potential to undermine aid programs in the poorest countries in the world. However, with Congress in control of the budget, it’s unlikely that all cuts proposed by the Trump administration will go ahead next year, Gates said in an interview in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s commercial capital. “It’s quite clear that they won’t make those drastic cuts,” Gates said. “I’m hopeful they won’t make any cuts at all, but that’s still subject to...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/11/17)
Morocco has lodged its bid to host the 2026 soccer World Cup, the country's football federation said in a statement on Friday. The offer to host the expanded 48-team tournament will compete with a joint bid from the United States, Mexico and Canada. The North African nation narrowly lost out to South Africa in its offer to stage the 2010 finals. “The Royal Moroccan Football Federation has officially submitted its candidacy on Friday, August 11, 2017 to organize the World Cup in 2026,” the statement on the federation's website ( www.frmf.ma ) said. “The Federation submitted its application to the relevant committees of the Federation Internationale de Football Association - FIFA - to host this global event.” The Confederation of...
(APA 08/11/17)
Morocco has formally submitted its application to organize the 2026 World Cup, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) announced on Friday. “The FRMF has officially filed its application to the specialized commissions of the International Football Federation (FIFA) to host the World Cup 2026,” the body said in a statement. After four attempts to host the major global football event (1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010), Morocco aspires to be able to clinch the World Cup 2026, the first that will pit 48 teams. Until now, only Morocco and the trio USA-Canada-Mexico (a joint bid) have expressed their wish to host the 2026 edition. Last March, the president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Ahmad Ahmad, said he was convinced...
(Xinhuanet 08/11/17)
Morocco on Friday launched its bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2026. Morocco's football association (RMFF) said in a statement posted on its website that it submitted its application to host the 2026 World Cup to the world soccer governing body FIFA. This will be Morocco's fifth bid to host the World Cups, after its unsuccessful bids for the 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010 editions of the tournament. The deadline for a country to express their intention to bid to host the tournament is Friday. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has already given its backing to any Moroccan bid in July.
(Reuters (Eng) 08/10/17)
A British explorer for mineral resources in Africa will on Thursday become the first venture of its kind to be listed on London's AIM market for growing companies, its CEO said. Following the recovery of the mining sector from a commodity price crash in 2015-16, a handful of new companies have listed. But smaller exploration companies known as project generators, which find assets but sell them on or agree joint ventures to develop them, have generally preferred the Canadian or Australian exchanges. "We will be the only listed project-generator business that has a focus on Africa," Steven Poulton, chief executive of Altus Strategies, told Reuters. Poulton had told Reuters in May he planned to list the company's shares. The aim...
(AFP (eng) 08/10/17)
The skull of an infant ape buried by a volcano 13 million years ago has preserved intriguing clues about the ancestor humans shared with apes -- including a likely African origin, scientists said Wednesday. A previously-unknown creature that shared an extended family with the human forefather, had a flat face like that of our far-flung cousin the gibbon, but did not move like one, its discoverers wrote in the journal Nature. They named it Nyanzapithecus alesi after "ales" -- the word for "ancestor" in the Turkana language of Kenya, where the lemon-sized skull was unearthed. The sole specimen is that of an infant that would have grown to weigh about 11 kilogrammes (24 pounds) in adulthood. It had a brain...
(AFP (eng) 08/09/17)
Spanish police have found 30 Moroccan and Algerian migrants, 10 of them minors, hidden in fairground vehicles leaving the Spanish territory of Ceuta after an annual festival, they said Tuesday. Agents used heartbeat detectors and dogs to locate the migrants who had hidden anywhere they could find -- including bumper cars and a ghost train -- as the vehicles carrying them waited to board ferries bound for mainland Spain, the Guardia Civil police force said. "They try to use attractions that are only half covered up to jump in and hide inside," a spokesman told AFP. The funfair takes place every year in Ceuta, a Spanish territory on Morocco's northern coast, as part of annual celebrations in honour of the...
(Xinhuanet 08/09/17)
Morocco's vegetables exports to the European Union increased by 17 percent in the first half of this year compared to the same period of 2016, local media reported on Wednesday. The total value of the exports in the first six months of 2017 stood at 551.8 million euros(648 million USD) compared to 470.6 million euros(553 million USD) a year earlier, the financial daily L'Economiste said, citing figures from Eurostat, compiled by Spanish producer-exporter association Fepex. Morocco remains one of the top suppliers of the EU in terms of fresh vegetables. Tomatoes, potatoes and onions are the principal vegetable products exported from Morocco to the EU. In recent years, Morocco's exports to the EU market accounted for about 60 percent of...
(Xinhuanet 08/09/17)
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) on Wednesday affirmed the commitment of his country to Africa and saw "great potential to grow and deepen trade relationship." Robert E. Lighthizer expressed this in opening speech of the ministerial plenary as part of the 16th Forum of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), on Wednesday here in Togolese capital Lome. "The United States is committed to Africa. We see great potential to grow and deepen our trade relationship, with the goal of establishing a true partnership for the future", Lighthizer said. "By lowering barriers and tackling other constraints that impede trade and investment, we are poised to see U.S.-Africa trade flourish", he said, underscoring that "much more work needs to be...
(AFP (eng) 08/08/17)
Morocco's opposition chief has resigned to take responsibility for the troubles facing his Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM), including last year's election defeat, the party said. Ilyas El Omari's party was beaten by the ruling Islamists in Morocco's legislative polls in October, but more than doubled its number of seats in the new parliament. The PAM, formed in 2008 by a close adviser to the king, had poured enormous resources into a campaign criticising the government's economic record. But party detractors accused the PAM of acting on behalf of the royal palace in a bid to weaken the Islamist Justice and Development Party which eventually came first with 125 seats out of 395 in the election. Since then, PAM fell...
(AFP (eng) 08/08/17)
A protester in a coma after being struck on the head last month in clashes between demonstrators and security forces in northern Morocco died Tuesday of his injuries, officials said. The neglected northern Rif region of Morocco has been shaken by weeks of protests and violence with demonstrators demanding jobs, development and an end to corruption. On July 20, Imad Atabi was hit in the head in clashes in the main Rif city of Al-Hoceima, and taken to a military hospital in Rabat after falling into a coma. At the time the official MAP news agency, quoting the authorities, said Atabi had been wounded by "stone throwing". The Al-Hoceima prosecutor said he died on Tuesday, and said an investigation was...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/08/17)
Tuesday's action at the World Athletics Championships sees two of the most intriguing races of the program as South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk bids for the first half of his 400/200 meters double and Nigel Amos goes for gold in the men's 800m. World record holder and defending champion Van Niekerk should be unbeatable in the 400m but faces a stiff challenge, not least from Botswanan duo Isaac Makwala and Thebe Baboloki. Another Botswanan, Amos, will also have to be at his best in the 800m, where a clutch of athletes are suddenly dreaming of glory in the absence of Kenya's injured champion David Rudisha. Kenya is expected to continue its dominance of the men's 3,000m steeplechase - though American...
(Xinhuanet 08/03/17)
Trade between China and Africa reached 85.3 billion U.S. dollars in H1, surging 19 percent year on year as the two sides strengthened cooperation in a wide range of areas, official data showed Thursday. The data reversed the negative growth trend since 2015, according to Gao Feng, spokesperson with the Ministry of Commerce. During January-June, Chinese imports from Africa, including minerals, agricultural products and fruits, amounted to 38.4 billion U.S. dollars, jumping 46 percent from the same period last year, while exports gained 3 percent to 47 billion U.S. dollars. Transport equipment has become a bright spot in China's exports to African countries, with that of ships, trains and aerospace equipment up 200 percent, 161 percent and 252 percent respectively,...
(AFP (eng) 08/02/17)
Human rights groups have raised fears for a detained Moroccan activist who was hospitalised a month into a hunger strike over his arrest following protests in the troubled Rif region. Detained in the northern town of Al-Hoceima in late June and held in Casablanca's Oukacha prison, 34-year-old Rabii Elablaq immediately began refusing food to demand his release. "His health has been deteriorating ever since," said Rachid Benali, coordinator of a group defending detainees from the Rif, a predominantly Berber region gripped by months of unrest. Elablaq's defence lawyer, Abdessadek El Bouchtaoui, said people close to his client had "repeatedly tried to persuade him to stop, but he was always determined to go all the way". Hunger strikers typically experience dizziness,...
(Bloomberg 08/02/17)
Julien Ochala can’t live without his morning cup of Joe. But not just any coffee will do. For the past five years, the 37-year-old physiology lecturer at King’s College London has visited the same store every week to grab a pack of his beloved Kenyan brew. And he’s not put off by the cost: at 37 pounds a kilogram ($22 a pound), it’s more than double a similar supermarket product. "I take Kenyan coffee every morning," said Ochala, who buys his beans from Monmouth Coffee Company in Borough Market. "I love it because of the relatively higher acidity level. It keeps me active in the afternoons." Customers willing to pay a premium for African brews, known for their floral, fruity...
(AFP (eng) 08/01/17)
Some 200 migrants stormed a high fence between Morocco and the Spanish territory of Ceuta early on Tuesday, with 73 managing to get through in the latest incident at the border, authorities said. A spokesman for the central government's representative office in Ceuta, on Morocco's northern coast, said 18 people were "slightly" injured, including 15 migrants and three policemen. The migrants used "wire cutters and mallets to cut through the doors" in the high double fence, he added. Ceuta and Melilla, also a Spanish territory in North Africa, have the EU's only land borders with Africa. As a result, they are entry points for migrants desperate to get to Europe and who regularly try to climb the high border fences,...
(Bloomberg 08/01/17)
British American Tobacco Plc faces a formal probe by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office following reports that the maker of Dunhill cigarettes bribed African government officials to influence tobacco legislation. BAT said Tuesday it is running its own investigations, via external legal advisers, into allegations of misconduct and is cooperating with the U.K. prosecutor. A BBC report two years ago said BAT had a lobbyist arrange bribes totaling $26,000 for three public officials in Rwanda, Burundi and the Comoros Islands in 2015. The British broadcaster said the bribery was revealed by a former employee, Paul Hopkins. At the time, BAT said “we do not tolerate corruption in our business, no matter where it takes place.” The SFO investigation adds to...

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