Saturday 27 May 2017
(AFP (eng) 04/13/17)
Africa's Matabele ants, fierce predators of termites, rescue their wounded soldiers and bring them back to the nest where they are "treated," a new study showed Wednesday. This helping behavior for the injured is the first to be detected in the insect world, according to an article in the US journal Science Advances by a German research team at the University of Wuerzburg's Biocentre. The ants, formally known as Megaponera analis, are widespread south of the Sahara on the continent. Two to four times a day, they set out in long files on raids to kill worker termites at their foraging sites. But the attacks meet strong resistance from soldier termites guarding the worker termites, which have powerful jaws that...
(AFP (eng) 04/11/17)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is proposing a new diplomatic push to end the decades-old dispute over Western Sahara, possibly by holding a referendum on Morocco's rule over the territory, according to a confidential report obtained by AFP on Monday. Guterres said in the report to the United Nations Security Council that he wanted "a new dynamic" and a "new spirit" in negotiations on ending one of the world's most intractable conflicts. "I intend to propose that the negotiating process be relaunched with a new dynamic and a new spirit that reflect the council's guidance," the UN chief said in the report sent to the council on Monday. The negotiations would have "the aim of reaching a mutually acceptable political solution...
(Xinhuanet 04/11/17)
Fathallah El Ouarrak, the Inspector General of Morocco's army, and Hamad Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi, the Chief of Staff of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces, discussed here on Monday mutual military cooperation between the two countries. They discussed matters of common interest and ways to promote the cooperation between the armies of the two countries, the Moroccan Royal Armed Forces (FAR) said in a statement. The military cooperation between the two countries is bound by a military and technical agreement signed in Rabat in 2006, said FAR. The two army chiefs highlighted the excellent military cooperation between Morocco and the UAE, which is based on their historical ties, the statement underlined. Al Rumaithi is leading a high-level military...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/11/17)
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for new talks over the long-running Western Sahara dispute, saying the negotiations should include proposals from both Morocco and the Polisario independence movement, according to a U.N. document. The U.N. call for a restart to talks came after months of tensions in the disputed territory, which Morocco claims as part of its kingdom and Polisario says belongs to the Sahrawi people who fought a guerrilla war until a 1991 U.N.-backed ceasefire. U.N. attempts to broker a settlement have failed for years in the vast desert area, which has contested since 1975 when Spanish colonial powers left. Morocco claimed the territory while Polisario established its self-declared Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic there. "I intend to propose...
(AFP (eng) 04/11/17)
El Nino, the cyclical climatic phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean, is linked to shifts in cholera cases in Africa, providing an early warning that could save lives, scientists said Monday. During the years when El Nino is warming the eastern Pacific, East Africa has about 50,000 additional cholera cases a year, new research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests. By contrast, the years when El Nino is not active, there were 30,000 fewer cholera cases in East Africa, according to the study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers analyzed more than 17,000 annual observations from 3,710 different locations between 2000 and 2014 in Africa, which has the most...
(AFP (eng) 04/07/17)
Morocco's new government is set to be dominated by officials close to the palace despite the premier hailing from the country's ruling Islamist party. King Mohamed VI on Wednesday announced the new line-up to be led by Prime Minister Saad-Eddine El Othman, second-in-command of the Justice and Development Party (PJD). Local press on Thursday said the new government was an "unabashed return of an executive monarchy" and a step back for the Islamists who triumphed in October elections. The PJD then failed to form a majority despite five months of intense negotiations -- the longest time Morocco has been without a government in its recent history. The Islamist party has lost the key ministries of foreign affairs, interior and defence,...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/07/17)
Access to off-grid solar energy in rural areas of Africa goes beyond lighting up homes - it also enables people to connect to the wider world and boosts their economic prospects, said the head of one of the continent's biggest solar companies. Azuri Technologies' entry level solar system - for which customers pay a one-off installation fee, then use scratch cards or mobile phone payments to top up on a weekly or monthly basis - provides eight hours of lighting each day. Having power at home for the first time encourages customers to also buy mobile phones, radios and televisions, giving them regular access to the media and the internet, said Simon Bransfield-Garth, chief executive officer of UK-based Azuri. "This...
(AFP (eng) 04/06/17)
Morocco's King Mohamed VI on Wednesday named a new government headed by a member of the ruling Islamist party, following a six-month political deadlock in the North African country. Prime Minister Saad-Eddine El Othman, second-in-command of the Justice and Development Party (PJD) that triumphed in October elections, will lead a cabinet comprised of Islamists, liberals and leftists, the official MAP news agency reported. Mohamed had named Othman premier last month. The PJD came to power after the king relinquished some of his near-absolute control following Arab Spring-inspired protests in 2011, with member Abdelilah Benkirane heading a previous coalition government for five years.
(Xinhuanet 04/06/17)
Morocco's Prime Minister Saadeddine El Othmani said on Wednesday that his new government will pursue the reforms launched by the former one. El Othmani said that the government members have agreed to boost the implementation of the reforms launched by the previous government "to reach the goals that have been set." The swift formation of the government was imposed by the harmful effects of the deadlock on the country as well as its economic, especially small businesses, El Othmani told the press following the appointment of his government by King Mohammed VI. "We will put the interests of the Moroccan citizen beyond any other consideration," he insisted. At the Royal Palace in Rabat, the king received El Othmani and formerly...
(Voice of America 04/05/17)
A Red Cross report says African countries are failing their internally displaced people. Reversing that trend was the subject of a high level meeting of the International Red Cross and the African Union that wrapped up Tuesday in Zimbabwe. Africa has about 13 million internally displaced people, a third of the global number of IDPs, and more than double the amount of refugees on the continent. By definition, refugees flee across a national border, while IDPs leave their homes but stay within their own country. African Union Commission head of humanitarian affairs, refugees and displaced people Olabisi Dare says the situation of IDPs in Africa is very critical, dire and worsening. "...The issues that are generating internal displacement [are] multiplying...
(Financial Times 04/04/17)
Countries should develop policies to attract labour-intensive production leaving China. China’s initial wave of investments in Africa focused on natural resource extraction. Their demand for metals and energy was so large that it actually boosted global commodity prices overall, which in turn accelerated growth across the African continent. These times of China propping up global commodity prices are now over, as it has built up excess capacity in many sectors and now faces slow investment growth. This lower demand has contributed to the overall slump in global commodity prices since 2014, making it unlikely that China will again fulfil the role of driving commodity prices. Rather, its position has now shifted to becoming the largest exporter of capital. This provides...
(The East African 04/03/17)
Nairobi — The 2017 Mo Ibrahim Foundation annual Governance Weekend will be held in Marrakech - Morocco from April 7-9. A press release from the Foundation identifies the Palmeraie Resort as the venue for this year's meeting. The three-day event brings together prominent African and Africa-focused leaders, civil society representatives, multilateral and regional institutions and Africa's international partners to identify policy challenges and possible solutions. Violent extremism The conversation is normally extended to a wider audience through music, art and sport at major public events, showcasing some of Africa's brightest talent. The Foundation has released a report that sets the stage for high-level discussions in Morocco. The priority areas for the Marrakech talks, according to the report, include violent extremism...
(AFP (eng) 03/30/17)
Morocco is hosting a month-long festival to celebrate African art and culture, featuring some of the continent's most prominent artists. Activities including theatre, exhibitions and concerts are being held around Rabat as part of the Africa in the Capital event. The festival follows a vast diplomatic, political and economic offensive by Morocco across the continent which culminated in its return to the African Union in January. "We wanted to celebrate our Africanity and the return of Morocco to the African Union through the universal language of culture," said painter Mehdi Qotbi, president of Morocco's National Foundation of Museums. Africa in the Capital is giving pride of place to contemporary art
(Xinhuanet 03/30/17)
The African Union (AU) is extremely appalled by the attacks against African students in Noida and other cities in India. The pan-African bloc has deplored the violence unleashed during the riot that started on Monday targeting Africans of various nationalities, particularly Nigerians, which resulted in loss of innocent lives and serious injuries, the AU said in a statement. The attacks have also resulted in the displacement of many Africans from their normal places of residence, thereby putting their lives in serious danger, it said. AU has expressed heartfelt condolence to the families of the deceased; and it wished speedy recovery to all those who have sustained injuries. AU has called on the Indian authorities to provide all necessary support to...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/17)
Moroccan authorities fired a provincial governor after angry protesters clashed with police leaving dozens of officers reportedly injured, an interior ministry source told AFP. The disturbances were the latest to rock the northern province of Al-Hoceima since the death of a local fishmonger in a garbage truck last October sparked nationwide protests. The province lies in the Rif -- a long neglected ethnically Berber region that was at the heart of a 2011 movement for reform that saw King Mohammed VI cede some of his powers. Governor Mohammed Zhar was fired during a visit to Hoceima on Tuesday by Interior Minister Mohamed Hassad, the ministry source said. His dismissal was intended to "clear the air" and "meet residents' expectations for...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/17)
New African football chief Ahmad Ahmad gave his backing on Tuesday to a potential bid from Morocco to host the 2026 World Cup. The north African country has bid to host the global showpiece on four previous occasions but missed out on the 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010 editions. "We are convinced that Morocco could organise this competition just as was done by South Africa in 2010," said Ahmad, who was elected president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) earlier this month to replace Issa Hayatou, at a press conference in Marrakesh. Ahmad's backing comes just a few months after FIFA president Gianni Infantino declared that the country has the necessary "infrastructure and organisational capacity" to host the World...
(Xinhuanet 03/29/17)
The director general of the Moroccan tourism office (ONMT) Abderrafie Zouiten said here on Tuesday that the office expects tourist arrivals to grow by 6 percent in 2017. "Despite the difficult international economic and security context, we seek to attract over 600,000 additional tourists compared with last year," Zouiten said during a press conference. While Morocco aims to secure the share in its traditional European markets, it hopes to attract more tourists from China and Russia, the official stressed. To back up this trend, he said ONMT has launched a comprehensive campaign to promote Morocco's destination with a strong focus on innovative and original digital content. He added that the country has set up numerous new air routes linking hot...
(Bloomberg 03/28/17)
Morocco’s new prime minister-designate formed a governing coalition, ending a five-month impasse that has paralyzed decision-making and strained the economy. After barely a week in office, Saaddine El-Otmani of the moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party told reporters late Saturday that he will lead a coalition of six parties including partners his predecessor, Abdelilah Benkirane, had refused to include. High on the new government’s agenda will be “improving the quality of government services, education, health care, creating job opportunities, and fighting corruption,” El-Otmani said. Benkirane’s inability to form a coalition after October elections produced no clear-cut winner forced
(Voice of America 03/28/17)
The World Health Organization and U.N. children's fund are spearheading a massive immunization campaign across Africa to rid the continent of the last vestiges of polio. Tens of thousands of health workers will fan out across 13 central and western African countries to vaccinate more than 116 million children under age five against the crippling disease. The U.N. agencies report more than 190,000 volunteers, traveling on foot or bicycle, will go house to house across all cities, towns, and villages in 13 countries to vaccinate every child under age five against polio. The synchronized vaccination campaign, one of the largest ever conducted in Africa, will run from March 25-28. Director of Polio Eradication at the World Health Organization Michel Zaffran...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/17)
African Football Confederation (CAF) secretary-general Hicham El Amrani resigned on Sunday without giving an explanation. The 37-year-old Moroccan revealed his decision in a letter to African national football associations. His move is probably linked to the defeat of long-serving Cameroonian Issa Hayatou by Malagasy outsider Ahmad Ahmad in the CAF presidential election this month. El Amrani was a Hayatou loyalist, constantly defending his boss, who ruled African football for 29 years, against public and media criticism. He became secretary-general, initially on an interim basis, in 2010 when Egyptian Mustapha Fahmy moved to global football body FIFA. Ahmad, who will serve a four-year term, is scheduled to meet CAF staff on Monday at the Cairo headquarters of the 60-year-old organisation.

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