Wednesday 20 September 2017
(AFP (eng) 07/31/17)
King Mohammed VI of Morocco on Saturday pardoned more than a thousand detainees, some of whom were under arrest for taking part in protests in the troubled northern Rif region, the justice ministry announced. The monarch pardoned a total of 1,178 people, including a number who had joined demonstrations in the northern port city of Al-Hoceima and surrounding area, the ministry said in a statement, issued shortly before King Mohammed made a televised speech to mark 18 years on the throne. The justice ministry said pardons were granted to those "who have not committed crimes and who are not implicated in serious acts... bearing in mind their family...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/31/17)
Morocco's King Mohammed VI has pardoned dozens of people arrested in recent protests in a northern region and blamed the failure of local officials to quickly implement development projects for stoking public anger. It was his first public address since the start of protests in October over injustice, corruption and underdevelopment following the death of Mouhcine Fikri, a fishmonger crushed in a garbage truck retrieving stock confiscated by police. Fikri's death triggered widespread anger and protests in the Rif region around Al-Hoceima, the town where he worked. These were the largest demonstrations since the 2011 Arab Spring inspired rallies that prompted the king to make constitutional reforms giving up some of his power. "If the King of Morocco is not...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/28/17)
Barclays reported a 1.2 billion pound ($1.57 billion)attributable first half loss on Friday after taking a 2.5 billion pound hit from the sale of its Africa business and calling an end to its restructuring. The British bank said it had made a 1.4 billion pound loss on the sale of 33 percent of Barclays Africa Group, and took a further 1.1 billion pound impairment charge on the sale. Barclays in June cut its stake in Barclays Africa Group to 15 percent, ending more than 90 years as a major presence in the continent as it shifts its focus back to Britain and the United States. The losses from the sale of unwanted assets including the Africa business showed the costs...
(AFP (eng) 07/27/17)
Moroccan police have arrested a British dealer in virtual currency Bitcoin wanted on fraud charges in the United States, a source close to the investigation told AFP on Thursday. Police said only that a 49-year-old Briton had been detained in the northern city of Tangiers on Wednesday in response to a notice issued by Interpol on July 17 and that his extradition would be considered by the Court of Cassation. But the source identified him as British businessman Renwick Haddow, a former New York resident who was charged with securities fraud in the United states on June 30 for allegedly bilking investors in what turned out to be a fake Bitcoin trading platform. He appeared before the public prosecutor in...
(The Associated Press 07/27/17)
The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic says two Moroccan peacekeepers have been killed in a southeastern town where another Moroccan was killed Sunday. A statement says the two peacekeepers were killed by suspected anti-Balaka militia while another peacekeeper was injured. They had been restocking water for the town's humanitarian needs when they were attacked. Hundreds of people have been killed in Central African Republic and roughly 100,000 displaced in the past two months. Sectarian violence that began in 2013 has moved into the impoverished country's central and southeastern regions, prompting warnings of a national conflict roaring back to life. In Bangassou alone, more than 150 people have died in fighting between militias and U.N. peacekeeping forces. The U.N...
(AfricaNews 07/27/17)
At a time when Africa is going through a difficult situation, the blue economy is emerging as a stepping stone to relaunch the continent in the right economic direction. But this type of economy is seriously threatened by “predators” who do not hesitate to plunder resources. The “cancer of illegal fishing” costs Africa about $ 1.6 million annually based on Economic Commission for Africa’s estimates. This and more on this week’s edition segment on Business on the Morning Call with Jean David Mihamle.
(AFP (eng) 07/26/17)
Two Moroccan UN peacekeepers were killed Tuesday in an attack in the Central African Republic's southeast, two days after the death of another soldier from the same contingent, the force said, blaming pro-Christian militias for the violence. "The MINUSCA (peacekeeping mission) regrets to announce the deaths of two more blue helmets on Tuesday afternoon in Bangassou," a town 700 kilometres (430 miles) east of the capital Bangui, the peacekeeping force said in a statement. The Moroccan peacekeepers "were killed in an ambush by suspected anti-Balaka fighters
(AFP (eng) 07/25/17)
A Moroccan court on Tuesday sentenced to three months in jail a journalist accused of having "invited" people to take part in banned protests in the restive north, his website said. Hamid El Mahdaoui was arrested on Thursday at the start of a banned demonstration in the northern city of Al-Hoceima, during which protesters clashed with police. El Mahdaoui, who heads the Badil online news site, was found guilty of helping to organise "a non-authorised march" as well as having "invited" others to take part in the protest, the website said. He was sentenced to three months in jail and fined 20,000 dirhams (1,800 euros), Badil said, adding that he could appeal the verdict. The journalist, known for criticising authorities...
(AFP (eng) 07/25/17)
A knife-wielding man shouting "Allahu Akbar" charged across the border between Morocco and the Spanish territory of Melilla on Tuesday, attacking and injuring a police officer, authorities said. The man was subsequently detained, Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said. "A man entered the border post and once inside, pulled out a large knife and confronted (police) shouting 'Allahu Akbar' (God is Greatest), slightly injuring a policeman," Irene Flores, spokeswoman for the central government's representative office in Melilla, told AFP. A spokesman for Spanish police added he ran into the border post. Melilla and its sister city Ceuta are two Spanish territories located on Morocco's northern coast, and as such represent the only two land borders between Africa and the...
(Agence Ecofin 07/25/17)
In Morocco, the debt of telecom group Itissalat Al Maghrib, mostly known as Maroc Telecom, has increased by about 4.7 billion dirhams ($491.6 million) over the first half of 2017, ended on June 30. The rise is mainly due to bank borrowings (repayable in less than 12 months) having exceeded four billion dirhams. As investments slumped by a little more than 20% over the period reviewed, the group says the major part of the debt was used to finance restructuring and licenses, in addition to paying part of dividends, which amounted to six billion dirhams. This in a bid to reassure investors as its share on the local stock exchange fell by 3.8% since the beginning of the year, representing...
(Voice of America 07/25/17)
European and African ministers are meeting in Tunisia about efforts to regulate the flow of refugees from Africa to Europe, primarily along the deadly central Mediterranean route originating in Libya. In a declaration Monday in Tunis, the capital, the ministers said they agreed on a multi-pronged approach to the crisis, including informing people about the risks of illegal migration and the possibility of voluntarily returning home, addressing why migrants leave home and beefing up actions against human traffickers. Participating in the meetings were interior ministers from Algeria, Austria, Chad, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Libya, Mali, Malta, Niger, Slovenia, Switzerland, Tunisia and Estonia, which currently holds the EU Council presidency. Through the first half of 2017, nearly 84,000 migrants arrived in...
(AFP (eng) 07/24/17)
An ambush killed a Moroccan peacekeeper and wounded three others on Sunday in the Central African Republic, the United Nations said, blaming pro-Christian militias for the violence. "A MINUSCA (peacekeeping mission) military convoy was targeted by anti-Balaka," it said of the clash in the southern city of Bangassou. The country is struggling to emerge from a civil war that erupted in 2013 following the overthrow of former president Francois Bozize, a Christian, by Muslim rebels from the Seleka coalition. The coup led to the formation of "anti-Balaka" (anti-machete) vigilante units...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/24/17)
DAKAR (Reuters) - Christian militias in Central African Republic have launched several attacks in the town of Bangassou in recent days, attempting to seize a cathedral housing displaced Muslims and killing a Moroccan peacekeeper, the United Nations said on Sunday. The incidents, including one on Sunday, came after attacks on the same diamond-mining town in May that killed at least 115 people and point to the inability of U.N. peacekeepers to contain violence in a country where government control barely extends outside the capital. "The attack took place as the peacekeepers from the Moroccan contingent were escorting water trucks filling up in the river in order to meet the humanitarian needs of the town," Vladimir Monteiro, spokesman for the 13,000-strong...
(The Associated Press 07/24/17)
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) -- The United Nations says a peacekeeper from Morocco has been killed in Central African Republic. A statement Monday morning says the peacekeeper was killed Sunday in the southeastern town of Bangassou by suspected anti-Balaka militias. The statement says three other peacekeepers were injured. Hundreds of people have been killed in Central African Republic and roughly 100,000 displaced in the past two months. Sectarian violence that began in 2013 has been moving into the impoverished country's central and southeastern regions, prompting warnings of a national conflict roaring back to life. In Bangassou alone, more than 150 people have died in fighting between militias and U.N. peacekeeping forces.
(Agence Ecofin 07/24/17)
On July 20, Othman Benjelloun, President of the Groupe BMCE Bank of Africa, signed a contract for the construction of Africa’s tallest tower, with Chinese group China Railway Construction Corporation International (CRCCI). The Rabat Bouregreg tower will indeed be built in Salé, boasting of an astounding height of 250m and 55 floors. It will, among others, include a mall, a business centre, hotels and residences. Construction works for the building began, it may be recalled, in March 2016, with King Mohammed VI in person laying the first stone. It is expected to be delivered in 2020.
(AFP (eng) 07/21/17)
A protester was in a coma after being struck on the head during clashes between demonstrators and security forces in northern Morocco, local authorities said on Friday. He was taken to hospital overnight after being wounded by "stone throwing" in the clashes on Thursday in the city of Al-Hoceima, official news agency MAP quoted the authorities as saying. Authorities are seeking to "identify the person and clarify the circumstances of the incident", MAP said, adding that the patient would be flown to a hospital in the capital...
(AFP (eng) 07/21/17)
The Algerian-backed Polisario Front movement seeking independence for disputed Western Sahara on Thursday denounced as "unjust" a Moroccan court's decision to sentence a group of Sahrawis to prison. On Wednesday a court in Sale near Rabat sentenced 23 Sahrawis to prison terms ranging from two years to life over the killing of 11 members of the Moroccan security forces in Western Sahara. The case had been closely followed by human rights campaigners. Morocco and the Polisario Front have accused each other of provoking deadly clashes between police and Sahrawi protesters at a camp for displaced people in Gdeim Izik in November 2010.
(Reuters (Eng) 07/21/17)
Police fired tear gas and used truncheons to scatter hundreds of protesters in northern Morocco, a Reuters witness said on Thursday, part of the biggest wave of demonstrations in the kingdom since Arab Spring-inspired rallies in 2011. People have taken to the streets in the Rif region around the city of Al-Hoceima since October over injustice, corruption and underdevelopment, and on Thursday thousands gathered to try to join in rallies that local authorities had banned. Police charged at small groups of protesters, including men, women and children, around the town and forced many into side streets where authorities had set up a heavy security presence with checkpoints to block people joining the protests, the Reuters witness said. Cars and taxis...
(AFP (eng) 07/21/17)
Police in the northern Moroccan city of Al-Hoceima on Thursday fired tear gas to disperse protesters and stop them marching in defiance of a government ban. Organisers from the Al-Hirak al-Shaabi movement dubbed the demonstration the "million-man march" and said they would go ahead with it despite an injunction. Al-Hoceima, the main port in the Rif region, has been hit by unrest since a fishmonger was crushed to death in a rubbish truck last year as he tried to retrieve swordfish confiscated for being caught out of season. This year has seen waves of protests and bouts of violence in the Rif, where residents have long complained of neglect and marginalisation. Scores of police could be seen around Al-Hoceima since...
(AFP (eng) 07/21/17)
The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations will expand from 16 to 24 teams and be staged in June and July, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced on Thursday. The tournament has traditionally been held in January and February, with the timing of the tournament a source of frustration to European clubs forced to release players in the middle of the season. The CAF executive committee confirmed the changes to the format following a two-day symposium in Rabat, although the tournament will continue to be held every two years and exclusively on African soil. The decision to increase the number of teams mirrors a similar one taken by UEFA to expand the European Championship, with 24 nations taking part at...

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