Wednesday 22 November 2017
(AFP (eng) 11/21/17)
Mourning relatives on Monday started burying the victims of a stampede that killed 15 women during a food aid delivery near the popular tourist town of Essaouira on Morocco's coast. "It's a tragedy," said the husband of one of the victims, breaking down in tears after burying her. Hundreds of women had gathered on Sunday at a marketplace in the village of Sidi Boulaalam, around 60 kilometres (35 miles) northeast of Essaouira, for an annual distribution of food aid organised by a benefactor from the region. A witness told AFP that people had pushed and broken down barriers as they fought for food. "If you fall, it's over for you and you get trampled on,"...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/20/17)
RABAT (Reuters) - Fifteen people were killed and five more injured when a stampede broke out in a southwestern Moroccan town on Sunday as food aid was being distributed in a market, the Interior Ministry said. A hospital source put the death toll at 18, adding that most victims were women who had been scrambling for food handed out by a rich man in the small coastal town of Sidi Boulaalam. A local journalist said the donor had organised similar handouts before, but this year some 1,000 people arrived, storming an iron barrier under which several women were crushed. King Mohammed ordered that the victims’ families be given any assistance they needed and the wounded treated at his cost, the...
(AFP (eng) 11/19/17)
At least 15 people were killed and five injured Sunday in a crush as food aid was distributed near the coastal tourist town of Essaouira in western Morocco, officials said. The accident happened in the town of Sidi Boulaalam, around 60 kilometres (35 miles) from Essaouira, the interior ministry said in a statement. Local media said a "benefactor" had organised the food distribution at a stall in the rural town, which was rapidly "submerged in the crowd" of 800 people, mostly women. An investigation has begun to "determine the circumstances of the incident" and establish who was responsible, the Moroccan authorities said.
(AFP (eng) 11/18/17)
Spanish and Moroccan police have netted close to four tonnes of cocaine with a street value of over 100 million euros and arrested 40 people in a long-term anti-trafficking operation, Spain's interior ministry said Friday. The ministry said that 1.3 tonnes of the drug and more than 13 million euros in cash had been seized in Spain since the launch of the joint operation last year. Morocco's DGST domestic intelligence service meanwhile said it had seized 2.6 tonnes of cocaine...
(AFP (eng) 11/17/17)
Africa is making only faltering progress towards food and nutrition security, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned. "Multiple forms of malnutrition coexist, with countries experiencing simultaneously high rates of child undernutrition or anaemia as well as high rates of obesity," it says in a new report, Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition. In sub-Saharan Africa, "progress towards the World Health Assembly global nutrition targets has been generally poor," the Rome-based agency says, referring to goals to...
(AFP (eng) 11/14/17)
Huddling against a hillside in northern Morocco is a tourist town famed for the striking blue of its buildings, and now the mayor is mixing in another colour -- green. Chefchaouen -- known locally as Chaouen -- wants to become a model for sustainable development at a time when the northwest African kingdom has shone a spotlight onto its commitment to the environment and a greener future. Take Aziz, a local council employee in his forties. He whizzes silently around...
(AFP (eng) 11/13/17)
Ministers from 13 European and African countries on Monday pledged steps to ease the migrant crisis around the Mediterranean, vowing especially to improve conditions for migrants held in Libya. Interior ministers and other representatives from countries impacted by the ongoing wave of migration up through Africa towards Europe, including Libya, voiced deep concern over the "ongoing human tragedy" along the so-called Central Mediterranean route. "The participants intend to address the challenges posed by the alarming situation along the migration route...
(AFP (eng) 11/11/17)
A French appeals court on Friday dealt a blow to two journalists accused of trying to blackmail the king of Morocco by ruling that secret recordings could be used as evidence against them. Lawyers for French investigative journalists Eric Laurent and Catherine Graciet argued unsuccessfully that tapes of conversations between them and a Moroccan official were inadmissible. "It's a very big victory," Patrice Spinosi, a lawyer for the king told AFP. "There is no longer any obstacle to going ahead to conviction."
(AFP (eng) 11/09/17)
A Moroccan court has sentenced two members of a northern protest movement to 20 years in prison each for torching a police building earlier this year, their lawyer said. Rachid Benali told AFP the verdict was issued on Tuesday by a court in Al-Hoceima, a port city in the neglected northern Rif region which was rocked by protests for social justice. The court sentenced two members of Hirak al-Shaabi, or "Popular Movement", to 20 years in jail and four others to prison terms ranging from one to five years, Benali said.
(AFP (eng) 11/08/17)
A dozen other students look on as Umar Amadu uses a glass pipette to draw a solution from a conical flask as part of a chemistry experiment. It could be a scene from any school laboratory around the world, but until two months ago Amadu and his fellow students had no access to any science equipment. Science subjects at his rural secondary school outside the city of Katsina in northern Nigeria were taught using theory only. But now they have...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/07/17)
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Ride-hailing service Uber Technologies Inc. [UBER.UL] is growing rapidly in sub-Saharan Africa and considering moves into more markets, despite sometimes violent opposition from metered taxi drivers, a senior executive said on Tuesday. Uber’s service has triggered protests by rivals from London to New Delhi as it up-ends traditional business models that require professional drivers to pay steep licensing fees to do business. “We are bullish on Africa. The growth here is still substantial and we think...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/06/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa’s mobile internet connections are set to double in the next five years, a study showed on Monday, thanks to affordable smartphones and the roll-out of high-speed networks. A report by research and consulting firm Ovum in London estimates that mobile broadband connections will rise from 419 million at the end of this year to 1.07 billion by the end of 2022. “Data connectivity is growing strongly in Africa, and there are also good prospects on the...
(AFP (eng) 11/04/17)
Selembouha Dadi can only imagine the homeland she dreams of but has never seen, agonisingly out of reach beyond the Algerian refugee camp where she has spent her whole life. "They tell me it was beautiful," the 25-year-old told AFP. The territory that Dadi yearns for is Western Sahara, a sprawling swathe of desert on Africa's Atlantic coast that has been disputed by Morocco and independence fighters from the Polisario Front for decades. Her father Moulay abandoned everything and fled...
(AFP (eng) 11/04/17)
An unexpected gust of cool air greets visitors to the new archives centre in Tiznit in the mountains of southern Morocco, even without air-conditioning despite extreme heat outside its walls. That is thanks to the ancestral building methods used by Salima Naji, a French-educated Moroccan architect who specialises in construction that blends in with the environment and local traditions. Rather than concrete, she used adobe and mudbrick, and built in high air vents for circulation. "First I look at what's...
(AFP (eng) 11/03/17)
One man was shot dead and two others were hurt in a tourist area of Marrakesh, authorities in Morocco said, adding that it appeared to be a local settling of scores. Two attackers wearing balaclavas shot the victim at a cafe in the town, a popular destination for foreign visitors. The man, who was hit in the head, died instantly. The two assailants also injured two other people in a hail of bullets before they fled on a motorbike, local authorities said. Initial investigations indicate that the dead man was specifically targeted, authorities said. Morocco's head of government said on Twitter that two people had already been arrested.
(AFP (eng) 10/31/17)
The once teeming Jewish area of Moroccan tourist gem Marrakesh is seeing its fortunes revived as visitors including many from Israel flock to experience its unique culture and history. "You're now entering the last synagogue in the mellah," the walled Jewish quarter in the heart of the ochre city, Isaac Ohayon says as he enthusiastically guides tourists in the courtyard of the Lazama synagogue. "Many visitors come from Israel -- you wouldn't believe the demand!" adds the jovial 63-year-old hardware...
(Xinhuanet 10/31/17)
A regional meeting on migration opened in the Moroccan city of Skhirat with the aim to elaborate an African agenda on the issue. The three-day meeting brings together representatives of African states, the United Nations, the African Union, NGOs and academics. Speaking during the opening of the meeting, Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita said the informal session aims to open a deep dialogue between the politician, the experts and the civil society. Since March, Morocco's king Mohammed VI...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Elephant poaching in Africa declined for a fifth straight year in 2016 but seizures of illegal ivory hit records highs, the CITES monitor said Tuesday, calling it a "conflicting phenomena". In its latest report, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species also noted that despite the overall fall in poaching, Africa's elephant population has continued to drop "due to continued illegal killing, land transformation and rapid human expansion." Global illegal ivory trade has remained relatively stable for six years,...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/23/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - African political leaders, activists, and local chiefs joined forces on Monday to commit to ending child marriage in West and Central Africa, the region with the highest child marriage rate in the world. More than a third of girls in the region are married under the age of 18, with the rate over 50 percent in six countries and up to 76 percent in Niger. Driven by factors including poverty, insecurity and religious tradition, marrying...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
The killing of four American special operations soldiers in Niger has highlighted the increasing role elite units are playing across Africa, which is rapidly becoming a major center of US military action. Their mission is to counter the advances of a slew of jihadist movements across the continent, including Al-Shabaab in Somalia, affiliates of the Islamic State group in the Sahel region and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Of the 8,000 special forces "operators" deployed globally this year, more than 1,300...

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