Friday 26 May 2017
(AFP (eng) 05/24/17)
Ten people have died and six are in a serious condition in hospital after drinking methylated spirits in central Morocco, the official MAP news agency reported on Tuesday. It said some of those affected were homeless but all were from the town of El Hajeb. Some were evacuated to hospitals in the neighbouring cities of Fez and Meknes. An earlier toll announced by the local authorities on Monday said five people had died "after drinking meths", MAP said. It added that the alleged supplier of the methylated spirits had been placed in custody as the investigation got under way.
(Reuters (Eng) 05/24/17)
When U.S. President Donald Trump and other leaders of the world's seven major industrialized nations gather in Sicily on Friday, they will enjoy a spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea, but won't get any glimpse of boats full of migrants. A common sight off Sicily in recent years, the authorities have banned all migrant landings on the island during the Group of Seven Summit for security reasons, telling rescue vessels that pick them up at sea to take them to the mainland during the two-day meeting. Out of sight does not mean out of mind. Italy chose to host the summit in Taormina, on the cliffs of eastern Sicily, to concentrate minds on Europe's migrant crisis and to seek ways...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/23/17)
Fossils from Greece and Bulgaria of an ape-like creature that lived 7.2 million years ago may fundamentally alter the understanding of human origins, casting doubt on the view that the evolutionary lineage that led to people arose in Africa. Scientists said on Monday the creature, known as Graecopithecus freybergi and known only from a lower jawbone and an isolated tooth, may be the oldest-known member of the human lineage that began after an evolutionary split from the line that led...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/20/17)
France will step up the fight against resurgent Islamist militants in north and west Africa and will work more closely with Germany to help the tinderbox region, President Emmanuel Macron said on his first trip outside Europe on Friday. Visiting Mali days after taking office, Macron vowed to keep French troops in the Sahel region until there was "no more Islamist terrorism" there. He said operations would be escalated in response to signs that militant groups were regrouping and uniting...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/17/17)
Gay and lesbian Africans who fled abuse in their home countries face a "culture of disbelief" which makes their experience of seeking asylum in Britain traumatic, a Nigerian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender rights (LGBT) campaigner said. Aderonke Apata, 50, who fled persecution in Nigeria, said the practice of assessing Africans' sexual orientation claims based on Western standards was problematic. "They expect an LGBT person to have used sex toys, to go to gay clubs," Apata, an asylum seeker who founded...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/13/17)
Tackling climate change in Africa could help resolve multiple problems ravaging the continent, from drought to refugees and violence, the head of the African Union said on Friday. The mix of global warming with economic woes and political conflicts keeps peace from taking hold, said Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Union's new chairman, at Chatham House, an international think tank. "There is a link between climate change and prosperity, as well as peace, on the continent," Mahamat said in French with...
(AFP (eng) 05/11/17)
A Moroccan court has sentenced a young Ferrari driver to two years in jail after he triggered a scandal by posting footage of himself apparently drunk at the wheel, local media said Wednesday. The 20-year-old caused a scandal in the North African country when footage of him apparently inebriated and insulting police officers in the capital Rabat went viral. First he is seen at a nightclub holding a bottle of champagne, and later at the wheel of his Italian sports car, still with the bottle, showing signs of intoxication. He then appears in front of his crashed car, mocking police officers, and finally sitting proudly
(Xinhuanet 05/11/17)
Morocco's police have arrested six people with suspected links to the Islamic State group, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. According to the statement, the suspects were plotting attacks in "strategic" sites in the kingdom. The preliminary investigations revealed that some of the arrested had contact with IS fighter in Syria and Iraq and had been learning how to manufacture explosives to carry out their terrorist plans, it added. The arrested people will be brought before court...
(Fox News 05/10/17)
After five years of no major attacks on merchant vessels, piracy around the Horn of Africa seemed to be on hiatus. Acts of piracy in those treacherous waters have fallen sharply since 2012, according to statistics released by the United States Navy. The Navy credits aggressive patrolling by international forces and increased vigilance by the commercial shipping industry for the decrease. However, in the past month, Somali pirates have intercepted five ships, raising concerns that piracy has returned to the...
(AFP (eng) 05/09/17)
About 100 African migrants stormed over a high double fence between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla on Tuesday in a violent assault that left three police officers injured, officials said. Around 300 sub-Saharan African migrants attempted to force their way across the fence at about 7am (0500 GMT) in a coordinated operation, a Spanish police spokesman said. "Around 100 managed to enter Melilla," he told AFP. The barrier is composed of two six-metre-high (20-feet-high) fences, with criss-crossing steel...
(AFP (eng) 05/09/17)
Algeria and Morocco were the top winners on the opening day of the Islamic Solidarity Games football tournament in Baku on Monday. Four days prior to the official opening ceremony of the May 12-22 games, Algeria struck late to edge Turkey 2-1, while Morocco were too good for Saudi Arabia, winning 1-0. In other games, Palestine and Oman played out an entertaining 2-2 draw, while hosts Azerbaijan had to settle late on for a 0-0 draw against Cameroon. It took...
(AFP (eng) 05/08/17)
The authorities in Morocco and Spain have dismantled a "terrorist cell" of three Islamic State group supporters, the interior ministry in Rabat said on Monday. It said one of the jihadist suspects was arrested in the northern Moroccan port of Tangier, and the other two were detained in Spain. The ministry said the three-man cell had been in "close contact" with IS in Iraq and Syria and was recruiting volunteers to join the jihadist ranks. Both Morocco and Spain have...
(AFP (eng) 05/06/17)
A former radical preacher is the unlikely instigator of a debate on a topic long seen as off-limits in Muslim-majority Morocco: women's inheritance rights. The country's Islamic family laws allocate female heirs half the amount men receive on the death of a relative. Abdelwahab Rafiki, a former hardline cleric who served time in jail following jihadist bombings in Casablanca, says it is time that changed. "I invite... religious scholars, sociologists and human rights actors to open a dialogue, primarily in...
(AFP (eng) 05/05/17)
In Morocco's neglected Rif region, where outrage erupted last year over the gruesome death of a fishmonger, calls for justice have evolved into a grassroots movement demanding jobs and hospitals. Mouhcine Fikri, 31, was crushed in a rubbish truck in October in the northern city of Al-Hoceima as he tried to protest against the seizure and destruction of swordfish, which were not allowed to be caught at that time of year. His death in the Rif -- an ethnically Berber...
(AFP (eng) 05/03/17)
"If nothing is done, this species will disappear within 10 years," warns a poster on Ahmed Harrad's ageing 4x4 showing Morocco's famed Barbary macaque monkey. Harrad spends his time crisscrossing northern Morocco to try to convince locals to protect the endangered monkey. The only species of macaque outside Asia, which lives on leaves and fruits and can weigh up to 20 kilogrammes (45 pounds), was once found throughout North Africa and parts of Europe. But having disappeared from Libya and...
(Voice of America 05/03/17)
African military expenditures have finally slowed down after more than a decade of steady increases, according to a new report on global defense spending. The main reason, the report found, is a drop in oil prices. “The sharp decreases in oil prices has affected quite a number of African countries, namely South Sudan and Angola. This has kind of driven almost the entire regional trend,” said Nan Tian, a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) Arms and...
(AFP (eng) 04/30/17)
Moroccans who secretly converted to Christianity are demanding the right to practise their faith openly in a country where Islam is the state religion and "apostasy" is condemned. At an apartment in a working-class part of the southern town of Agadir, Mustapha listened to hymns emanating from a hi-fi under a silver crucifix hung on the wall. The 46-year-old civil servant, son of an expert on Islamic law from nearby Taroudant, was once an active member of the banned but tolerated Islamist Charity and Justice movement. He said he converted in 1994 to "fill a spiritual void". "I was tired of the contradictions in Islam," said Mustapha. "
(Voice of America 04/28/17)
A low-cost and widely available drug could save the lives of 1 in 3 mothers who would otherwise bleed to death after childbirth, according to a new study. Severe bleeding, known as postpartum hemorrhage, or PPH, is the leading cause of maternal death worldwide, killing more than 100,000 women every year. Even for mothers who survive, it is a painful and traumatic experience. The world's poorest countries, especially in Africa and India, are the worst hit. Drug from 1960s But...
(AFP (eng) 04/27/17)
A Moroccan court has sentenced seven people to between five and eight months in prison over the death of a fish seller crushed in a rubbish truck. Mouhcine Fikri, 31, was killed on October 28 as he protested against the authorities' seizure and destruction of his swordfish, which had been caught out of season. His death in the northern port of Al-Hoceima sparked nationwide protests. The Criminal Chamber of Al-Hoceima handed down the sentences Wednesday after a manslaughter trial of 11 people including officials from the fisheries authority and the interior ministry along with employees of the cleaning company, the local prosecutor said. In a statement carried by the official MAP news agency
(AFP (eng) 04/27/17)
A group of around 50 Syrian migrants have been stranded since last week in the Moroccan-Algerian border zone with neither country granting them access, activists said Wednesday. "Separated into two groups, they are surviving under very difficult conditions thanks to help from some activists and the local community," Moulay M'hamed Ammari told AFP. Ammari said the volunteers were providing some food and blankets "but this is not enough". A woman in the group gave birth on Sunday in the rugged terrain with the sole assistance of activists on the telephone. Morocco last Friday accused Algeria of expelling 55 Syrians across the frontier near

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