Tuesday 23 January 2018
(Reuters (Eng) 01/22/18)
KLEINARL, Austria (Reuters) - The chilly conditions on an Austrian mountainside belied the warm reception given to people from 15 African countries who took part in an annual luge race aimed at helping migrants integrate into European society. The event over the weekend, dubbed the African Winter Sports Cup, is a luge race contested by people with little or no experience of winter sports. Its aim, over the six years it has been held, is to promote social integration through sport, organizers said. The countries represented included Nigeria, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan. Some of the people taking part had come to Europe as asylum seekers while others were born on the continent. “We...
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
US Ambassador Nikki Haley expressed regret on Thursday to African ambassadors who were outraged by President Donald Trump's alleged description of African countries as "shithole" nations, the head of the African Group said. Haley asked to meet the African ambassadors at the United Nations after they released a joint statement on Friday demanding an apology from Trump for his "outrageous, racist and xenophobic remarks." Ambassador Anatolio Ndong Mba of Equatorial Guinea, who chairs the Africa Group, said the US ambassador did not offer an apology during the closed-door meeting, but she did express regret. Haley told the meeting that "she was not there at the White House, she is not sure what was said, but she regretted all this situation...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Britain is set to send helicopters to bolster a key French counter-terrorism operation in Mali in a package of measures to be agreed at a summit near London on Thursday. The commitment will come as Prime Minister Theresa May meets French President Emmanuel Macron at an army base near the British capital, with immigration and global aid also on their agenda. In a separate move, Italy's parliament on Wednesday also approved a ramped up military presence in Niger by agreeing...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Privately-owned newspapers went back on sale in Mauritania on Wednesday for the first time in more than a month, after a paper shortage forced them off the shelves and prompted complaints from the national press union. A government-funded printing press covers two-thirds of private publications' costs in the French and Arabic-speaking West African nation, while such media are barred from publishing advertisements from public bodies to raise their own money. On Wednesday, "The Nouakchott Daily" and the weekly Arabic-language "Al-Akhbar"...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
There's nothing covert about Roxy -- a huge market in Abidjan selling counterfeit medicine, the scourge of Africa and the cause of around 100,000 deaths annually on the world's poorest continent. Located in the bustling Adjame quarter of Ivory Coast's main city and commercial hub, the haven for fake medicine has been targeted time and again by authorities and stockpiles burnt. But it resurfaces every time. "The police hassle us but they themselves buy these medicines," said Mariam, one of...
(AFP (eng) 01/16/18)
Five Sahel countries - Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso -- on Monday launched their second anti-Jihadist operation in the troubled region, after talks in Paris with their partner France. After the discussions between the defence ministers of the so-called G5 Sahel and their French counterpart no details were released about the new operation due to "security reasons". "We are moving forward... the joint force is gaining momentum... the first operation has taken place, the second one is starting today," Malian Defence Minister Tiena Coulibaly told a press conference, alongside his G5 counterparts and French Defence...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Defence ministers from five countries in the Sahel were meeting Monday with French counterpart Florence Parly in the latest push for a pooled force fighting jihadism in the fragile region. The brief meeting, in which senior military officers were to take part, aims at setting down a concrete timetable for deploying the so-called "G5 Sahel" force, which carried out its maiden mission in November with French support. The unprecedented initative brings together Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, which aim to create a fully fledged force of 5,000 troops by mid-2018.
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Hosts and title favourites Morocco ran riot in the second half to defeat neighbours Mauritania 4-0 Saturday in the opening match of the 2018 African Nations Championship. Ayoub el Kaabi broke brave resistance from the Mauritanians on 66 minutes and Ismail el Haddad added a second goal six minutes later at Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca. El Kaabi bagged a brace 10 minutes from time before being substituted as Morocco made an impressive start in Group A, where Guinea tackle...
(AFP (eng) 01/13/18)
A jihadist group linked to Islamic State has claimed responsibility for attacks on US and French troops in west Africa, in a statement published Friday by Mauritania's ANI news agency. The group, led by Adnan Abu Walid Sahraoui, said it was behind "an attack against an American commando unit in Niger in October." On October 4, four US and four Niger troops were killed in an ambush at Tongo Tongo, a village close to the Mali border. That attack had been blamed on the jihadists but it is only now that the group claimed responsibility.
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
Sitting by a tent in the vast, sun-bleached Mauritanian desert, 71-year-old Elisabeth Godin smiles, unconcerned about her safety despite warnings from her friends and family. For most of the last decade, the spectacular dunes, barren canyons and oases of the Adrar region have been a no-go zone for European nationals. The danger of terrorist attacks and kidnappings is still real, reflected by Mauritania's decision to join four other countries in fighting jihadism in the Sahel. But after France eased its...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
The African Union said Friday that President Donald Trump's reported description of African nations as "shithole countries" broke with "accepted behaviour" and was "extremely upsetting." Ebba Kalondo, spokeswoman for AU Chairperson Moussa Faki, told AFP that Trump's statement "truly flies in the face of accepted behaviour and practice." "This is not only hurtful, I think, to people of African origin in the United States, but certainly to African citizens," she said. "It's an extremely upsetting statement," she added. The comment was reportedly made during a Thursday meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
President Donald Trump reportedly lashed out in a Thursday meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform, demanding to know why the US should accept citizens from what he called "shithole" countries. The comments, first reported by The Washington Post, sparked anger among Democrats and Republicans and revived questions about Trump's tendency to make racially charged remarks. Trump sat down with senators and congressmen at the White House to discuss a proposed bipartisan deal that would limit immigrants from bringing family members...
(AFP (eng) 01/09/18)
Five Sahel countries that have pledged to pool military efforts to fight terrorism have set up a fiduciary fund to oversee donations for their campaign. The decision was made by the defence and foreign ministers of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, Malian Foreign Minister Tieman Hubert Coulibaly said late Monday. Their countries form the so-called G5 Sahel, a French-supported group that last year launched a joint military force to combat jihadism plaguing the region. Pledges last month brought...
(AFP (eng) 01/03/18)
Israel on Wednesday began implementing a plan to force tens of thousands of African migrants out of the country by April, threatening to arrest those who stay. "This plan will get under way today," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting. Under the programme, some 38,000 migrants who entered Israel illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese, will have until the end of March to leave. Each will receive a plane ticket and $3,500 (2,900 euros) to...
(AFP (eng) 01/02/18)
Standing around market stalls in the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott, currency traders have twin causes for celebration -- the New Year and a surge in business. A revamp of the national currency is prompting many Mauritanians to haul out stashes of old banknotes, which they are rushing to convert into dollars and euros. The rise in demand follows a decision by the Mauritanian government to knock a zero off the currency, the ouguiya. On January 1, new polymer bills were introduced...
(AFP (eng) 01/02/18)
Small lines formed at banks in Mauritania on New Year's Day as customers withdrew new banknotes and swapped cheque books after the government revamped the currency, the ouguiya, in a bid to fight inflation. Ten ouguiyas became one ouguiya as of January 1, requiring new banknotes and a six-month phasing out of the old ones, starting with the largest denomination of 5,000 ouguiya ($14.10, 11.76 euros). President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz announced the change on November 28, the West African state's national holiday. The revamp, he said, would the ouguiya "to resume its place in financial transactions...
(AFP (eng) 12/26/17)
Mauritania's fast-growing Islamist party Tewassoul has elected a new leader expected to consolidate the direction of a party whose message of pious adherence to Sharia law has attracted more than 100,000 members. Tewassoul is Mauritania's largest opposition party with 16 members in the national assembly, earning support across the conservative West African republic, where Islamist parties were banned for many years. Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Seyidi, a theologist in his 60s, was selected late Sunday by 80 percent of delegates at a party conference to replace the charismatic Jemil Ould Mansour, who has driven the party's popularity since its creation in 2009. Tewassoul describe themselves as "moderate Islamists"...
(AFP (eng) 12/22/17)
Mauritania's press union complained on Friday that a paper shortage had deprived readers of any privately-run media for more than 10 days, while state-sponsored publications continued to print normally. A government-funded printing press covers two-thirds of private publications' costs in the French and Arabic-speaking West African nation, while such media are barred from publishing advertisements from public bodies to raise their own money. "Since December 11, the national printing press has suspended printing of independent Mauritanian newspapers due to a...
(AFP (eng) 12/22/17)
Five Mauritanian demonstrators were handed suspended prison sentences Thursday for their role in a protest last week in the capital, Nouakchott, a judicial source said. A separate source earlier said seven people -- five adults and two children -- appeared in court, but the prosecution dropped the case against the minors, AFP was told. The group of five were given three -month suspended jail terms over the march organised by the "G8", a coalition of parties, organisations and unions opposed to political changes in the country. The measures included a new national flag and anthem, approved in a controversial referendum in August.
(AFP (eng) 12/18/17)
France on Monday accepted a first group of 19 refugees who were identified in Africa under an overhauled asylum policy that will also see it expel thousands of economic migrants. While it has drawn little public outcry in France, the policy faces stiff opposition from the left and from charities that shelter migrants, 22 of which called in an open letter for France's rights ombudsman Jacques Toubon to intervene. Djamel, a refugee from the Central African Republic, arrived at Paris's...

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