Wednesday 25 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 02/02/18)
Rihanna on Thursday used her star power to urge key governments to commit to ensuring education for the world's poorest as she takes part in an international conference in Senegal. The chart-topping singer arrived in the capital Dakar where she on Friday will join the Global Partnership for Education talks co-hosted by Senegalese President Macky Sall and French leader Emmanuel Macron. Rihanna, the fourth most followed person on Twitter with 86 million followers, took to social media to urge Macron, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to ensure specific funding levels. In her tweet to Macron, Rihanna -- who met with him in Paris in July -- thanked the French leader for leading the conference...
(AFP (eng) 01/30/18)
Senegalese police fired tear gas as angry protesters went on the rampage in the north of the country on Monday after a fisherman was killed by coastguards in Mauritanian waters. Hundreds joined the protest in the northwest coastal city of Saint-Louis, following the death of the young Senegalese fisherman late Saturday. The protesters pillaged shops owned by Mauritanians and overturned cars, setting them ablaze, before police moved in with tear gas to disperse them. At least three police officers were injured as the demonstrators hurled projectiles while chanting slogans calling for local fishermen to be given licences to fish in Mauritanian waters. On Saturday night the Mauritanian coastguard opened fire on a boat with nine Senegalese fishermen aboard which was...
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
The International Monetary Fund is holding a two-day regional conference from Monday in Morocco with a message of reform amid growing "frustration" among the population of some Arab states. "Rising social tensions and protests in several countries across the Middle East and North Africa are a clear indication that the aspirations of the people of the region, for opportunity, prosperity and equity, remain unfulfilled," said Jihad Azour, director of the IMF's Middle East and Central Asia department. "Reforms are the key to address the fundamental problems that have plagued so many countries of the region for so long: low growth, high unemployment and corruption," he wrote in an analysis ahead of the conference in Marrakesh. Unemployment in the Middle East...
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
President Donald Trump said the United States "deeply respects" Africans and will dispatch its top diplomat to the continent, in a letter to African leaders seen by AFP on Sunday. The letter sent last week comes after Trump provoked a firestorm of indignation among African nations earlier in January when he reportedly called them "shithole countries" during a meeting with lawmakers in Washington. While Trump has denied the remarks, they are expected to be formally condemned by the 55 member states of the African Union during their ongoing summit in the Ethiopian capital. "I want to underscore that the United States deeply respects the people of Africa, and my commitment to strong and respectful relationships...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
US President Donald Trump on Friday asked the African Union chairman to pass on his "warmest regards" to other regional leaders at a summit this weekend, after sparking outrage with a reported slur against Africans. Trump met Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where some African business leaders say they are planning to boycott Trump's closing speech later Friday. The outspoken US leader congratulated Kagame on taking over as chair of the 55-nation African bloc, which Trump said was a "great honour". "I know you're going to your first meeting shortly. Please give my warmest regards," Trump told Kagame after they held a one-on-one meeting at the forum.
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
The oldest remains of a modern human outside Africa have been dug up in Israel, offering evidence of what genetic studies have already suggested -- that humans migrated out of Africa some 50,000 years earlier than previously thought. Facial fragments, including a jawbone and several teeth, were found at a site called Misliya Cave in Israel, one of several prehistoric cave sites located on Mount Carmel. The bones date to between 174,000 and 188,000 years old, said the report in Thursday's edition of the US journal Science. Until now, the earliest modern human fossils found outside of Africa were estimated to be between 90,000 to 120,000 years old. "Misliya is an exciting discovery," said co-author Rolf Quam, an anthropology professor...
(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 are all human, we have...
(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 to send an initial 120 troops with 350 more to follow as Rome looks to stem migration and people-trafficking of African migrants. European powers are desperate to stem the flow of African migrants crossing the Mediterranean and are spooked by...
(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" were available in kiosks in the capital, an AFP journalist said. A source at the finance ministry said the government had intervened to help fund new print runs and pay the salaries in arrears of national printing press workers. "It's...
(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 the many mainly illiterate vendors who hawk everything from painkillers and antibiotics to anti-malaria and anti-retroviral treatments. "When we are harassed we always come to an arrangement with them to resume our activities," she said. Fatima, another hawker, said: "Many...
(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 Sudan Sunday at the same venue. Morocco started with three of 2017 CAF Champions League-winning Wydad Casablanca team, but only brought on star attackers Achraf Bencharki and Walid el Karti in the closing stages. Bencharki completed the rout with a...
(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 assessment of the security risk for the Adrar, a tiny number of French visitors are now returning, stirring hopes for the blighted local economy. "I missed the Sahara. The colours of the dunes, the wind on the sand, the starry...
(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 into the country, and restrict the green card visa lottery in exchange for shielding hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation. "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" Trump said, according to people briefed...
(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 total funding over the 250 million euros ($298 million) needed to get the force up and running following a maiden mission in the volatile border zone between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger in November. A summit of donor nations is...
(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 do so. After the deadline, this amount will decrease and those who continue to refuse to go will face arrest. Holot, an open facility in Israel's desert south that can host 1,200 migrants who are allowed to leave to work...

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