Sunday 22 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 02/03/18)
Megastar Rihanna vowed she would "never stop fighting" to get millions of children back in school on Friday as French President Emmanuel Macron promised a major boost in foreign aid for education in developing nations. Macron co-hosted a conference in Dakar organised by the Global Partnership for Education with Senegalese President Macky Sall, while Rihanna attended as the organisation's global ambassador. "We have made tremendous progress today but of course our work is never done, we have a long way to go, and this is a fight we are never going to stop fighting, until every boy and every girl has access to education," she told the crowd. At ease with the African heads of state gathered onstage, Rihanna put...
(AFP (eng) 02/02/18)
A controversial former minister who coordinates armed groups in conflict-hit Central African Republic was on Friday elected to the governing board of Africa's top footballing body. Patrice Edouard Ngaissona, who is Central Africa's football chief, was elected following a vote in Casablanca among delegates at the Confederation of African Football's general assembly. He was elected to the board seat representing eight central African nations, winning by 30 votes compared to his Gabonese rival, who got 23. Ngaissona is responsible for coordinating the so-called anti-balaka militias which emerged after civil war broke out in 2013 with the purported aim of defending Christian communities from mostly Muslim rebels. Since then, thousands of people have been killed in deadly clashes between the rival...
(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) 02/01/18)
The pot-holed streets of Bangui's Muslim quarter are lined with stalls plying their trade to a cacophony of honking horns and cars backfiring -- a comforting image of bustling life in Central African Republic's capital. But beneath this veneer of normalcy, many traders in the flashpoint district of PK5 are on edge. Last month, they agreed as one to stop paying protection money demanded by the numerous "self-defence" militias set up to protect the city's Muslim minority. Their defiance prompted an angry response from a militia chief known as "Force." He gave them a week to get in line. That deadline expired on January 25. Now the shopkeepers wait nervously for what happens next. "We're going to put an end...
(AFP (eng) 01/31/18)
The UN Security Council on Tuesday maintained an arms embargo on the Central African Republic and added incitement to hatred as well as attacks on aid workers as criteria for sanctions. The council unanimously adopted a French-drafted resolution that would pave the way to targeted sanctions against those fomenting anti-Muslim or anti-Christian violence in the strife-torn country. Resurgent armed groups in the Central African Republic (CAR) have resorted to hate speech to stoke tensions, prompting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to warn of a risk of ethnic cleansing. The council condemned incitement to violence on an ethnic or religious basis and decided that any individual or entity that commits such acts or supports...
(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) 01/27/18)
The United Nations is in talks with countries that contribute peacekeepers to its mission in the Central African Republic after an investigation found their response to attacks last year fell short, a UN spokesman said Friday. A special investigation led by a retired general from Benin found "deficiencies" in peacekeeping operations in the southeast of the country from May to August 2017 and presented recommendations, the UN said. UN peacekeeping officials are in to talks with the troop- and police-contributing countries "to ensure that these measures are implemented," said UN spokesman Farhan Haq.
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
An internal inquiry for the United Nations recommends tactical changes to the UN mission in the Central African Republic to protect civilians, according to findings made available Friday to AFP. "(The mission) MINUSCA should overhaul its strategy to protect civilians to ensure that its operational response is better adapted," said a statement by the independent panel set up by the UN department for peacekeeping operations. MINUSCA troops and civilian staff, totalling some 14,000 in December, were first deployed in 2014 as clashes between ex-rebels and vigilante militias took on a religious dimension and both Muslim and Christian communities became targets. International UN forces have been unable to halt the killings in a deeply poor country where armed groups contest the...
(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) 01/17/18)
"We first heard gunshots. Then we saw the horses arrive, each carrying two or three men, armed with Kalashnikovs, rifles, bows and arrows," Charles Tombe says. "They shot at everyone -- we fled into the bush. There are corpses over there, rotting." Tombe, 52, ran a small medical centre, which he said was burned down along with all the other houses after the village of Bekoro Misso was looted. He is one of numerous eyewitnesses AFP interviewed about militia violence that has erupted in northwest Central African Republic, sapping hopes of stabilising a dirt-poor, fragile state. Tombe and thousands of others have sought refuge in the small dusty town of Paoua. Many survivors recount nightmarish stories of gunfire and machete...
(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...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/16/18)
PARIS (Reuters) - French magistrates have dismissed a case brought against a group of French soldiers accused of sexually abusing children while on deployment in the Central African Republic in 2013-2014, a judicial source said on Monday. Paris prosecutors called last year for the case to be dismissed because some of the testimony was deemed inconsistent and some elements could not be confirmed, even if they could not exclude that abuses took place. The decision was met with frustration in Central African Republic’s capital, Bangui, where repeated allegations of sexual misconduct have helped fuel anger towards French and U.N. troops deployed there. “Our government must do its job and judge these acts here, because they were committed on Central African...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
French investigating magistrates have closed a probe into allegations that French soldiers raped children in the Central African Republic while on a peacekeeping mission, judicial sources told AFP on Monday. The magistrates said there was no evidence that members of Operation Sangaris, deployed to keep warring militias apart, had abused children at a camp for people displaced by the fighting in 2013 and 2014, the sources said. The state prosecutor had last year called for the case to be closed. While admitting "it is not certain that no sexual abuse took place", the prosecutor said that "differences" in the testimonies of the children who came forward made it impossible to establish guilt among the troops. No one was ever charged...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Catholic bishops in the Central African Republic have appealed to armed groups controlling swathes of the chronically unstable country to stop looting and lay down their arms. Mired in poverty but rich in minerals, the former French colony has been battered by a conflict between rival militias that began in 2013 after then president Francois Bozize was overthrown. The bishops made the appeal during an episcopal conference in the capital Bangui on Sunday. "In the name of God, we ask the armed groups to unconditionally lay down their arms," and "stop all sorts of crimes (including) looting natural resources and causing the dysfunction of the state", they said during mass. The closing ceremony of the conference was attended by President...
(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) 01/03/18)
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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