Wednesday 21 February 2018
(AFP (eng) 02/20/18)
Nearly half of the opposition supporters arrested during a wave of anti-government demonstrations in Togo will be pardoned, Ghanaian mediators have said as talks to end a six-month political crisis got under way in Lome. Togo's President Faure Gnassingbe "has decided to give a presidential pardon to 45 of the 92 people detained ... following their participation in protests," said Ghanaian delegation spokesman Daniel Osei late on Monday. "Togo's courts will look at the situations of the other detainees on a case-by-case basis," he added in a statement. A coalition of 14 opposition parties had made the release of those arrested during the protests a condition of its participation in talks with the government. Negotiations...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
Long-awaited talks between Togo's government and the opposition began on Monday to try to end a six-month political stand-off that has seen thousands take to the streets in almost weekly protests against the ruling party. President Faure Gnassingbe, who has been in power since 2005, has faced calls to quit and instigate constitutional reform since last August. But after a stalemate, the two sides agreed to meet in talks brokered by Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo and Guinea's Alpha Conde. "The peace, the freedom and the stability of the Togolese people is something which is just not negotiable," said Akufo-Addo at the start of the discussions in the capital, Lome. "I've come here with no solution, prescription or magic wand to...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
After six months of political crisis, a dialogue between Togo's government and the opposition opening on Monday is seen by many as the last chance to resolve a bitter dispute over the rule of embattled President Faure Gnassingbe. But the talks have raised a welter of emotions in this tiny west African country, ranging from hope to incredulity. "It's a 'last chance' dialogue. It is in the interests of both the opposition and the government to do everything to put...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
About 224 million people are suffering from malnutrition across Africa as climate change and conflicts heighten food insecurity across the continent, a top UN food agency official said Monday. The official, speaking at a conference on Africa organised by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said the situation was a "cause of concern" as the continent's population was expected to reach 1.7 billion by 2030. "Under-nourishment appears to have increased from about 21 percent to nearly 23 percent between...
(AFP (eng) 02/16/18)
Rights groups on Thursday raised the alarm over Togo's "campaign of intimidation" against activists responsible for encouraging people to join a months-long protest against the rule of embattled President Faure Gnassingbe. "The Togolese authorities must stop harassing pro-democracy activists and human rights defenders in relation to the widespread protests that have been taking place across the country," said Amnesty International, Front Line Defenders and Africans Rising in a joint statement. "The human rights situation in the country has been deteriorating...
(AFP (eng) 02/08/18)
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday warned about the dangers of political unrest as he met the new envoy from Togo, where there has been a wave of anti-government protests. Buhari did not specifically mention Togo as he received the newly appointed ambassador, Lene Dimban, at the presidential villa in the capital, Abuja. But according to his office, the president said "peaceful transitions" in Africa were now non-negotiable, because political crises had a drastic effect on the economy and people. The West African bloc ECOWAS was working "to prevent political transitions from snowballing into crisis so that citizens in the region can focus their energies and resources rather than trying to survive political upheavals"...
(AFP (eng) 02/08/18)
The African Union's chairman dismissed during a visit to Beijing on Thursday a French newspaper report alleging that China had spied on the continental body as "lies" intended to derail cooperation. The report published by Le Monde in January claimed technicians at the AU's Chinese-built headquarters in the Ethiopian capital discovered last year that the contents of their computers had been regularly copied to servers in Shanghai since 2012, citing unnamed AU sources. "I don't see it is in the...
(AFP (eng) 02/05/18)
Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Togo's capital Lome on Saturday, against President Faure Gnassingbe and his government. The protest came the day after mediators from Ghana and Guinea said that Togo will enter talks on controversial constitutional reform February 15, in a move aimed at ending a crippling political stalemate. A rolling series of demonstrations against President Gnassingbe have been unfolding for several months, and the country has been rocked by striking teachers and health workers. The opposition parties want to restrict presidents to a maximum of two, five-year terms of office, and introduce a two-round voting system. Gnassingbe has been in power since 2005.
(AFP (eng) 02/05/18)
Israel began warning thousands of African migrants Sunday that they must leave by the end of March, officials said, under a plan that could see them jailed if they refuse. On January 3, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced implementation of a plan to deport about 38,000 migrants who had entered the country illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese. The controversial plan gives them until the end of next month to leave voluntarily or face jail and eventual expulsion. Immigration authority spokeswoman...
(AFP (eng) 02/03/18)
Mediators announced Friday that Togo will enter talks on controversial constitutional reform February 15, in a move aimed at ending a crippling political stalemate. However, opposition supporters said they would push ahead with a protest march, scheduled for Saturday. A rolling series of demonstrations against President Faure Gnassingbe has been unfolding for several months, and the country has been rocked by striking teachers and health workers. West African leaders in November called for both sides in Togo to enter talks mediated by President Nana Akufo-Addo, from neighbouring Ghana, and Guinea's Alpha Conde. The opposition coalition demanded "measures for de-escalation", including the release...
(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...
(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,...
(AFP (eng) 01/31/18)
Togo's government was facing fresh turbulence on Wednesday as healthcare workers went on strike, joining thousands of demonstrators holding opposition protests on the streets. The two-day nationwide strike was called by the National Union of Hospital Practitioners of Togo (SYNPHOT) who are demanding better equipment and more nursing staff. "The strike is well-followed throughout the country. We will take stock tomorrow evening to know what to do in the coming days," SYNPHOT secretary-general Atchi Walla told AFP. At Sylvanus Olympio...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 01/25/18)
AmaZulu coach Cavin Johnson hailed Togo striker Camaldine Abraw Wednesday although he failed to score on his debut in a 0-0 South African Premiership draw with Bloemfontein Celtic. "He displayed aggression and composure and combined well with his team-mates," was the verdict of Johnson after the 27-year-old west African played the full 90 minutes. "Originally, we planned to take Camaldine off after an hour given it was his first match, but he was still going strong at the end and...
(AFP (eng) 01/22/18)
Thousands of women took to the streets of Togo's capital Lome on Saturday to protest against the power of President Faure Gnassingbe. Since September, a coalition of 14 political parties has held almost weekly marches, where thousands have called for Gnassingbe to step down to end the more than 50-year rule of one family. Opposition leader Jean-Pierre Fabre said during the march it was a "great initiative", adding: "Faced with the refusal of the power to move forward, women have...
(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...
(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...

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