Wednesday 18 April 2018
(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...
(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 seeking a winner." Abraw came as close as anyone to breaking the deadlock at King Zwelithini Stadium in Indian Ocean port city Durban with a glancing header that finished just off target. The Togolese previously played for Free State Stars...
(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 decided to enter the game." The female-focused demonstration follows similar protests in West Africa, notably the Women of Liberia movement which started in Monrovia in 2003 during the country's civil war. Setting off from three different meeting points, the women...
(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)
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) 01/15/18)
Thousands of people took to the streets in Togo on Saturday in the first anti-government protests of the year, as supporters of President Faure Gnassingbe staged counter-demonstrations. A coalition of 14 political parties has staged almost weekly demonstrations since August last year, calling for Gnassingbe to step down and the introduction of a two-term limit for presidents. Gnassingbe has been in power since 2005 when he took over from his father, General Gnassingbe Eyadema, who himself ruled Togo for 38 years. There was a strong police presence in Lome on Saturday, according to an AFP reporter at the scene. But unlike previous demonstrations, where opposition supporters clashed with the security services, it passed off without incident. The veteran opposition leader...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
Opposition parties in Togo this weekend hold their first anti-government protest of the year, with progress on constitutional reform in an apparent stalemate after months of action. Thousands of supporters from a coalition of 14 parties are expected to turn out on Saturday, to renew calls for President Faure Gnassingbe to step down. A second protest exclusively for women has been organised for January 20. The parties want a change to the constitution to restrict presidents to a maximum of two, five-year terms of office, plus the introduction of a two-round voting system. Gnassingbe, who has been in power since 2005 and took over from his father who ruled the country for 38 years, has proposed the amendment. But it...
(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) 01/04/18)
Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe broke his silence after months of protests against his rule, calling on the opposition to "dialogue" in his New Year address given late Wednesday. "Dialogue must remain the preferred way of resolving disagreements between political actors," Gnassingbe said in an address on national television, reiterating his controversial plans to revise the constitution. It was the first time Gnassingbe has spoken directly to the public since the crisis began in September. "I have no doubt that even today we are able to explore all avenues of dialogue and exchange of ideas to overcome grievances," he said, without given a date for talks. Gnassingbe, who has ruled Togo since 2005 after succeeding his father who led the country...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 01/02/18)
Tens of thousands of demonstrators thronged the streets of the Togolese capital on Saturday, the latest in a series of mass protests against the rule of President Faure Gnassingbe. Anti-government marches have been held across the country nearly every week since August, attracting hundreds of thousands of protesters demanding the exit of Gnassingbe, who has ruled for more than 15 years. "We will never tire. This time we are going to see this fight, which started several months ago, through to the end," said a motorcycle taxi driver who joined the marches in Lome on Saturday.
(AFP (eng) 12/18/17)
Protesters again took to the streets of Togo's capital Lome on Saturday to demonstrate against the rule of President Faure Gnassingbe, who was in Nigeria chairing a summit of West African leaders. Anti-government marches have been held across the country nearly every week since August, attracting hundreds of thousands of protesters demanding the exit of Gnassingbe, who has ruled for more than 15 years. Gnassingbe was in Abuja chairing a summit for the leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as he currently holds the regional bloc's rotating presidency. The bloc issued a statement expressing "its concern at the persistent political tension in the Togolese republic".
(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 Charles de Gaulle airport with his wife and four children after spending four years at a camp in Chad, telling AFP: "Now we've no other family. Now you are our family." The new refugees -- also hailing from Sudan --...
(AFP (eng) 12/15/17)
Togo's opposition on Thursday called on regional leaders to pressure the country's government to accept the reality of political change, as its supporters again protested against President Faure Gnassingbe. A coalition of 14 parties, which has led almost weekly demonstrations since August, appealed to heads of state and government attending Saturday's ECOWAS summit in Abuja to put pressure on the regime. Gnassingbe, who currently holds the rotating presidency of the Economic Community of West African States, has led Togo since 2005 after the death of his father, General Gnassingbe Eyadema. The general himself was in charge for 38 years.
(AFP (eng) 12/13/17)
Togo's main opposition coalition, which has led protests against President Faure Gnassingbe for more than three months, on Tuesday boycotted government consultations for talks on ending the political impasse. The international community has called for talks between the two sides to end the stalemate over constitutional reform to introduce a maximum two-term limit for presidents. But only five out of the 14 parties comprising the main opposition bloc were invited to preliminary discussions, scheduled to take place behind closed doors at the presidency in the capital, Lome. Opposition coalition spokeswoman Brigitte Adjamagbo-Johnson said the alliance refused to attend the meeting in the face of the government's...
(AFP (eng) 12/11/17)
Up to 6,000 Africans who fought for the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in Iraq and Syria could return home, the African Union's top security official warned Sunday, calling on countries to prepare for the threat. Smail Chergui, the AU's commissioner for peace and security, said African nations would need to work closely with each other and share intelligence to counter returning militants. "There are reports of 6,000 African fighters among the 30,000 foreign elements who joined this terrorist group in the Middle East," Chergui told a meeting in Algiers, according to the Algeria Press Service news agency. "The return of these elements to Africa poses a serious threat to our national security and stability and requires specific treatment and...

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