Wednesday 28 June 2017
(Xinhuanet 06/06/17)
Delegates of an African conference in solidarity with Cuba on Monday called on the United States to lift its over 50-year economic blockade against Cuba. "We applaud the positive development in this respect and we commend the U.S. government and Cuba for their efforts towards normalizing of ties," said Namibian President Hage Geingob, officially opening the fifth Continental Africa Conference in Solidarity with Cuba here on Monday. "However, there is still much ground left to cover to ensure the complete lifting of the blockage against Cuba," said Geingob. According to Geingob, the conference will lead to the development of the common African strategy in terms of support to Cuba. The delegates also called for the return of the Guantanamo Bay,...
(AFP (eng) 06/03/17)
The brother of a shepherd whose beheading by jihadists outraged Tunisia has himself been found dead after being abducted, media reports and the defence minister's spokesman said on Saturday. Khalifa Soltani was kidnapped on Friday in the Mount Mghilla area, and a security sweep recovered his body after a "terrorist group" announced his abduction, Belhassen Oueslati told AFP. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility, according to the SITE Intelligence Group which monitors extremist organisations. It quoted the IS Amaq agency as saying the man killed on Friday was a "spy... who worked for the benefit of the Tunisian intelligence on Mount Mghilla".
(AFP (eng) 06/02/17)
Tunisian security forces on Saturday rescued 126 sub-Saharan migrants including seven pregnant women who had been trying to reach Europe from Libya, a Red Crescent official said. Fishermen had alerted the authorities to the presence of a vessel in distress off Ben Guerdane in southern Tunisia near the border with Libya, Dr Mongi Slim told AFP. Among the migrants were 48 women, seven of them pregnant, and three children. Those rescued were mainly from Nigeria, Mali and Gambia, and had set off from Libya, he added. They were taken to the Tunisian port of Zarzis to be given first aid before
(Xinhuanet 06/02/17)
Oil and gas productions in the fields of Tataouine, southwest of Tunisia and Kebili, southeast of Tunisia, have been completely interrupted due to protests in both provinces since two months ago, announced on Thursday night the Tunisian Ministry of Energy and Mines. "Having a direct negative impact on the national economy, these sit-ins lead to a halt in production, hence the worsening trade deficit due to a shortfall of 24 million dinars (9.88 million U.S. dollars) per week," said the Ministry in a press release. According to the release, the oil fields located in the two provinces provide 46 percent of the national oil production and 27 percent of gas production.
(Xinhuanet 06/02/17)
Fifty-four African Union member states will convene the 5th Continental Conference of Solidarity with Cuba in the Namibian capital from June 5-7, said an Naminian official on Thursday. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of International relations and Cooperation, Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, said the aim of hosting the conference in Namibia is to intensify solidarity and to strengthen bounds of friendship between the people of Cuba and the progressive peoples throughout the African Continent. Namibia's President Hage Geingob will open and address the conference, which will run under the theme, "Intensifying Solidarity and continuing the legacy of Fidel and Che". The conference, which will also be attended by a Cuban delegation, will also recognize the important work done in support of...
(AFP (eng) 06/01/17)
A court in northern Tunisia handed one-month jail terms Thursday to four men for eating in public during the Muslim dawn-to-dusk fasting month of Ramadan, a spokesman said. The four had been "eating and smoking in a public garden, a provocative act during Ramadan", which started last week, Chokri Lahmar, prosecution spokesman at the court in Bizerte, told AFP. He said the four men had 10 days to appeal against their one-month sentences before the terms take effect. Their sentencing, which followed complaints from other local residents, comes ahead of a call circulated on social media for a June 11 demonstration to protect the rights of those who decline to take part in the Ramadan fast. Although the state has...
(AFP (eng) 06/01/17)
One in five children born with a twin sibling in sub-Saharan Africa dies before the age of five -- three times the rate among singletons, said a study Thursday. Almost two-thirds die in the first month of life -- often succumbing to the after-effects of a difficult birth or entering the world too early or underweight, according to research published in The Lancet medical journal. And while rates of under-five deaths in the sub-Saharan African region have declined over two decades, the improvement has been much slower for twins than for single-borns. "Twins account for 10.7 percent of all under-five deaths and 15.1 percent of neonatal (newborn) deaths in the region and these percentages are increasing," the study said. "The...
(AFP (eng) 05/31/17)
Tunisia has detained six people in the central region of Kasserine suspected of belonging to a group linked to the Islamic State group, authorities said Tuesday. The announcement comes after a jihadist leader was killed in a National Guard operation on Sunday night in Kasserine's Mount Salloum area near the border with Algeria. Judiciary spokesman Sofiene Sliti said the six suspects were detained on Monday as the same security operation continued. The interior ministry said they belonged to "sleeper cells" of Jund al-Khilafa, or Soldiers of the Caliphate, which has carried out attacks in the country in the name of IS. The ministry also said the jihadist killed on Sunday had belonged to the Okba Ibn Nafaa Battalion, which is...
(Washington Post 05/31/17)
The old man’s house had become a camp for the displaced. In the back yard, groups of women boiled water for rice. Small children skittered across the dirt, running into the bedroom, where they careened around the long, skinny legs of Elijah Karama. “Because of the conditions, they are mine to take care of,” said Karama, 57, more tired than proud. By conditions, he meant Boko Haram’s destruction of vast areas of northeastern Nigeria, and the hunger crisis that has followed. This city of about 1 million has absorbed an additional 1 million people who fled the Islamist militants who burned their villages and kidnapped hundreds of children. In Maiduguri, the vast majority of the displaced aren’t living in U.N...
(AFP (eng) 05/29/17)
Tunisian security forces have killed a leader of the Islamic State group who was plotting attacks during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, authorities said on Monday. The interior ministry did not identify the suspect, but said he was a leading member of IS and "dangerous" and was killed in an operation Sunday night by the National Guard near the Algerian border. Eleven arrest warrants had been issued for the suspect in connection with "terrorist operations", the ministry said. Judiciary spokesman Sofiene Sliti told Shems FM radio the suspect was a Tunisian known as Houssem Tlithi, born in 1997.
(AFP (eng) 05/29/17)
Overcrowded hospitals, exhausted staff and, disgruntled patients... Tunisia's public health sector is struggling to heal its many maladies. Hours of waiting for treatment, angry patients and broken equipment have become chronic problems. "Our hospitals are ruins," Amel Belhaj said as she visited her bedridden father in a Tunis hospital ward with mould-tainted walls and rusty radiators. "On top of our illnesses, we have to cope with the misery of these places, the dirt, the behaviour of the staff," she said. The nearby toilets smelled strongly of urine and rubbish was strewn on the floor. Her father, who occupied one of the ward's 11 beds, refused to comment. Developing the health sector has been a key priority for Tunisian governments since...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/27/17)
Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy nations met African heads of state on Saturday, the final day of their annual summit which has been marked by discord over climate change, but unity on tackling terrorism. Italy had hoped to make Africa the major focus of the annual G7 gathering, holding the discussions on the island of Sicily that has taken in hundreds of thousands of migrants over the past four years as they flee war and poverty back home. However, the two-day meeting got overshadowed by a suicide bombing in northern England on Monday that killed 22 people, and also got bogged down by lengthy discussions on the merit of free trade and the 2015 Paris Agreement to tackle...
(AFP (eng) 05/26/17)
Tunisian authorities on Friday froze the assets of eight businessmen suspected of corruption, including some already under house arrest. Graft was widespread under longtime president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was ousted in a 2011 uprising, and has remained endemic ever since. The eight men allegedly profited from their ties to Ben Ali and members of his regime whose assets were confiscated in 2012. A government agency charged with confiscating property said it had seized property and frozen the assets of the eight over "illegal" profits. It came after an investigation showed their involvement in "relations that enabled them to illegally make huge profits", commission head Mounir Ferchichi said. Tunisia declared a "war on corruption" this week after the...
(AFP (eng) 05/26/17)
A Tunisian court held its first public hearing Friday in the trial of 26 people in connection with a 2015 jihadist beach massacre that killed dozens of foreign tourists. A student armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and grenades went on a rampage in the Port el-Kantaoui resort near Sousse killing 38 holidaymakers, 30 of them Britons, before being shot dead by police. It was the second of two deadly attacks on foreigners claimed by the Islamic State group that year, which devastated Tunisia's once-lucrative tourism sector. Security was unusually tight at the Tunis courthouse for Friday's hearing, which lasted around an hour and a half and was attended by British diplomatic officials. Six of the defendants are policemen accused...
(AFP (eng) 05/26/17)
Entertainment | France | film | festival | Cannes | Zambia | witchcraft Cannes, France | AFP | Friday 5/26/2017 - 14:01 UTC+3 | 615 words by Katy Lee Being accused of witchcraft is no laughing matter in Africa -- but movie director Rungano Nyoni decided a dose of humour was just what was needed to tackle a problem rampant in parts of the continent. Set in Zambia, the sharp satire "I Am Not A Witch" has premiered to strong reviews at the Cannes film festival, taking aim at the blatant sexism behind accusations that overwhelmingly target women. White tourists are seen gawping at women detained in a "witch camp" in the movie, taking pictures of them as if they're...
(AFP (eng) 05/24/17)
Four people, including prominent businessmen, have been arrested in Tunisia on suspicion of corruption and financing a wave of protests in the North African country, a senior official said Wednesday. The official, on condition of anonymity, told AFP that businessmen Chafik Jarraya, Yassine Chennoufi and Nejib Ben Ismail along with customs officer Ridha Ayari were arrested Tuesday "under the state of emergency" in force in Tunisia since November 2015. "They are implicated in affairs of corruption and suspected of plotting against state security through incitement and alleged financing of the protest movements in Tataouine and other regions," he said. A young man, Anouar Sakrafi, died of injuries suffered Monday when he was run over by a national guard vehicle during...
(AFP (eng) 05/24/17)
Thousands attended the funeral Tuesday of a protester killed during clashes in southern Tunisia as officials warned tensions could escalate amid demonstrations over social and labour issues. Anouar Sakrafi, in his early 20s, died of wounds suffered Monday when he was run over by a national guard vehicle during clashes with security forces at an oil and gas plant, the scene of long-running protests over joblessness. Security forces fired tear gas as protesters tried to storm the El Kamour facility in the desert region of Tataouine, radio reports said. The government said Sakrafi's killing was accidental. A stream of vehicles was seen heading for his burial in his home town of Bir Lahmer, 30 kilometres (20 miles) from the city...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/24/17)
When U.S. President Donald Trump and other leaders of the world's seven major industrialized nations gather in Sicily on Friday, they will enjoy a spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea, but won't get any glimpse of boats full of migrants. A common sight off Sicily in recent years, the authorities have banned all migrant landings on the island during the Group of Seven Summit for security reasons, telling rescue vessels that pick them up at sea to take them to the mainland during the two-day meeting. Out of sight does not mean out of mind. Italy chose to host the summit in Taormina, on the cliffs of eastern Sicily, to concentrate minds on Europe's migrant crisis and to seek ways...
(AFP (eng) 05/23/17)
Tunisian officials warned Tuesday that tensions in the country's south could escalate following a protester's death after clashes with security forces at an oil and gas plant. The young demonstrator died of wounds sustained Monday when he was "accidentally" run over by a national guard vehicle outside the El Kamour pumping station, the health and interior ministries said. Protesters have been camping outside the El Kamour installation for around a month, blocking trucks from entering, to demand a share of resources and jobs in the sector. National guard spokesman Khalifa Chibani on Tuesday warned of a further escalation.
(Reuters (Eng) 05/23/17)
Tunisian security forces firing teargas clashed with protesters on Monday after they burned down two police stations following the death of a young man hit by a police vehicle during protests over jobs in the south. Unrest in Tatatouine province have escalated into violence after protesters targeted oil and gas facilities to block production and pressure Prime Minister Youssef Chahed's government for work and development in the marginalized region. "One young man died in the Tatatouine protests. He was hit by a police car in the protest," a Health Ministry source said. Protesters pressing demands for jobs and a share of the country's energy wealth forced the closure of two oil and gas pumping stations, where Italy's ENI SpA, Austria's...

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