Monday 24 July 2017
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Tunisia has extended for another four months a state of emergency in place since a 2015 jihadist attack, the president's office announced on Wednesday. "President Beji Caid Essebsi decided on Wednesday to extend the state of emergency for four months starting from Thursday, June 15," his office said on Facebook. The state of emergency has been in place since a November 2015 jihadist bombing in Tunis that killed 12 presidential guards. The Islamic State group claimed the attack as well as bombings earlier in 2015 at the Bardo National Museum in Tunis and at a beach resort near Sousse that killed a total of 59 foreign tourists and a Tunisian guard. They were part of a wave of jihadist violence...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Tunisia on Tuesday launched a special "green police" unit aimed at dealing with the proliferation of waste, a scourge that has worsened dramatically since the 2011 revolution. "May God help you -- it's a very difficult mission," Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said at the launch of the unit, with their new uniforms and GPS-equipped pick-ups. The North African country's rubbish woes have worsened because municipalities are not dealing with the problem in advance of local elections slated for December. There is also a lack of equipment, treatment centres and landfills, Environment Minister Riadh Mouakher said. "Even municipalities themselves sometimes dump their waste in public spaces," he told reporters. But he also pinpointed a lack of awareness among the general public...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Extortion, corruption and fear; violence, hunger and sometimes even death: for west African migrants dreaming of reaching Europe, the road to get there can be an absolute minefield. - Departure - Whether it's The Gambia, Ivory Coast, Senegal or Nigeria, everything starts with the "hustlers" -- slang for the middlemen or fixers who organise the trip. Their honesty and prices vary, with the would-be migrant usually deceived about the welcome expected in Europe. Many possess no official documents from their home country, and do not understand illegal status in Europe. Most are ignorant about the extreme difficulties they will encounter en route. "We didn't know we were risking our lives," said Kante Sekou...
(Xinhuanet 06/14/17)
Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed on Tuesday launched an environmental police department as part of the government's efforts to enhance environmental protection. Amid a lack of awareness to protect the environment among the general public, the North African country's rubbish woes worsened as municipalities are not dealing with the problem in advance of local elections slated for December. "Even municipalities themselves sometimes dump their waste in public spaces," Environment Minister Riadh Mouakher said. For a month, the "green police" will be responsible for raising the awareness of not dumping waste in public places, according to Mouakher. After that, from mid-July, throwing trash outside dumpsters or burning waste will incur fines between 16 and 24 U.S. dollars. And if an offense...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Maria gave smugglers all her family savings and crossed three countries and the searing Libyan desert, but when she finally boarded a boat for Europe her dream was swiftly shattered. She was 24 and pregnant with her second child when she left Liberia with her husband and their three-year-old son. The family passed through Guinea and Mali before crossing southern Algeria to reach the Libyan desert. "The smugglers took all our money" -- more than $2,150 (2,000 euros), she said. "We spent four days in the desert. People died of thirst and the sun in the back of the truck." They finally arrived on the beach at Sabrata, 70 kilometres (45 miles) west of Libya's capital Tripoli, a key departure...
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
A Tunisian court Monday sentenced to one month in prison a man who smoked a cigarette in public during the Muslim dawn-to-dusk holy fasting month of Ramadan, a spokesman said. The man was seen smoking outside the Bizerte courthouse by a judiciary official who informed the police before they arrested him and referred him to the prosecution, the spokesman Chokri Lahmar told AFP. He said the man had 10 days to appeal before the sentence takes effect. On June 1 four men were sentenced to one-month jail terms for eating in public during Ramadan. There is no law against eating or drinking in public during Ramadan, but every year the issue comes to the fore in the North African country...
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
Uche's real journey had yet to begin but he had already spent four days in the northern Nigerian city of Kano after travelling on public buses and potholed roads from Imo state in the southeast. He planned to go to Agadez, a transit town on the southern edge of the Sahara desert in central Niger, take a truck to Sebha, in southwestern Libya, and from there to the capital Tripoli, and then to Italy or Spain. But his contact, who was supposed to drive him and three women across Nigeria's northern border, was arrested on suspicion of people smuggling. "His house had been under surveillance," explains the 38-year-old electrician in Kano's bustling Sabon Gari district. "The movement of the three...
(AFP (eng) 06/12/17)
A Tunisian soldier died on Monday of his wounds from a landmine explosion on Mount Ouergha in the west of the country near the Algerian border, the defence ministry said. It said "martyr of the nation" Mohamed Ali Toujani, a term usually used for victims of jihadist attacks, died of injuries after Friday's blast in the Kef region. Another soldier was killed in a mine blast last summer in a mountainous region of northwest Tunisia where the army has been tracking down jihadists. Since its 2011 revolution, Tunisia has experienced an increase in jihadist attacks that have cost the lives of dozens of members of the security forces and also 59 foreign tourists.
(AFP (eng) 06/12/17)
Dozens of Tunisians demonstrated Sunday to demand the right to eat and drink in public during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and to protest against non-fasters being arrested. There is no law against eating or drinking in public during Ramadan, but every year the issue comes to the fore in the North African country. Tunisia's constitution guarantees "freedom of belief and conscience", but the state is also the "guardian of religion". Following a call by the "Mouch Bessif" (Arabic for "Not against our will") group, protesters in central Tunis shouted that "Individual freedom is guaranteed by the constitution!" One man openly smoking a cigarette -- this is also deemed unacceptable during Ramadan daylight hours -- held a placard in...
(AFP (eng) 06/12/17)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will on Monday meet African leaders in Berlin on initiatives aiming to reduce the poverty and conflict driving a mass migrant influx to Europe. The idea is to team up African nations willing to reform with private investors who would bring business and jobs to a continent where instability or graft often scare off foreign companies. Merkel is hosting the initiative as part of Germany's presidency of the Group of 20 powerful economies, whose leaders meet in the northern port of Hamburg a month later. Invited to Berlin are Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the leaders of Ghana, Ivory Coast...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/08/17)
More girls are completing secondary school across sub-Saharan Africa as attitudes change and state spending rises, but some of the most marginalized girls — like those married young or forced to work — are still missing out, education experts say. The percentage of girls completing secondary school has risen in all regions of Africa since 2005, said a recent report by the African Development Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the U.N. Development Program. Almost twice as many girls in East Africa and three times as many in Central Africa completed secondary education in 2014 as in 2005, according to the annual African Economic Outlook report, which was published at the end of last month. Yet more...
(AFP (eng) 06/07/17)
Tunisian judicial authorities on Tuesday slapped a one-month ban on radical Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir, notably for incitement to hatred, the prosecution said. "The activities of the party have been suspended for a month from today," said prosecution spokesman Sofiene Sliti. The decision was taken because of the party's "incitement to hatred and its calls to put in place a caliphate", said Sliti. AFP was unable to immediately reach Hizb ut-Tahrir for comment. It is the second time that the radical Islamist party has been suspended from political activity at the request of the authorities.
(Reuters (Eng) 06/07/17)
Building a network of African women leaders in fields ranging from business to politics could galvanize female leadership across the continent and boost peacebuilding efforts and good governance, the head of U.N. Women said on Tuesday. The African Women Leaders Network, which was launched last week in New York by the United Nations and the African Union Commission, hopes to drive more women into leadership roles, through mentoring, peer learning and harnessing contacts. By supporting women's leadership in Africa, the platform aims to galvanize their contributions to building and sustaining peace, improving political processes and driving social change, and realizing the U.N. global goals, according to U.N. Women. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), adopted in 2015, include targets on...
(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...

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