Thursday 25 May 2017
(AFP (eng) 04/22/17)
The first public hearing into the June 2015 attack in the Tunisian resort of Sousse that killed 38 foreign tourists has been set for next week, the court said Friday. "The trial on the attack at the Imperial Marhaba Hotel will begin on April 28," court spokesman Sofiene Sliti told AFP. A total of 33 people are being prosecuted in the case, including six members of the security forces who are charged with "not assisting people in danger". On June 25, 2015, gunman Seifeddine Rezgui killed 38 people, including 30 British tourists and three Irish citizens, in a shooting spree at the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group. The killings are also...
(AFP (eng) 04/20/17)
Thousands protested in northeastern Tunisia on Thursday to mark a general strike over unemployment and poverty, six years since a revolution ignited by similar grievances. Demonstrators gathered at the local branch of the powerful UGTT trade union in Kef, 180 kilometres (110 miles) west of Tunis, before marching down the main streets. "Work, freedom, dignity!" they shouted. "Kef has the right to development!" They denounced the government over "broken promises" to develop the region. "This demonstration and strike are important, raising a cry of anger in the face of a situation that cannot last," teacher Rached Salhi said. Government offices, private companies, shops and cafes were closed and shuttered.
(Bloomberg 04/20/17)
WorldRemit Ltd., a British money-transfer operator, sees revenue from transactions involving Africans doubling by 2020 as more people on the continent access mobile-payment platforms and expatriates send cash home. The seven-year-old company, in which Facebook Inc.-backer Accel Partners LP invested $40 million in 2014, will this year open a regional office in South Africa, its largest market on the continent in terms of money-transfer value, founder and Chief Executive Officer Ismail Ahmed said in an interview. Another site will start operating in Kenya, where the London-based business sees Africa’s highest number of individual transactions. “In the next two years we should be doubling our volume every year,” Ahmed said in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. The continent accounted for half the company’s...
(Xinhuanet 04/19/17)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and the chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, will convene Wedesday the first UN-AU Annual Conference. The two leaders will look into how to strengthen the partnership between the two organizations to face common challenges and opportunities in the continent, on issues of peace and security, sustainable development and human rights, said Stephane Dujarric, UN spokesman, at a daily briefing. "They will also sign the Joint United Nations-African Union Framework for an Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security," said Dujarric. It will be the first conference Mahamat will address with the United Nation since he was elected as chairperson of the African Union Commission. Although he had brief talks with Guterres in Addis...
(AFP (eng) 04/18/17)
Tunisia's social affairs minister said on Monday new policies were needed to keep children in school until the age of 16 as the country seeks to curb child labour. The North African nation needs to "establish adequate policies... to guarantee that children go to school until they are at least 16 years old, under Tunisian law," Mohamed Trabelsi said. "We have 100,000 children who leave school early for one reason or another, especially in the rural regions. It mainly affects girls," he said. The minister spoke at the launch of a project to fight child labour in Tunisia over the next three years, which was developed with the International Labour Organization and has received $3 million in funding from the...
(Voice of America 04/17/17)
The Italian coast guard says it has rescued nearly 6,000 migrants on the Mediterranean since Friday, underscoring the continued flow of people along this dangerous route. A group of Africans living in Europe visited Cameroon this week to launch a campaign against illegal migration. The group is called “No More Death in the Desert or on the Sea.” Its mission is simple: to educate youth in Africa about the harsh realities of illegal migration. "We want to tell them that all the information people give them before they start their journey are wrong," said Nantcha. The group’s leader Sylvie Nantcha was born in Cameroon. She has lived in the German town of Freiburg for 25 years. She arrived as a...
(AFP (eng) 04/13/17)
Africa's Matabele ants, fierce predators of termites, rescue their wounded soldiers and bring them back to the nest where they are "treated," a new study showed Wednesday. This helping behavior for the injured is the first to be detected in the insect world, according to an article in the US journal Science Advances by a German research team at the University of Wuerzburg's Biocentre. The ants, formally known as Megaponera analis, are widespread south of the Sahara on the continent. Two to four times a day, they set out in long files on raids to kill worker termites at their foraging sites. But the attacks meet strong resistance from soldier termites guarding the worker termites, which have powerful jaws that...
(AFP (eng) 04/11/17)
El Nino, the cyclical climatic phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean, is linked to shifts in cholera cases in Africa, providing an early warning that could save lives, scientists said Monday. During the years when El Nino is warming the eastern Pacific, East Africa has about 50,000 additional cholera cases a year, new research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests. By contrast, the years when El Nino is not active, there were 30,000 fewer cholera cases in East Africa, according to the study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers analyzed more than 17,000 annual observations from 3,710 different locations between 2000 and 2014 in Africa, which has the most...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/07/17)
Access to off-grid solar energy in rural areas of Africa goes beyond lighting up homes - it also enables people to connect to the wider world and boosts their economic prospects, said the head of one of the continent's biggest solar companies. Azuri Technologies' entry level solar system - for which customers pay a one-off installation fee, then use scratch cards or mobile phone payments to top up on a weekly or monthly basis - provides eight hours of lighting each day. Having power at home for the first time encourages customers to also buy mobile phones, radios and televisions, giving them regular access to the media and the internet, said Simon Bransfield-Garth, chief executive officer of UK-based Azuri. "This...
(Voice of America 04/05/17)
A Red Cross report says African countries are failing their internally displaced people. Reversing that trend was the subject of a high level meeting of the International Red Cross and the African Union that wrapped up Tuesday in Zimbabwe. Africa has about 13 million internally displaced people, a third of the global number of IDPs, and more than double the amount of refugees on the continent. By definition, refugees flee across a national border, while IDPs leave their homes but stay within their own country. African Union Commission head of humanitarian affairs, refugees and displaced people Olabisi Dare says the situation of IDPs in Africa is very critical, dire and worsening. "...The issues that are generating internal displacement [are] multiplying...
(AFP (eng) 04/04/17)
Tunisian authorities have shut down a nightclub and begun an investigation after a DJ played a remix recording of the Muslim call to prayer, an official said Monday. A video, widely shared online since Sunday, shows clubbers dancing at the weekend in the northeastern town of Nabeul to music that includes the call to prayer. The footage sparked a storm of debate on social media. Two European DJs played at the party on Friday as part of a music festival near the popular resort of Hammamet. "After confirming the facts, we decided to close this nightclub" until further notice, Nabeul governor Mnaouar Ouertani told AFP. He said an investigation had begun and the club's manager detained "for violation against good...
(Financial Times 04/04/17)
Countries should develop policies to attract labour-intensive production leaving China. China’s initial wave of investments in Africa focused on natural resource extraction. Their demand for metals and energy was so large that it actually boosted global commodity prices overall, which in turn accelerated growth across the African continent. These times of China propping up global commodity prices are now over, as it has built up excess capacity in many sectors and now faces slow investment growth. This lower demand has contributed to the overall slump in global commodity prices since 2014, making it unlikely that China will again fulfil the role of driving commodity prices. Rather, its position has now shifted to becoming the largest exporter of capital. This provides...
(AFP (eng) 04/03/17)
Tunisia is hold municipal polls on December 17, the country's first since its 2011 revolution, the electoral commission announced Monday. After legislative and presidential votes in 2014, on the back of the adoption of a new constitution, local polls aim to complete the process of democratisation following the revolution that toppled longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. The date of December 17 was agreed in consultations with the government, political parties and civil society groups, the president of Tunisia's electoral body, Chafik Sarsar, told a news conference. After Sarsar initially proposed November 26, some parties had suggested March 2018, but the elections chief warned a long delay would be "a bad sign for Tunisia" and signal "an incapacity to...
(The East African 04/03/17)
Nairobi — The 2017 Mo Ibrahim Foundation annual Governance Weekend will be held in Marrakech - Morocco from April 7-9. A press release from the Foundation identifies the Palmeraie Resort as the venue for this year's meeting. The three-day event brings together prominent African and Africa-focused leaders, civil society representatives, multilateral and regional institutions and Africa's international partners to identify policy challenges and possible solutions. Violent extremism The conversation is normally extended to a wider audience through music, art and sport at major public events, showcasing some of Africa's brightest talent. The Foundation has released a report that sets the stage for high-level discussions in Morocco. The priority areas for the Marrakech talks, according to the report, include violent extremism...
(AFP (eng) 04/01/17)
Tunisian activists say they are frustrated by the slow progress on reforms to improve civil liberties six years after an uprising calling for more freedoms in the North African country. The 2011 revolution that toppled longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali ushered in a new era of freedom of expression and the creation of dozens of civil society groups and political parties. But activists say the law still contains "oppressive" and "backward" provisions inconsistent with a 2014 constitution guaranteeing freedom of conscience, protection of privacy, and equality between men and women. Since the uprising, Amna Guellali of Human Rights Watch says, Tunisian civil society has more openly been tackling issues that were previously taboo such as drugs and homosexuality...
(Middle East Monitor 03/30/17)
Egyptian artist Bahia Shehab and French-Tunisian artist eL Seed have been awarded the UNESCO-Sharjah prize for Arab culture for their innovative use of Arabic calligraphy in street art. Shehab, who is the first woman in the region to receive the award, has said that art can be a tool for change that can encourage people to engage for justice. Her work “No, A Thousand Times No” began with the compilation of 1,000 “nos” as they had been depicted on anything ever produced under Islamic and Arab patronage, from art and ceramics to tombstones, in the past 1,400 years from Spain to the borders of China. During the 2011 Egyptian revolution Shehab sprayed the various “nos” on the walls of downtown...
(Xinhuanet 03/30/17)
The African Union (AU) is extremely appalled by the attacks against African students in Noida and other cities in India. The pan-African bloc has deplored the violence unleashed during the riot that started on Monday targeting Africans of various nationalities, particularly Nigerians, which resulted in loss of innocent lives and serious injuries, the AU said in a statement. The attacks have also resulted in the displacement of many Africans from their normal places of residence, thereby putting their lives in serious danger, it said. AU has expressed heartfelt condolence to the families of the deceased; and it wished speedy recovery to all those who have sustained injuries. AU has called on the Indian authorities to provide all necessary support to...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/17)
A Tunisian allegedly caught red-handed taking a bribe was among three regional officials sacked on Monday by Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, who has vowed to fight graft. A government statement announced the sackings but did not say why the three were relieved of their duties. A spokesman for a provincial prosecutor said one of the officials had been arrested during a police sting allegedly pocketing money from a businessman who had complained to authorities that he had been asked to pay bribes. According to spokesman Mohamed Ali Barhoumi, the businessman told authorities
(Agence Ecofin 03/28/17)
During a field visit last Sunday with the Prime Minister, Youssef Chahed, Tunisia’s State secretary to public domains and land affairs, Mabrouk Korchid, announced that some of the people living on public properties will now be granted ownership of these lands. This stands only for those who have been occupying these lands for the past 30 to 40 years. “It is the right of citizens who have been living on these lands for 30 to 40 years, after establishing their homes on them in good faith, to be awarded a land title. The regularization process concerns 979 housing units built over 11,000 hectares. It should prevent the anarchic establishment of further homes,” Korchid said. According to Business News, “a council...
(Voice of America 03/28/17)
The World Health Organization and U.N. children's fund are spearheading a massive immunization campaign across Africa to rid the continent of the last vestiges of polio. Tens of thousands of health workers will fan out across 13 central and western African countries to vaccinate more than 116 million children under age five against the crippling disease. The U.N. agencies report more than 190,000 volunteers, traveling on foot or bicycle, will go house to house across all cities, towns, and villages in 13 countries to vaccinate every child under age five against polio. The synchronized vaccination campaign, one of the largest ever conducted in Africa, will run from March 25-28. Director of Polio Eradication at the World Health Organization Michel Zaffran...

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