Saturday 24 June 2017
(AFP (eng) 05/11/17)
A Tunisian court has sentenced a man to two months in prison for wearing a T-shirt deemed insulting to police, a judicial official said Wednesday. She said it had handed the same sentence to the printer of the T-shirt, which according to local media read "If a woman is corrupted, she becomes a whore, and if a man is corrupted, he becomes a policeman." Police in the eastern city of Sousse on Friday stopped a young man in a cafe and later detained the owner of the print shop, local media reported. Assistant prosecutor Zahia Sayadi said the man who wore the T-shirt was charged with publicly insulting an official and the printer with participating in the insult. "Wearing the...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/11/17)
Tunisia's President Beji Caid Essebsi on Wednesday ordered the army to protect phosphate, gas and oil production facilities after protests aimed at disrupting output broke out in the south of the country. It is the first time troops in Tunisia will be deployed to protect industrial installations vital to Tunisia's economy. Protests, sit-ins and strikes in recent years have cost the state billions of dollars. For several weeks, about 1,000 protesters in Tatouine province, where Italy's ENI and Austria's OMV have gas operations, have been demanding jobs and a share in revenue from the area's natural resources. Protests have also broken out in another southern province, Kebili, and on Wednesday police fired tear gas to break up rioting in a...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/11/17)
Tunisian police fired tear gas to break up rioting by hundreds of protesters who took to the streets after a fruit seller set himself on fire when police stopped him working, local residents said. In an incident similar to the self-immolation in 2011 that sparked the uprising that toppled autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, the street vendor in a small town west of the capital poured gasoline over himself and set it ablaze. A crowd of young men in Tebourba, about 35 km (22 miles) from Tunis, then threw rocks at police. "Hundreds of angry youths have clashed with police who have been firing tear gas," said Anis Mabrouki, a local resident. The vendor was being treated for his injuries...
(AFP (eng) 05/10/17)
Tunisia's President Beji Caid Essebsi on Wednesday criticised the surprise resignation of the country's electoral chief just months before it is due to hold its first post-revolution municipal elections. Chafik Sarsar resigned on Tuesday, implying he was no longer able to work "independently and impartially" towards holding "free and transparent elections". The president said Sarsar told him he was resigning in a phone call. "I said 'Yes, I saw it on television... You could at least have asked me beforehand'," Essebsi said in a speech in Tunis, with Sarsar in the audience. "Whatever your reasons, they are not above Tunisia's greatest problems... We want to put Tunisia's highest interest before all others," he said. Tunisia, which set off the Arab...
(AFP (eng) 05/10/17)
President Beji Caid Essebsi said Wednesday that the army will protect the output from Tunisia's main resources from being disrupted by protests over social and labour issues. "We know this is a serious decision but it must be taken," Essebsi said in a speech in Tunis. The Tunisian government has faced growing social discontent over the economy, especially in inland regions, with protesters often staging sit-ins that block access to production sites. "Any person who wants to demonstrate can demonstrate, within the framework of the law... But if you want to demonstrate and the first thing you do is to stop Tunisia's production... if you obstruct our few resources, where does that get us?" Essebsi asked. "When they (demonstrators) get...
(The Associated Press 05/10/17)
Serbia’s foreign ministry says the country’s ambassador to Libya, Oliver Potezica, has died after a car crash in Tunisia. It said that Potezica, 64, was rushed to a hospital after the crash some days ago near the coastal town of Sousse, but died on Wednesday. No other details were given. In November 2015, gunmen in Libya crashed into a convoy of vehicles taking Potezica to neighboring Tunisia and then kidnapped two Serbian embassy employees. He escaped unharmed along with his wife and two sons. The two Serb hostages died in a U.S. airstrike on an Islamic State camp in February 2016 in western Libya that killed dozens. Serb officials had questioned why the Americans did not appear to know that...
(Fox News 05/10/17)
After five years of no major attacks on merchant vessels, piracy around the Horn of Africa seemed to be on hiatus. Acts of piracy in those treacherous waters have fallen sharply since 2012, according to statistics released by the United States Navy. The Navy credits aggressive patrolling by international forces and increased vigilance by the commercial shipping industry for the decrease. However, in the past month, Somali pirates have intercepted five ships, raising concerns that piracy has returned to the Indian Ocean, beginning with the kidnapping of a Sri Lankan crew from the Aris 13 oil tanker on March 13th (they were later released without a ransom). Nobody thinks the problem will end until a stable government is restored in...
(AFP (eng) 05/09/17)
Tunisia's election chief Chafik Sarsar resigned Tuesday for being unable to work "independently and impartially" just months before the country is due to hold its first post-revolution municipal elections. "According to the oath we took" in which "we committed to work towards free and transparent elections and to carry out our duty independently and impartially... we have decided to resign," Sarsar said, announcing he, his deputy and another member of the electoral commission were quitting. "We were compelled to resign" over disagreements on "the founding values and principles of democracy", he said at a news conference. Sarsar did not elaborate and AFP was unable to reach him afterwards. Sarsar's deputy Mourad Ben Mouelli and another member of the electoral body,...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/09/17)
Protests over jobs and development in southern and central Tunisia have halted production at or shut the fields of two foreign energy companies in a new challenge to the country's Prime Minister Youssef Chahed. For Tunisia, a small oil and gas producer compared to its OPEC neighbors Libya and Algeria with national production is around 44,000 barrels per day, the protests come at a sensitive time as Chahed's government tries to enact austerity reforms. Tunisia's Energy Minister Hela Chikhrouhou told reporters sit-ins halted production at energy company Perenco's Baguel
(Xinhuanet 05/09/17)
Tunisian oil production has declined remarkably during the last six years following the uprising of 2011, said Tunisian Minister of Energy and Mines Hala Chickrouhou on Monday. Chickrouhou revealed during a press briefing in Tunis that the contribution of oil companies to the Tunisian state budget has decreased from 3 billion dinars (1.23 billion U.S. dollars) between 2009 and 2010 to 1 billion dinars (0.41 billion dollars). Tunisia does not present itself as one of the biggest oil-producing countries, but the fuel distribution sector provides 15,000 jobs through 800 distribution points of petroleum products and a potential of 500 additional jobs, added the minister. The country is currently producing 40,000 barrels of oil and 40,000 barrels of natural gas daily...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/08/17)
Algeria on Sunday summoned Tunisia's ambassador in Algiers a few days after a Tunisian minister described Algeria as a communist state, state news agency APS said. The North African neighbors usually have strong security and economic ties with Algeria coordinating with Tunisia to combat Islamist militancy in the region. "Tunisia's ambassador has been received today at the ministry of foreign affairs where he has been asked to provide clarifications about remarks made by a Tunisian minister," the ministry said in a statement on APS. Tunisia's minister for local affairs made a comment that Algeria is a communist
(AFP (eng) 05/05/17)
The co-founder of a Tunisian news website said Thursday he was questioned by authorities after the publication of an article about a presidential bid to promote a controversial draft law. The article published by the Nawaat site on April 21 focussed on the bill adopted by the government in July last year that would grant an amnesty to people accused of corruption. Sami Ben Gharbia, who is also editorial managing director at Nawaat, told AFP he was questioned on Wednesday by the Central Investigation Brigade of the National Guard. He said investigators pressed him to reveal the source behind the article concerning the presidency's "strategy" to promote the draft legislation. "I told them that my task was to protect the...
(Agence Ecofin 05/05/17)
In Tunisia, 40,000 occupants and users will soon have their land situation regularised. This was announced by the nation’s Prime Minister, Youssef Chahed, on May 2, as was being launched a nation-wide regularization campaign in the Northern part of the country. “The campaign aims to regularise the land situation regarding appropriation in order to introduce thousands of farmers into to economic system and restart investment and development in all regions to give a great boost to the economy and provide the State significant revenues while reducing challenges that farmers have to deal with. This will also help the farmers develop projects through bank loans and other advantages,” the PM said. In the presence of Samir Betaieb, Mohamed Salah Arfaoui, Mabrouk...
(Voice of America 05/05/17)
As Africa grapples with a severe drought, and famine threatens millions of people, experts at the World Economic Forum on Africa this week in the South African city of Durban say food security needs to be a major part of discussions on advancing the continent economically. The annual World Economic Forum in Switzerland is usually a high-powered event, but at this week’s Africa meeting of the international organization, the continent’s big players are welcoming the humble farmer, now known as the “agripreneur.” Agricultural economist Paul Makube, with South Africa’s First National Bank, told VOA it makes sense to talk about farming when discussing building competitive markets, and boosting innovation and technology. “For business to prosper, you need a situation where...
(AFP (eng) 05/04/17)
A Tunisian court Wednesday sentenced two people to death and 16 others to jail terms for acts of "terrorism" in 2014 during which a security guard was killed. Judiciary spokesman Sofiene Sliti told AFP that nine of those sentenced were tried in absentia. The two death sentences were handed down for the murder of the guard in Kebili, southern Tunisia. The 16 others were condemned to prison terms of between four and 36 years for "belonging to a terrorist group" and over a deadly clash with security forces near Tunis. Tunisia has observed a moratorium on carrying out executions since 1991. Since its 2011 revolution, Tunisia has experienced an increase in jihadist attacks that have cost the lives of dozens...
(AFP (eng) 05/04/17)
The son of a Tunisian doctor killed in a jihadist bombing in Turkey was sentenced to four years in jail Wednesday for having joined the Islamic State group. In a family drama which has gripped the Tunisian public, Fathi Bayoudh, head of paediatric services at Tunis military hospital, had travelled to Turkey to bring his son home. But the father was killed in a June 2016 gun and bomb attack at Istanbul's Ataturk airport that left more than 40 dead and was blamed on IS. Anwar Bayoudh and his fiancee had in autumn 2015 joined the group in Iraq and then Syria, before regretting their decision and calling for help from the family, according to his mother. He escaped from...
(AFP (eng) 05/04/17)
Israel warned its citizens on Wednesday against visiting Tunisia, where Jewish pilgrims will celebrate a religious festival later this month, citing the threat of jihadist attack. It also said any Israelis there should "leave the country immediately." The festival of Lag BaOmer draws hundreds of Jews to tombs of revered rabbis as well as the famed El Ghriba synagogue on the Tunisian holiday island of Djerba. This year the pilgrimage is due to start on May 12, according to organisers. "Terrorist elements, especially those affiliated with global jihad, continue to act toward carrying out attacks in Tunisia," the counter-terrorism bureau said in a statement released by the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "There is a risk of attacks, against...
(Xinhuanet 05/04/17)
The World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa Competitiveness Report 2017 released in Durban Thursday called for urgent policy reforms if the continent intends to create more jobs for its growing young population. According to the report issued at the 27th WEF on Africa, fewer than one-quarter of the 450 million new jobs required in the next 20 years will be created if current policies remain unchanged. The report called for structural reforms in the economies to create more jobs for the youth entering the market. African countries have to prioritize improving infrastructure, skills and adoption of new technology and quality of institutions. To improve competitiveness in the short term Africa needs to increase housing construction through investment, better urban planning and...
(AFP (eng) 05/03/17)
Tunisian and international non-governmental organisations warned Tuesday of deteriorating freedom of the press in a country considered to be a rare success story of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. "The Tunisian government these past weeks has not stopped tightening its grip on the press," they said in a joint statement published on World Press Freedom Day. Twenty-five associations, including the Tunisian Press Syndicate, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Amnesty International, said they were "deeply concerned" about the creation of a regulatory body for audiovisual communication. Six years after a popular uprising toppled longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the rights groups expressed concern about the recent banning of a small daily
(Voice of America 05/03/17)
African military expenditures have finally slowed down after more than a decade of steady increases, according to a new report on global defense spending. The main reason, the report found, is a drop in oil prices. “The sharp decreases in oil prices has affected quite a number of African countries, namely South Sudan and Angola. This has kind of driven almost the entire regional trend,” said Nan Tian, a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) Arms and Military Expenditure Program, the organization that authored the report. The SIPRI report found military spending in Africa in 2016 was down by 1.3 percent from the previous year and totaled about $37.9 billion. Despite the drop, Africa’s military spending remains...

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