| Africatime
Monday 27 March 2017
(AFP (eng) 12/29/16)
A 40-year-old Tunisian man who was held on suspicion of being an accomplice of suspected jihadist Berlin truck attacker Anis Amri has been freed, German prosecutors said Thursday. Investigations had shown that the unnamed man detained Wednesday "is not the suspected contact of Anis Amri," said a spokeswoman for the federal prosecution service which handles terrorism cases. "He has therefore been released from detention," the spokeswoman, Frauke Koehler, told a press conference. She confirmed that shortly before Tunisian Amri steered a lorry through a Berlin Christmas market in an attack that killed 12 people, he had sent a mobile phone voice message and a picture to a contact
(AFP (eng) 12/29/16)
At least five people were killed and more than 50 injured on Wednesday when a train slammed into a public bus before dawn near Tunis, the Tunisian interior ministry said. The articulated bus was torn in two when it was struck on the tracks at around 6:00 am (0500 GMT) near Sidi Fathallah, some 10 kilometres (six miles) south of the capital. Five people including a child were killed and another 52 were taken to hospital, many with serious injuries, the ministry said. Among the injured were eight soldiers, Mosaique FM radio station reported. A local court official said signals and safety gates had been out of service at the time of the crash.
(AFP (eng) 12/29/16)
French border police intercepted 45 African migrants who were trying to enter the country from Italy and arrested the two smugglers involved, local prosecutors said Wednesday. Travelling in two vans, 25 migrants in the first vehicle were stopped while 20 in the second breached a checkpoint at Montgenevre in southeastern France, before later being found. According to the prosecutor's office, the migrants were returned to the border and the two smugglers are to be tried in Italy.
(AFP (eng) 12/28/16)
Tunisian ministers will meet Thursday to decide on an action plan against jihadists returning from foreign battlefields, a government source said, as fears mount they could destabilise the North African country. The ministerial meeting to be chaired by Prime Minister Youssef Chahed follows a number of gatherings between security and judicial experts on the matter. "There will be a ministerial meeting tomorrow with a view to launching a strategic action plan," the source in the prime minister's told AFP on Wednesday. The United Nations estimates that more than 5,500 Tunisians are fighting alongside extremist groups, including in Syria, Iraq and Libya where the Islamic State group seized swathes of territory. Concern about their return has risen since Tunisian Anis Amri...
(AFP (eng) 12/28/16)
Fears are mounting in Tunisia that the return of jihadists from foreign battlefields could destabilise a country already reeling from a wave of attacks since its 2011 revolution. Concern has increased after a Tunisian was identified as the suspected attacker who mowed down 11 people with a hijacked truck at a Berlin Christmas market last week and also killed the driver. The rampage was claimed by the Islamic State group in a video showing Anis Amri pledging allegiance to IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Days later Tunisia said it had arrested Amri's nephew and two others it said were linked to the Berlin attack suspect but not to the assault itself. Tunisia has witnessed an emergence of extremism since the...
(AFP (eng) 12/28/16)
Its lower cost has made it popular in commercial food production, but after being blamed for deforestation in Asia, palm oil plantations are now getting a similar rap in Africa. The sheer scale of land required is having an impact in Gabon, Cameroon and the Congo Basin, environmentalists say. With financing coming from American, European and Asian agri-businesses, palm bunches are cultivated then cut from trees and sent to factories where oil is extracted by hot pressing. But the production process accelerates deforestation, contributes to climate change and threatens fauna and flora in vulnerable areas, opponents argue. However the companies say that palm oil is not only less expensive than soya or sunflower oil but requires much less land to...
(The Herald Online 12/27/16)
The end of 2016 provides an opportunity to take stock of Africa’s recent economic performance and future prospects. It’s been a tumultuous year for some African countries largely due to a commodities crisis and a global economic slowdown.Yet there were still pockets of good growth which displayed the huge potential of the African continent. And 2017 looks to be the year the countries hardest hit by the crisis seek to recover from the economic reversals of the past few years. Since the start of the new millennium average economic growth across Africa has been stronger than the global growth rate. Growth across the continent averaged 5 percent. This fuelled the “Africa Rising” narrative that permeated public discourse. Among the growth...
(AFP (eng) 12/26/16)
Tunisia's security forces called on the government on Sunday to take "exceptional measures" to combat the return of jihadists fighting for extremist groups abroad. Tunisia has seen a wave of jihadist attacks since its 2011 revolution, including on foreign tourists, and the United Nations estimates that more than 5,000 Tunisians are fighting for extremist outfits, mainly in Iraq and Syria. "The return of terrorists from hotbeds of unrest in Tunisia is worrying and could lead to the Somali-isation of the country," said a statement from the internal security forces' national union, referring to the Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab group in Somalia.
(AFP (eng) 12/25/16)
Hundreds of people gathered outside Tunisia's parliament on Saturday to protest against letting jihadists who fought overseas to return to the country. "No to freedom for terrorist groups!" protestors chanted. Some held placards calling for "political will against terrorist groups". Organisers said 1,500 people attended the rally. It was held on the same day authorities said they had arrested three alleged jihadists connected to the suspected Berlin Christmas market attacker, Tunisian Anis Amri. Protestors slammed Rached Ghannouchi, head of the Islamist Ennahda party, who has in the past supported the idea of allowing Tunisian jihadists who "repent" and renounce violence to return home.
(Reuters (Eng) 12/24/16)
A record 5,000 migrants are believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea this year, following two shipwrecks on Thursday in which some 100 people, mainly West Africans, were feared dead, aid agencies said on Friday. Two overcrowded inflatable dinghies capsized in the Strait of Sicily after leaving Libya for Italy, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said. "Those two incidents together appear to be the numbers that would bring this year's total up to over to 5,000 (deaths), which is a new high that we have reported during this crisis," IOM spokesman Joel Millman told a Geneva briefing. The Italian coast guard rescued survivors and had recovered eight bodies so far, he said...
(The Globe and Mail 12/23/16)
The Square Kilometre Array will be the world’s most powerful radio telescope, opening new frontiers in our understanding of the universe. But the builders have to contend with an unforgiving climate and other formidable challenges first, In the desolate rocky plains of the Great Karoo, the dangers are endless. Scorpions and puff adders are underfoot. The harsh sun beats down, interrupted only by occasional lightning storms. Temperatures range from stifling heat to freezing cold. But at night, in the vast empty darkness, the stars are impossibly bright and clear. And it is the stars that have lured a Canadian-backed project to build the world’s most powerful radio telescope, with the potential to unlock the deepest secrets of the universe. For...
(AFP (eng) 12/22/16)
Selma saunters on her stilt-like legs, batting thick lashes as she extends a blackish tongue -- as long as an arm -- to grab pellets offered by an awed tourist. The giraffe is after all, eating for two. Her pregnancy is good news for one of the rarest giraffe species, protected at the Giraffe Centre in the Kenyan capital, but experts warn the outlook for the rest of the world's tallest land mammals is far gloomier. While it is hoped the shocking news that the gentle giants of the African savannah are facing extinction will spur action, conservationists largely have their hands tied as many giraffe live in Africa's most conflict-torn regions. Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan...
(AFP (eng) 12/21/16)
German police are searching for a Tunisian man in connection with the deadly truck attack on a crowd at a Berlin Christmas market, media reported Wednesday. The man is aged 21 or 23 and known by three different names, according to reports in the daily Allgemeine Zeitung and the Bild newspaper. Both said asylum office papers believed to belong to the man were found in the cab of the truck. The documents, which announced a stay of deportation, were found under the driver's seat of the 40-tonne lorry that barrelled through the Christmas market in the heart of the German capital. Police were reportedly searching for the suspect, who was born in the southern Tunisian city of Tataouine, in the...
(The Citizen 12/21/16)
Tanzania is among some African countries which may see a drop in development aid as the US is likely to expand fiscal stance and cut spending during Donald Trump's presidency, a new report shows. The move by the world's largest economy will affect dependent countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and DRC according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) latest report released in London yesterday. In its Economic Insight: Africa Q4 2016, the accountancy and finance body points out that signs of an expansionary fiscal stance under the Trump administration coupled with spending cuts to accommodate increased infrastructure expenditure are likely to lead to the decrease in aid. "Aid is one of the main...
(AFP (eng) 12/20/16)
Hundreds protested in Tunis on Tuesday over the murder of a Tunisian engineer last week that Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas has blamed on Israel. Mohamed Zaouari, 49, was murdered at the wheel of his car outside his house in Tunisia's second city Sfax on Thursday. He was hit by 20 bullets. Waving Tunisian and Palestinian flags, more than 200 protesters walked up a main thoroughfare in the Tunisian capital, an AFP correspondent said. "With our soul, with our blood, we will avenge you Palestine," they chanted.
(AFP (eng) 12/20/16)
When Rose Kariuki first felt a lump on her left breast, the spectre of cancer -- a disease she had only heard of on television -- was the last thing on her mind. "To me, cancer was nowhere near us. It was shocking, I feared death, I feared so many things," the 46-year-old Kenyan school teacher told AFP. Rose is one of a growing number of Africans suffering from cancer, one of the lifestyle diseases -- along with diabetes and heart problems -- proving increasing deadly on the continent. A World Health Organisation (WHO) survey released Tuesday showed that most Africans had at least one risk factor for developing one of these diseases, such as smoking, a lack of exercise,...
(AFP (eng) 12/19/16)
The Tunisian government on Sunday said that foreigners were behind the murder of a Tunisian engineer, after the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas said Israel was behind his death. "The investigations concerning the assassination of Tunisian citizen Mohamed Zaouari and the latest findings have proven that foreign elements were involved," the government said on its Facebook page. It did not give further details, but said it was "determined to protect all Tunisian citizens and to pursue those guilty of carrying out assassination inside and outside" the country.
(AFP (eng) 12/16/16)
The number of migrants feared to have died this year has soared to nearly 7,200 -- a more than 20-percent increase over 2015 -- with most of the fatalities in the Mediterranean, IOM said Friday. In total, 7,189 migrants and refugees have died or remain missing on migratory routs around the world, the International Organization for Migration said. That number is already 1,449 more than in all of 2015. And since it represents an average of 20 deaths per day, another 200 to 300 people could perish by the end of the year if the trend continues, the Geneva-based IOM warned in a statement. The Mediterranean Sea routes, used so far this year by nearly 360,000 people seeking a new...
(AFP (eng) 12/15/16)
British energy firm Petrofac stopped work at a Tunisia gas plant after renewed protests despite an agreement to end social unrest, a minister and a company official said Wednesday. The halt in operations at Cherqui on Kerkennah island in southeast Tunisia comes after a deal in September ended a protest by local workers. "Despite the agreement signed in September and the promises from civil society in Kerkennah, (protesters) several times blocked the road for trucks," Energy Minister Hela Cheikhrouhou told radio Mosaique FM. "Civil society needs to deal with the situation in a responsible way.
(CNN 12/15/16)
In the sleepy, sun-blasted town of De Aar in central South Africa, a mighty force is stirring. The largest solar plant in Africa, Middle East and the Southern hemisphere was inaugurated here earlier this year, a 175-megawatt facility that spreads over almost 500 hectares. The facility is the brainchild of Solar Capital, led by hotel magnate turned solar evangelist Paschal Phelan, which ploughed $400 million into the venture. The plant supplies power to the National Grid, but when the heat is fiercest it produces far more than the Grid can use, and the excess power goes to waste. "It's like you have a Ferrari and you run a small car," says Massimiliano Salaorno, plant manager of Solar Capital De Aar...

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