U.S. voices concern over Tunisian democracy

U.S. voices concern over Tunisian democracy

TUNIS (Reuters) - The United States raised concerns over Tunisia's democracy after President Kais Saied introduced a new constitution giving himself far more powers, but the broad reaction among Western democracies was muted. The new constitution was endorsed in a referendum the president held on Monday, a year after Saied moved to shut down the elected parliament and start ruling by decree. "Tunisia has experienced an alarming erosion of democratic norms over the past year and reversed many of the Tunisian people's hard-won gains since 2011," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Thursday, referring to the 2011…
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UN extends Libya mission for 3 months at Russia’s insistence

UN extends Libya mission for 3 months at Russia’s insistence

The U.N. Security Council voted to extend its political mission in Libya, but at Russia's insistence for only three months rather than a year-long mandate. The council's three African members abstained to protest Russia’s blocking the longer extension they say is needed to help the divided country move to elections and stability. Russia’s deputy ambassador, Dmitry Poyansky, reiterated Moscow's position that the U.N. mission must get a new special representative before it has a longer mandate. U.N. special envoy Jan Kubis resigned last Nov. 23 after 10 months on the job, and a number of candidates proposed by U.N. Secretary-General…
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Tunisian officials say new constitution passed in vote with low turnout

Tunisian officials say new constitution passed in vote with low turnout

A new Tunisian constitution giving far more power to President Kais Saied passed in a referendum with a 30.5% turnout, the electoral commission said, tightening his grip in what critics fear is a march to a new era of autocracy. The commission said 95% of voters approved the constitution in Monday's referendum boycotted by opposition groups, which accuse Saied of staging a coup against the young democracy that emerged from Tunisia's Arab Spring uprising of 2011. Opposition groups, which have struggled to counter Saied since he began amassing power a year ago, accused the authorities of inflating the numbers and…
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Tunisians vote on constitution expanding president’s power

Tunisians vote on constitution expanding president’s power

TUNIS, July 25 (Reuters) - Tunisians began voting on Monday in a referendum on a new constitution that critics of President Kais Saied fear will maul the democracy that emerged from a 2011 revolution by handing him nearly total power. The vote is being held on the first anniversary of Saied's ousting of an elected parliament, when he established emergency rule and began governing by fiat. Few people were out when polls opened at 0500 GMT, but at Rue Marseilles polling station in downtown Tunis, Illyes Moujahed was first in line, saying Saied was the only hope. "I'm here to save Tunisia…
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FACTBOX-How Tunisia’s president has tightened his grip on power

FACTBOX-How Tunisia’s president has tightened his grip on power

TUNIS, July 24 (Reuters) - President Kais Saied has been steadily consolidating his grip over Tunisia since seizing broad powers a year ago. As he puts a new constitution to a referendum on Monday, critics believe it will formalise what they see as a march to one-man rule that has trashed the democratic gains set in train by the 2011 revolution. Saied says he aims to save a country that was mired in political paralysis and economic malaise, by remaking its governing system and overhauling the 2014 constitution. Here are the ways he has tightened his grip, starting from July…
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Clashes erupt on outskirts of Libya’s Misrata

Clashes erupt on outskirts of Libya’s Misrata

Clashes erupted between rival factions on the outskirts of the Libyan city of Misrata, before being halted by the intervention of another armed force. The cause of the clashes near the junction of the main coastal highway leading to Tripoli was not immediately clear. It was also not clear if there was any connection to the mobilisation in recent days of Misrata-based forces aligned with the two main sides in a wider political standoff over control of the Libyan government. The fighting lasted less than an hour, two residents of the area said. A fighter with another force that later…
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UPDATE – Clashes erupt on outskirts of Libya’s Misrata

UPDATE – Clashes erupt on outskirts of Libya’s Misrata

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Armed clashes erupted on Saturday on the outskirts of the Libyan city of Misrata between rival factions near the junction of the main coastal highway leading to Tripoli.  Rival forces allied to the two main sides in a political standoff over control of the Libyan government have mobilised in the city in recent days, according to residents.  (Reporting by Libya Reuters Newsroom, writing by Angus McDowall; editing by Jason Neely) Earlier - Fighting rips through Libyan capital, killing 13 TRIPOLI (Reuters) -Rival factions fought each other in Tripoli overnight and into Friday, killing 13 people in the…
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Hundreds protest Tunisian new constitution referendum

Hundreds protest Tunisian new constitution referendum

TUNIS (Reuters) - Hundreds of protesters gathered in central Tunis on Saturday to demonstrate against a referendum to be held on Monday on a new constitution that they reject as illegal. President Kais Saied published the draft constitution, giving himself far more powers, reducing the role of the parliament and judiciary, and removing most checks on his power, less than a month ago. The referendum is the latest move in what his foes call a march to one-man rule since he moved against the elected parliament a year ago, replacing the government and moving to rule by decree in what…
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Gaddafi’s widow appeals Malta decision to repatriate funds to Libya

Gaddafi’s widow appeals Malta decision to repatriate funds to Libya

VALLETTA (Reuters) - The widow of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has appealed a decision by a Malta court ordering the Bank of Valletta to return to Libya some 95 million euros ($100 million) deposited by Gaddafi's late son Mutassim, court officials said. Safiya Ferkash Mohammed and her lawyers argue in their appeal that the courts lacked jurisdiction and could not decide the case over the funds. The sentence was delivered at the end of June after a legal battle that started in 2012, a year after Gaddafi was overthrown and killed. Mutassim, who was also killed, was found in…
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Production resumed at several Libyan oilfields

Production resumed at several Libyan oilfields

CAIRO, July 21 (Reuters) - Libya's National Oil Corp (NOC) said crude production had resumed at several oilfields, after lifting force majeure on oil exports last week. Production has restarted at fields belonging to Waha Oil Company at a rate of 70,000 barrels per day (bpd) and will be gradually increased until normal rates are achieved, the state-owned NOC said in a statement. Production has also resumed from the Nafoura, Tibesti, al-Ghani and al-Bayda oilfields belonging to Harouge Oil Operations and Arabian Gulf Oil Company (AGOCO). "Production at the two companies will be increased gradually after restarting the other fields," NOC said.…
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Biden announces U.S.-Africa summit for mid-December

Biden announces U.S.-Africa summit for mid-December

WASHINGTON, July 20(Reuters) - President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that the United States will bring together leaders from across the African continent for a major summit in December in Washington to discuss pressing challenges from food security to climate change. "The summit will demonstrate the United States’ enduring commitment to Africa, and will underscore the importance of U.S.-Africa relations and increased cooperation on shared global priorities," Biden said in a statement. The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, scheduled for Dec. 13-15, was announced simultaneously in virtual remarks by Vice President Kamala Harris to the U.S.-Africa Business Summit in Marrakech hosted by the Corporate Council on Africa and…
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Libya resumes oil exports from Es Sider port – statement

Libya resumes oil exports from Es Sider port – statement

TRIPOLI, July 20 (Reuters) - Libya resumed exporting crude oil from Es Sider port, the oil ministry said on Wednesday. Libya's Waha Oil Company resumed production at its fields with an initial capacity of 15,000 barrels per day, which is expected to reach 30,000 bpd by the end of the day, the ministry added.
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Libya’s NOC chief rejects challenges to his appointment

Libya’s NOC chief rejects challenges to his appointment

TRIPOLI, (Reuters) - Libya's new National Oil Corporation (NOC) chief Farhat Bengdara rejected challenges to his appointment as most of the company's major subsidiaries publicly acknowledged his leadership and work at some shuttered fields and ports resumed. Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah of the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity (GNU) appointed Bengdara last week to replace veteran NOC chief Mustafa Sanalla, prompting Sanalla and the eastern-based parliament to reject the decision. The parliament does not recognise the GNU and analysts say the standoff over control of government risks becoming a dispute over the NOC that could lead to splits in a company globally…
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Kidnapped Nigerian Catholic priest found dead, another escapes

Kidnapped Nigerian Catholic priest found dead, another escapes

LAGOS, July 19 (Reuters) - A Nigerian Catholic priest abducted last week was found murdered while his colleague managed to escaped from his captors in the northern state of Kaduna, the local diocese said. Fathers John Mark Cheitnum and Donatus Cleophas were seized in the town of Lere when attending a parish function at Christ the King Catholic Church, Yadin Garu last Friday. On Tuesday, the body of Cheitnum was found, the Kafanchan diocese said in a statement, adding that he was "brutally killed on the same day of his abduction." His burial is on Thursday. No one has claimed…
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Algeria to ink $4 bln Italy gas supply deal

Algeria to ink $4 bln Italy gas supply deal

Algeria will supply "very big volumes of gas" to Italy through a $4 billion deal, President Abdulmadjid Tebboune said on Monday (July 18), hailing a "strategic partnership" with Rome during a visit by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. The comments came as Tebboune welcomed Draghi in Algiers, where the Italian leader attended a joint economic summit between the two nations. An official Algerian source said last week that state energy company Sonatrach would increase gas supplies to Italy by a further 4 billion cubic meters (bcm) a year beyond the 21 bcm previously planned. The deal, to be signed with…
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Libya’s NOC continues to do its job according to the law, it says

Libya’s NOC continues to do its job according to the law, it says

CAIRO, July 17 (Reuters) - Libya's National Oil Corp (NOC) is continuing to do its job according to the law, it said on its Facebook page on Sunday, days after the Government of National Unity (GNU) sought to replace the head of NOC and its board of directors. NOC said it will not comply with any "illegal" sacking measures from an "outgoing" government. GNU's decision on Tuesday to replace Mustafa Sanalla has aggravated Libya's political crisis and threatens to pull NOC into the factional infighting that it has mostly avoided during years of conflict. Sanalla says that Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah does…
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Libya oil chief says full output to resume after deal

Libya oil chief says full output to resume after deal

Libyan oil output will resume from all shuttered fields and ports, the Tripoli government's newly installed head of National Oil Corporation (NOC) said after meeting groups that have blockaded the facilities for months. The decision to lift force majeure on production could mean a return of 850,000 barrels per day (BPD) of oil to the market that has been shut off by the groups aligned with eastern commander Khalifa Haftar. Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah of the Government of National Unity appointed Farhat Bengdara as NOC chairman on Tuesday and he entered the state producer's headquarters on Thursday after an armed…
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Algeria to provide Italy with additional gas

Algeria to provide Italy with additional gas

Algeria will provide Italy with an additional four billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas this year, on top of the 21 bcm planned previously, an official source told Reuters. State oil producer Sonatrach plans to start increasing supplies next week to Italian customers including Eni, the source said. Tighter global energy markets have raised demand for Algerian gas, helping the North African OPEC member turn the page on years of declining state revenues. Sonatrach is already a key gas supplier for countries including Italy, Spain and Portugal, and has said it is reviewing its gas pricing with all clients to…
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Libya’s Sanalla says National Oil Corp still answers to him

Libya’s Sanalla says National Oil Corp still answers to him

 (Reuters) - Mustafa Sanalla said executives and affiliated companies of Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) still recognise him as chairman after the Tripoli-based government said it had replaced him and installed a new chief in the company headquarters. Sanalla told Reuters in a phone interview that he was still in Tripoli and working on what he called “mitigation” efforts to resolve the crisis, without elaborating on what they were. He said that without international pressure, the crisis could lead to the emergence of a parallel NOC as happened during the country’s last civil war when rival administrations ruled in east…
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UPDATED: Libyan parliament rejects Tripoli’s move to sack state energy firm head

UPDATED: Libyan parliament rejects Tripoli’s move to sack state energy firm head

BENGHAZI, Libya, July 14 (Reuters) - Libya's Tripoli government said it had installed a new National Oil Corporation (NOC) chairman in the state producer's headquarters on Thursday amid a power struggle to control a company whose revenues are the source of all state funding. Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah's decision to replace veteran NOC chief Mustafa Sanalla with former central bank governor Farhat Bengdara has prompted widespread opposition from rival factions. Control of oil revenue has been the main prize for warring sides in Libya for years, with output last year reaching 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd), more than 1% of global…
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Libya’s Government of National Unity to replace oil chairman Sanalla

Libya’s Government of National Unity to replace oil chairman Sanalla

TRIPOLI  (Reuters) - Libya's Government of National Unity (GNU) moved to replace the National Oil Corp (NOC) chairman and board on Tuesday as control over the state energy producer was drawn further into a complex political standoff between rival factions. According to the text of the decision confirmed to Reuters by a GNU official, Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah will replace veteran NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla with Farhat Bengdara, the central bank governor before Libya's 2011 revolution. The GNU did not announce the decision, which circulated widely in local and social media, but the Oil Ministry later welcomed the move in a statement.…
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Police hunt gunmen who fired 137 rounds in Soweto bar shooting

Police hunt gunmen who fired 137 rounds in Soweto bar shooting

JOHANNESBURG, July 11 (Reuters) - Police are hunting for five attackers who burst into a bar in Soweto, South Africa, and killed 15 customers in a hail of at least 137 bullets over the weekend, the police minister said on Monday. Nine other people were wounded in the shooting in the early hours of Sunday morning that shocked a nation with one of the world's highest murder rates. Police confirmed a second shooting hours earlier on Saturday, in a tavern in Pietermaritzburg, 500km (300 miles) southeast of Soweto, that killed four and wounded eight; and a third on Thursday during…
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South Africa confirms third monkeypox case in tourist from Switzerland

South Africa confirms third monkeypox case in tourist from Switzerland

July 11 (Reuters) - South Africa has confirmed a third case of monkeypox, in a 42-year-old male tourist from Switzerland, the health department of the Limpopo province said. The tourist, who is holidaying in South Africa, presented with symptoms including a rash, muscle ache and fatigue. His infection was confirmed as monkeypox by South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases. "Three contacts have already been identified and none of them have developed signs thus far," Limpopo health official Phophi Ramathuba said in a statement. Earlier South Africa reported two monkeypox cases not linked to travel. Monkeypox is a viral disease…
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Concern after two test positive in Ghana for highly infectious Marburg virus

Concern after two test positive in Ghana for highly infectious Marburg virus

Two people have died in Ghana after contracting a highly contagious Ebola-like virus, sparking a rush to identify potential contacts and squash the outbreak before it spreads. It is the first time the country has reported cases of Marburg virus, a haemorrhagic fever with a death rate of up to 88 per cent, and only the second outbreak in West Africa.  The patients were identified in Ghana’s southern Ashanti region, but only after they had died – raising fears of broader transmission. The virus is transmitted to people via fruit bats, and spreads between humans through direct contact with the…
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South Africa shootings in Soweto tavern kills 15

South Africa shootings in Soweto tavern kills 15

JOHANNESBURG, July 10 (Reuters) - Gunmen armed with rifles and pistols opened fire at people sitting in a tavern in the South African township of Soweto in the early hours of Sunday, killing 15 and wounding nine, police said. The carnage took place shortly after midnight, according to police who said the group of men entered the Orlando East tavern before "shooting randomly at the patrons". The unknown gunmen fled the scene and are now on the run, said police, adding that wasn't not clear how many were involved in the attack. South Africa is one of the world's most…
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Allegations of foul play in death of Angola’s former president

Allegations of foul play in death of Angola’s former president

A daughter of Angola’s former president José Eduardo dos Santos, who died on Friday in Barcelona, has demanded the hospital retain his body for a postmortem after allegations of foul play. Dos Santos, who ruled Africa’s second-biggest oil producer for nearly four decades, died aged 79 at the Teknon clinic in the Spanish city after a prolonged illness, the Angolan presidency said. The veteran politician was taken to hospital and into intensive care after suffering a cardiac arrest two weeks ago. Angola’s current head of state, João Lourenço, announced five days of national mourning starting on Friday, when the country’s…
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UPDATED: Angola’s former president dos Santos dies at 79

UPDATED: Angola’s former president dos Santos dies at 79

Angola's former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled Africa's second biggest oil producer for nearly four decades, has died aged 79, the Angolan presidency said on Facebook on Friday. The former president died at 11:10 am Spanish time at the Barcelona Teknon clinic following a prolonged illness, the presidency said. A spokesperson for the Barcelona Teknon clinic where he was being treated declined to comment. Dos Santos had been receiving medical treatment since 2019. Portuguese news agency Lusa reported last month that the former president was admitted to an intensive care unit at a clinic in Barcelona. One of…
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Tunisians protest against referendum for controversial new constitution

Tunisians protest against referendum for controversial new constitution

Tunisian police blocked hundreds of demonstrators from reaching electoral commission offices on Thursday as protesters took to the streets against a referendum on a new constitution that would expand the president's executive powers. President Kais Saied proposed the new constitution this month that would limit the role of parliament and boost his own rule. The constitution will be put to a referendum on July 25 in a vote most political parties have already rejected.   Saied has ruled by decree since last summer, when he dissolved the parliament and the democratic 2014 constitution, moving towards one-man rule and vowing to…
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WHO reports two new monkeypox deaths

WHO reports two new monkeypox deaths

GENEVA, July 7 (Reuters) - The World Health Organization reported two new deaths from monkeypox since its previous disease update on June 27, bringing the total to three since the start of the year and said the disease had spread to new areas. Cases have shot up 77 percent since the last report to 6,027, the WHO said, with the bulk of them reported in the European region. However, all three deaths have been reported in Africa, the report showed. The update also showed that over 99 percent of the cases for which gender information was available were among men. "The outbreak continues to…
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Tunisian opposition leader faces money laundering allegations

Tunisian opposition leader faces money laundering allegations

TUNIS, July 6 (Reuters) - Tunisia's main opposition leader Rached Ghannouchi has been summoned by a judge over money laundering allegations, his Ennahda party said on Wednesday, accusing the authorities of targeting him for political reasons. The July 19 summons is to answer questions about the allegations, which Ennahda say are untrue and a result of "distortion and fabrication". Reuters could not immediately reach a judiciary spokesperson. Ghannouchi has emerged as the loudest critic of Kais Saied since the president seized broad powers last year, moved to rule by decree and ousted the elected parliament in which the Ennahda leader is speaker.…
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OPEC’s Secretary-General Barkindo dies

OPEC’s Secretary-General Barkindo dies

ABUJA, July 6 (Reuters) - OPEC's Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo has died, Mele Kyari, the chief executive of Nigerian National Petroleum Corp said on Wednesday. Barkindo, who was 63 years old, was due to step down at the end of this month after six years as OPEC's secretary-general. "We lost our esteemed Dr Muhammad Sanusi Barkindo," Kyari said on Twitter, adding that he died late on Tuesday. The death was a "great loss to his immediate family, the NNPC, our country Nigeria, the OPEC and the global energy community," he added. Kyari said Barkindo died hours after meeting Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and giving…
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Catholic priest abducted in Nigeria, diocese says

Catholic priest abducted in Nigeria, diocese says

KANO, Nigeria (Reuters) -A Nigerian Catholic priest was abducted from his rectory in the town of Zambina in the northern state of Kaduna in the early hours of Monday, the local Catholic diocese said on Monday. It said parishioners went to look for Father Emmanuel Silas after waiting in vain for him to conduct the morning mass. It is not clear who carried out the abduction. Armed gangs are rife across Nigeria's northwest where they rob or kidnap for ransom, and violence has been increasing, where thinly stretched security forces often fail to stop the attacks. The latest kidnap comes…
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Sudan’s army to withdraw from political talks, leader says

Sudan’s army to withdraw from political talks, leader says

CAIRO (Reuters) -Sudan's military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said on Monday the army will withdraw from ongoing political talks and allow political and revolutionary groups to form a transitional government. Burhan's declaration during a televised speech came after the death of eight people on Thursday during protests against his military leadership that seized power eight months ago. Last October, the military replaced a transitional government that was formed to organise elections after the toppling of President Omar al-Bashir in 2019. The military takeover triggered rallies demanding the army quit politics. The ruling sovereign council, led by Burhan and consisting…
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UPDATED: UN rights mission finds ‘probable’ mass graves in Libya

UPDATED: UN rights mission finds ‘probable’ mass graves in Libya

GENEVA, July 4 (Reuters) - A U.N.-appointed mission to Libya said on Monday there are "probable mass graves" yet to be investigated, possibly as many as 100, in a town where hundreds of bodies have already been found, and it urged Tripoli to keep searching. The report to be submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council this week details how a militia run by seven brothers executed and imprisoned hundreds of people between 2016-2020, sometimes keeping them in tiny oven-like structures called "the boxes" which were set alight during interrogations. The evidence of kidnappings, murder and torture in Tarhouna, uncovered…
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Second woman killed in shark attack in Egypt’s Red Sea

Second woman killed in shark attack in Egypt’s Red Sea

CAIRO (Reuters) - Two women were killed in shark attacks in Egypt's Red Sea, south of the city of Hurghada, the Egyptian Ministry of Environment said on Sunday. Two sources told Reuters that the body of a Romanian tourist in her late forties was discovered hours after an attack that left a 68-year-old Austrian woman dead. Both attacks happened within 600 metres of each other, off the coast of Sahl Hasheesh, according to the sources. The ministry said in its statement that a committee had been formed to examine the circumstances of the attacks and any scientific reasons behind them.…
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FACTBOX-The legitimacy crisis in Libya’s political institutions

FACTBOX-The legitimacy crisis in Libya’s political institutions

July 3 (Reuters) - Libyan protesters want the political authorities to quit and hold elections after previous transitional periods created institutions that clung on long after their mandates expired.  Here are Libya's main political institutions that have so far failed to overcome entrenched differences between rival authorities in the east and west of the country, a divide that emerged after the 2011 toppling of autocrat Muammar Gaddafi. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Libya's House of Representatives was elected in 2014 as the national parliament with a four-year mandate to oversee a transition to a new constitution prepared by another elected body. But the legitimacy…
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Tunisian constitution panel head blasts president’s draft

Tunisian constitution panel head blasts president’s draft

TUNIS, July 3 (Reuters) - The head of Tunisia's constitution committee blasted a proposed constitution published by President Kais Saied, local media reported on Sunday, reinforcing opposition fears that Saied was seeking to impose a unilateral charter. Sadok Belaid, a former constitutional law professor was named by Saied to draft a "new constitution for a new republic", said Saied's version was dangerous and did not resemble the first draft proposed by the constitution committee, the Assabeh newspaper said. Belaid said the draft constitution published by the president contains chapters that could pave the way for "a disgraceful dictatorial regime". The president has…
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Analysis: Tunisia’s Saied poised for more power but economy crumbles

Analysis: Tunisia’s Saied poised for more power but economy crumbles

TUNIS  (Reuters) - President Kais Saied looks on course to tighten his grip on Tunisia through a constitutional referendum in July, but it could prove to be a poisoned chalice as the economy sinks deeper into crisis and opposition to his rule widens. Nearly a year since Saied began amassing power, the July 25 referendum is widely expected to boost his authority, in what critics see as a march to one-man rule that has unpicked the democratic gains of Tunisia's 2011 "Arab Spring" uprising. For Saied, overhauling the 2014 constitution is a corrective to political dysfunction which had afflicted Tunisia…
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Crisis-hit Ghana changes its mind and turns to IMF for help

Crisis-hit Ghana changes its mind and turns to IMF for help

ACCRA, July 1 (Reuters) - Ghana, one of West Africa's largest economies, will hold formal talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a support package, the government said on Friday, after hundreds took to the streets to protest against mounting hardship. The cabinet gave its support for the decision at a meeting on Thursday, following a phone conversation between President Nana Akufo-Addo and IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. Ghana, a gold, cocoa and oil producer, has until now refused to seek IMF support to rescue an economy crippled by the pandemic, rampant inflation and a depreciating currency, despite analysts warning it…
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UPDATED: Protesters break into Libya’s parliament building in Tobruk

UPDATED: Protesters break into Libya’s parliament building in Tobruk

Protesters broke into Libya's parliament in Tobruk on Friday evening and set a fire in front of the building to express their anger towards Libya's warring political parties, witnesses told Reuters. Security forces protecting the parliament withdrew from the site, the witnesses added. Demonstrations took place on Friday in Tobruk, Benghazi and some smaller towns over a failure of government. Libya has been in chaos since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted Muammar Gaddafi. In 2014, it split between warring eastern and western factions before a peace process beginning in 2020 tried to knit the country back together. However, after…
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Sierra Leone knocks zeros off bank notes in currency re-calibration

Sierra Leone knocks zeros off bank notes in currency re-calibration

FREETOWN, July 1 (Reuters) - Sierra Leone will launch a re-denominated currency on Friday, knocking three zeroes off bank notes but keeping their value unchanged, the central bank said. Financial transactions with the West African country have been suspended since Wednesday in preparation for the re-calibration of the leone currency, Central Bank Governor Kelfala Murana Kallon told Reuters. President Julius Maada Bio will be the first person to use the new notes at a central bank launch event in the capital, Freetown, later on Friday. Authorities say the change will make it easier to carry cash and use it for payments. It also…
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Libya’s NOC announces force majeure over two ports and oilfield

Libya’s NOC announces force majeure over two ports and oilfield

TRIPOLI, June 30 (Reuters) - Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) declared force majeure at Es Sidr and Ras Lanuf ports as well as El Feel oilfield, it said in a statement. The statement added that force majeure is still in effect at the ports of Brega and Zueitina. Production has seen a sharp decline, with daily exports ranging between 365,000 and 409,000 barrels per day (bpd), a decrease of 865,000 bpd compared to production in "normal circumstances", according to the statement. Losses because of the closures exceeded 16 billion Libyan dinars ($3.32 billion), the statement said. The NOC had said on Monday…
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Bodies of 20 migrants found in Libyan desert two weeks after last contact

Bodies of 20 migrants found in Libyan desert two weeks after last contact

The bodies of 20 migrants who got lost in the Libyan desert near Chad have been found, the ambulance service said, showing pictures of them lying around a black pick up truck on the sand. The bodies were discovered by a truck driver travelling through the desert and were recovered on Tuesday about 320 km southwest of Kufra and 120 km from the border with Chad. "The driver got lost ... and we believe the group died in the desert about 14 days ago since the last call on a mobile phone there was on June 13," Kufra ambulance chief…
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Libya talks in Geneva end without breakthrough

Libya talks in Geneva end without breakthrough

Libyan legislative leaders quit talks in Geneva on a constitution and elections without reaching a deal on Thursday, pausing diplomacy to resolve a standoff that has imperilled a two-year peace process. The talks between the House of Representatives and High State Council legislative bodies were aimed at agreeing a constitutional basis and interim arrangements for elections that were originally scheduled for December 2021. Many Libyans fear that a failure to set a path to elections and resolve an existing dispute about control of an interim government will thrust the country back towards territorial division or conflict. Aguila Saleh Issa, Speaker…
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UPDATED: Tunisian president’s critics assail his constitution plan

UPDATED: Tunisian president’s critics assail his constitution plan

TUNIS, July 1 (Reuters) - President Kais Saied is trashing Tunisia's democracy with a draft constitution that he announced overnight and will put to a referendum next month, his critics warned on Friday, accusing him of assuming "royal powers". Saied is remaking the political system after seizing near total executive control last summer, dismissing the parliament and moving to rule by decree in a move his critics call a coup. He says the changes are needed to save Tunisia from a prolonged political and economic crisis and that the new constitution will respect individual freedoms and mark a new Tunisian republic. Abid…
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Congo group tells U.N. woman made to cook and eat human flesh

Congo group tells U.N. woman made to cook and eat human flesh

A Congolese woman was kidnapped twice by militants in the Democratic Republic of Congo, repeatedly raped and forced to cook and eat human flesh, a Congolese rights group told the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday. Julienne Lusenge, president of women's rights group Female Solidarity for Integrated Peace and Development (SOFEPADI), told the woman's story while addressing the 15-member council about the conflict-torn east of Congo. The U.N. Security Council was meeting for a regular briefing on Congo, where heavy fighting between the government and rebel groups since late May has sparked a surge in violence. Lusenge said the woman…
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World Bank to give Egypt $500 million to boost food security

World Bank to give Egypt $500 million to boost food security

CAIRO, June 29 (Reuters) - The World Bank has agreed to provide Egypt with $500 million in development funds to boost food security amid the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine, Egypt's international cooperation ministry said on Wednesday. The funds will primarily support the country's wheat purchases to help the government maintain a strategic reserve and utilize the investments made in raising the country's grain storage capacity, the ministry added.
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Rival Libya leaders meet in Geneva in bid to salvage elections

Rival Libya leaders meet in Geneva in bid to salvage elections

GENEVA (Reuters) - The heads of Libya's two rival legislative chambers met in Geneva on Tuesday for negotiations aimed at restoring a U.N.-led election process that fell apart last December. Agreement on national elections would represent a big step towards stopping another bout of warfare and helping to end a decade of chaos and conflict since the NATO-backed ousting of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Both bodies are recognised under the U.N.-approved 2015 Libyan Political Agreement as the two legislative bodies, but they have been in direct confrontation with each other for most of the period since Libya split between eastern…
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UPDATED: South Africa police investigating at least 22 deaths at East London tavern

UPDATED: South Africa police investigating at least 22 deaths at East London tavern

CAPE TOWN, June 26 (Reuters) - South African authorities are investigating the deaths of at least 22 patrons found inside a popular township tavern close to East London city, provincial health officials said on Sunday. The bodies will be transported to state mortuaries where relatives are expected to help identify both male and female victims, said Siyanda Manana, a spokesperson for the Eastern Cape provincial health department. "We are going to immediately be embarking on autopsies so we can know the probable cause of death," he told Reuters as forensic personnel continued their work at the cordoned-off crime site at…
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Tunisian judges extend strike over sackings for fourth week

Tunisian judges extend strike over sackings for fourth week

Tunisian judges decided to extend their national strike for a fourth week in protest against a decision by President Kais Saied to sack dozens of them, a joint statement by the judges unions in the country said. It said the fourth week of the strike will start on June 27. Saied dismissed 57 judges on June 1, accusing them of corruption and protecting terrorists - charges that the Tunisian Judges' Association said were mostly politically motivated.
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Commonwealth ends summit with call for action on climate change, trade

Commonwealth ends summit with call for action on climate change, trade

The newly-expanded Commonwealth made broad commitments on Saturday to address climate change and boost trade, concluding a summit aimed at shoring up the relevance of a group that evolved from the British empire. The club, whose 56 members range from India to the tiny Pacific island nation of Nauru, covers some 2.5 billion people or about one-third of the world's population. It presents itself as a network for cooperation, but critics say it needs to carve out a more concrete role and be less of a talking shop. The week-long summit in Rwanda's capital Kigali included comments from Britain's Prince…
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18 migrants die in storming of Spanish border in Morocco

18 migrants die in storming of Spanish border in Morocco

MADRID —  Morocco said 18 migrants died trying to cross into Spain's North African enclave of Melilla on Friday, after a violent two-hour skirmish between migrants and border officers that also led to scores of injuries. About 2,000 migrants stormed a high fence that seals off the enclave. This led to clashes with security forces as more than 100 migrants managed to cross from Morocco into Melilla, Moroccan and Spanish authorities said. Morocco's Interior Ministry initially said five migrants had died in the border raid, some after falling from the fence surrounding Melilla and others in a crush, and that…
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Libya’s PM says he supports removal of foreign fighters

Libya’s PM says he supports removal of foreign fighters

Libya's parliament-appointed Prime Minister Fathi Bashagha said on Wednesday his government supported removing all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya, guided by a committee set up to safeguard a ceasefire after the 2014-2020 conflict. In an interview with Reuters in London, where Bashagha is trying to drum up support for his government to take over in Tripoli, the leader said he was a "big supporter" of the 5+5 committee which agreed foreign fighters should be expelled. The 59-year-old said his government in the central coastal city of Sirte had begun its work despite Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah, who was installed as prime…
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Lebanon, Syria, Egypt sign gas import agreement

Lebanon, Syria, Egypt sign gas import agreement

Lebanon, Syria and Egypt on Tuesday signed an agreement to transfer 650 million cubic metres of gas per year from Egypt to Lebanon via Syria at a ceremony at the Lebanese energy ministry in Beirut. The deal would see gas shipped via pipeline to Lebanon's northern Deir Ammar power plant, where it could add some 450 megawatts, equivalent to around four extra hours of power per day to the grid. via Reuters
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Football: Cameroon moves to stamp down on age cheating

Football: Cameroon moves to stamp down on age cheating

Cameroon’s football federation has summoned 44 players from eight different clubs for a hearing next month into alleged age or identity cheating, it said in a statement. They must be accompanied by their club presidents for an investigation to be held in person from July 4-8, the federation said on Monday. All are suspected of "false titles (cheating on age and/or identity) and complicity". "The parties concerned are invited to appear, assisted or not by their counsel, for their hearing," the statement added, saying those who did not appear would face consequences. The hearings are a rare effort in Africa…
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Time is running out for Africa to profit from its gas, IEA says

Time is running out for Africa to profit from its gas, IEA says

LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) - Africa must act quickly to profit from its vast reserves of natural gas that the world will only want until it can shift towards lower carbon technology, the International Energy Agency said on Monday. In its Africa Energy outlook for 2022 published on Monday, the IEA said Africa could be in a position by the end of the decade to export some 30 billion cubic metres (bcm) to Europe, which is currently hungry for gas because it is trying to reduce its reliance on Russia. The group of 31 mostly industrialised countries said in a ground-breaking outlook…
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Saudi crown prince to visit Egypt on regional tour

Saudi crown prince to visit Egypt on regional tour

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will visit Egypt on June 20 as part of a regional tour that includes stops in Jordan and Turkey. Prince Mohammed will meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to discuss issues including the impact of the war in Ukraine on the region, and preparations for U.S. President Joe Biden's trip to Saudi Arabia next month, the sources said.   Saudi authorities did not respond to a request for comment about Prince Mohammed's tour. Saudi Arabia is a close ally of Egypt, and has provided Cairo with extensive financial support since Sisi came to power.…
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Tunisian party says will not recognise any deal with international lenders

Tunisian party says will not recognise any deal with international lenders

TUNIS, (Reuters) - One of Tunisia's main political parties, the Constitutional Free Party, said it would not recognise any agreement that Tunis makes with international lenders in exchange for unpopular reforms, the latest threat to a possible deal with the International Monetary Fund. The director of the Middle East at the IMF, Jihad Azour, will visit Tunisia on Monday and meet President Kais Saied, in an indication that official negotiations could start soon over a rescue package. Tunisia, which faces a financial crisis, is seeking a deal on a $4 billion loan from the IMF in return for an unpopular reform package…
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