Archive for March, 2013

Mali Tuaregs say nine killed



 AFP/File Joel Saget

Clashes in northern Mali between a Tuareg separatist group and jihadist fighters have left nine dead, Tuareg officials said Saturday.

The fighting pitted Al Qaeda-linked Islamist groups against the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) — a secular separatist Tuareg group that currently supports the government.

“After the fighting, we recorded four dead and two wounded in our own ranks… There were five dead on their side,” Mohamed Ibrahim Ag Assaleh, a top MNLA official based in neighbouring Burkina Faso, told AFP.


Morocco tightens border security against influx of Al Qaida from Mali

Special to

CAIRO — Morocco, fearing Al Qaida infiltration, has intensified border security.

Security sources said the North African kingdom has deployed additional troops along its border with neighboring Algeria amid the war in Mali. They said the military and Gendarmerie has been alerted to the prospect that hundreds of Al Qaida fighters could flee Mali and Algeria for Morocco.

Moroccan Gendarmerie.

“There is an alert throughout the region regarding Al Qaida,” a security
source said.

So far, Morocco has not reported an influx of Al Qaida Organization in
the Islamic Maghreb. In 2013, however, Moroccan intelligence units
intercepted and detained several alleged AQIM networks believed to have
recruited Moroccans to fight in Mali and Syria. (more…)

Youssef Amrani : “Les divergences du Maroc avec l’Algérie ne sont pas une fatalité”



Par Youssef Aït Akdim

Youssef Amrani est un technocrate, membre de l'Istiqlal.Youssef Amrani est un technocrate, membre de l’Istiqlal. © Hassan Ouazzani/J.A

Diplomate expérimenté, le ministre marocain délégué aux Affaires étrangères joue un rôle de premier plan dans les dossiers de l’heure, notamment la guerre au Mali.

Depuis janvier 2012, le ministre marocain délégué aux Affaires étrangères joue le rôle de vigie de la diplomatie marocaine. À 59 ans, Youssef Amranifait la paire avec l’islamiste Saadeddine El Othmani, au profil plus partisan. Né à Tanger, cet homme de dossiers a longtemps cultivé un attachement au monde hispanophone. De 1992 à 1996, il a été consul général à Barcelone, puis ambassadeur en Colombie, au Chili et au Mexique. Directeur des relations bilatérales (2003), il est promu secrétaire général du ministère (2008), puis de l’Union pour la Méditerranée (2011), de nouveau à Barcelone. Ce technocrate (encarté à l’Istiqlal) occupe donc un rôle de premier plan dans tous les dossiers de l’heure (Mali, Sahara), au moment où le royaume boucle sa deuxième année au Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU. (more…)

Green meteorite found in Morocco likely from Mercury


A green space rock that landed in Morocco in 2012 is likely from Mercury, scientists say.Mercury meteorite moroccoENLARGE

This green meteorite, found in Morocco in 2012, may be from Mercury. (Stefan Ralew/
What do you think?

Women Unionists of the Arab Spring Battle Two Foes: Sexism and Neoliberalism



Thirty-three women trade unionists from the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and North America met in Tunis on March 23-24 to discuss strategies for women in labor in the wake of the Arab Spring (Photo from Public Services International).

This year’s World Social Forum, a transnational gathering of social activists, took place in Tunis, a city bubbling with unrest as it struggles to shake off a legacy of authoritarian rule while navigating tensions over women’s rights, labor and nationalism. At the gates of the gathering last week, these faultlines became starkly apparent when a caravan of trade unionists and rights advocates found themselves unexpectedly blockaded. Border police, under official orders, refused entry to a delegation of 96 Algerian activists that included members of the embattled union SNAPAP, known for its militancy and inclusion of women as leaders and front-line protesters. (more…)

Christopher Ross bushed before his new North Africa tour

Polisario Confidential

Written by Khalid Ibrahim Khaled

On the eve of his new tour in the Maghreb, the UN mediator in the Western Sahara issue, Christopher Ross, seems quite bushed to see his hope to bring the negotiations process out of the deadlock frustrated by an insurmountable wall.

On the one hand, Christopher Ross who starts his tour in Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania on March 20 knows that the head of the Moroccan government, the Islamist Abdelilah Benkirane, has clear cut positions on the issue. (more…)

Regional challenges: what Japan can do to help

The second session dealt with Africa’s regional challenges and development in the overall African economy. Ambassadors Ito, Comberbach and Arrour were joined by Ambassador Wasswa Biriggwa of Uganda, chairman of the ADC TICAD Committee; Ambassador Godwin N. Agbo of Nigeria, vice chairman of the ADC Trade and Investment Committee; and Ambassador Joao Miguel Vahekeni of Angola, also a vice chairman of the ADC Trade and Investment Committee. Japan Times Managing Editor Kitazume continued as the moderator. Excerpts of their discussion follow:

Moderator: When we say Africa or the African economy, the fact of the matter is that it’s not one country. Every country has its own situation, prospects and challenges, and there will also be regional characteristics in the economy and its current development. Please tell us the current situation of each of your countries and in the respective regions. (more…)

Plane completely solar powered ready to fly coast-to-coast then around the world

By Bruce Newman

MOUNTAIN VIEW — Bertrand Piccard was flying from Morocco to Spain last year — finishing up another highly successful test of Solar Impulse, the revolutionary airplane he helped design that gets all its power from the sun — when he made a profoundly disturbing discovery: he was actually flying backwards.

At 3,500 pounds, Solar Impulse weighs less than a Hyundai, and its four motors each generate only 10 horsepower, about the same as a motor scooter. Its trim body design makes the plane highly susceptible to headwinds, which at that moment meant Piccard and his Pterodactyl-shaped solar array were at 27,000 feet, going in reverse. “That was an interesting experience, quite strange to live,” Piccard said Thursday at (more…)

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