Tag Archives: Senegal

Will This Be Germany's First Black Lawmaker?

By John Johnson

It’s tough to figure out what’s more interesting: that Karamba Diaby hopes to become Germany’s first black member of parliament, or the very fact that Germany has never had a black member of parliament. Either way, the 51-year-old immigrant from Senegal wants to make history in September’s general election, reports… …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Newser – Home

Senegal probes drug claims against police director

Senegal says it is investigating allegations that the national police director has been involved in drug trafficking.

A government statement published Thursday says President Macky Sall wants an investigation of Abdoulaye Niang to be completed soon so that “appropriate measures can be taken.”

Abdoulaye Niang served as head of the anti-drug office for 12 years before his transfer to the police force last year. A report prepared by his replacement alleges that during that time, he was implicated in an international drug trafficking ring involving Senegalese and Nigerian dealers.

Niang has not commented on the allegations, first published in local papers this week, and could not be reached Friday.

West Africa is a transit point for Latin American cocaine bound for Europe, but Senegal has had few drug seizures.

…read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Morocco eliminate Tunisia in African Nations Championship

African Nations Championship (CHAN) holders Tunisia were eliminated this weekend in the first qualifying round.

They drew 0-0 away to Morocco in the second leg, but fell 1-0 on aggregate after losing at home last Saturday.

Packed with stars from CAF title-winning clubs Esperance, Etoile Sahel, CS Sfaxien, Club Africain and CA Bizertin, Tunisia were expected to advance.

But a last-minute breakaway goal from striker Abdessamad Mbarki in Mediterranean resort Sousse proved decisive over two defence-dominated games.

Tunisia won the second edition of the tournament for home-based footballers with a 3-0 drubbing of Angola in Sudan two years ago.

But coach Nabil Maaloul chose only goalkeeper Farouk Ben Mustapha from the title-winning squad to confront the Moroccans.

The 16-nation 2014 tournament is scheduled for January 11-February 1 in South Africa and Morocco will appear at the finals for the first time.

South Africa qualify automatically as hosts and Ghana and Libya have secured places after opponents Benin and Algeria withdrew.

Uganda are set to join them after building a 1-0 away advantage over Tanzania in an east Africa derby.

Midfielder Brian Majwega was the architect of the 48th-minute winner, setting up defender Denis Iguma to fire across goalkeeper Juma Kaseja into the net.

Tanzania had more possession in the eagerly anticipated Dar es Salaam showdown, but were let down by woeful finishing.

Mrisho Ngasa was repeatedly off target with long-range shots and striker John Bocco also disappointed when offered scoring opportunities.

It was the third consecutive victory for Serb coach Milutin Sredojevic since succeeding sacked Scot Bobby Williamson as Uganda coach last month.

He guided the ‘Cranes’ to World Cup qualifying wins over Liberia and Angola, and a victory over Senegal during September would take them to the play-offs.

However, Sredojevic cautioned against premature celebrations, especially given the Ugandan habit of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

“By winning the first leg we have got only the passports for South Africa and now we need to get the visas by winning the return match,” he told reporters.

Ethiopia host Rwanda later on Sunday in the remaining fixture this weekend with second-leg fixtures scheduled for late July.

…read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Rebels free 9 hostages in southern Senegal

An official in southern Senegal says rebels have freed nine employees of a South African bomb disposal company who were taken hostage in May.

Cheikh Tidiane Dieng, governor of the Ziguinchor region, says the employees were released Friday afternoon at a location along the border between Senegal and Guinea-Bissau. He says they will be transferred to Senegal in a ceremony Saturday.

Dieng said he did not know if a ransom was paid.

The nine were part of a group of 12 people working to clear mines for the company Denel Mechem who were kidnapped on May 3 by the MFDC rebel group. The rebels have been waging a low-level insurgency in the southern Casamance region for more than a decade.

Three women among the group were released in late May.

…read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Fact Sheet: The Equal Futures Partnership—From Promise To Progress

By The White House

The Promise of Equal Futures

In response to President Obama’s challenge to other heads of state to break down barriers to women’s political and economic participation, on September 24, 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched the Equal Futures Partnership on behalf of the United States along with 12 other founding members (Australia, Benin, Bangladesh, Denmark, Finland, Indonesia, Jordan, the Netherlands, Peru, Senegal, and Tunisia; as well as the European Union). Each founding member made national commitments to policy, legal, and regulatory reforms to promote two mutually reinforcing goals: expanded economic opportunity for women and increased political and civic participation by women at local, state and national levels. Multilateral stakeholders including UN Women and the World Bank and leading businesses and non-profit institutions also pledged support for the partnership.

Moving from Promise to Progress

Following the launch of the initiative, Equal Futures members have worked to identify priorities for action through consultations with civil society and other stakeholders and by establishing coordinating bodies or steering committees to develop and oversee the implementation of Equal Futures commitments. Going forward, Equal Futures countries will report on progress within the Partnership, and evaluate and strengthen commitments to ensure real impact.

Highlights from progress on U.S. commitments:

As a founding member of the Equal Futures Partnership, the United States made commitments in four key areas, and has achieved significant progress in each of these areas. Highlights include:

Opening Doors to Quality Education and High-Paying Career Opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math: Federal agencies and private partners have made great progress on connecting young women to high-quality science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)-related resources. In just seven months, over 20,000 students interacted with 500 women mentors via Harvey Mudd and Piazza’s online platform WitsOn, while the National Science Foundation, Office of Personnel Management, and non-profit partners joined forces to train Federal scientists and engineers on serving as a resource for girls interested in STEM.

Promoting Civic Education and Public Leadership for Girls: The Administration has advanced new efforts to promote girls’ leadership and civic education, including sponsoring an “app challenge,” hosting a conference on girls’ leadership and civic education at the White House with the Department of Education and the Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), and advising on the development of a new initiative, Teach a Girl to Lead (TAG) – featuring online resources and a national speakers’ bureau.

Breaking the Cycle of Violence and Ensuring Economic Security for Survivors of Violence: To ensure that women who are victims of domestic violence are getting the support and tools they need to achieve economic independence, the Administration is now providing training on employment rights to lawyers and consumer advocates, working with state domestic violence coalitions and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to ensure that victims know about employment protections under federal law, and expanding research on domestic violence to include information about economic abuse.

Expanding Support for Women Entrepreneurs: The Administration has strengthened support for women entrepreneurs at

From: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/04/19/fact-sheet-equal-futures-partnership-promise-progress

Senegal ex-president's son charged with corruption

Authorities charged the son of Senegal‘s former president with illicit enrichment Wednesday following a months-long investigation into how he amassed a fortune of more than $1.3 billion.

Karim Wade was ordered held in jail pending his trial, according to his lawyer El Hadj Amadou Sall. Police had detained the 44-year-old former government minister Monday.

Wade’s lawyers have said he is being unjustly accused and vigorously deny the allegations that have long swirled around him. Authorities formally began investigating him not long after his father left office.

Abdoulaye Wade lost a presidential runoff vote in March 2012 and stepped down after 12 years in power, though his quest for a third term in his 80s prompted deadly street protests that unsettled this peaceful democracy on Africa‘s western coast.

The new administration of President Macky Sall has probed several officials from the Wade regime, though the investigation into Karim Wade has been the strongest blow against the ex-president.

Karim Wade‘s popularity had plummeted in the final years of his father’s presidency as Abdoulaye Wade appeared to be grooming his son as a successor.

Senegalese derisively called Karim Wade the “Minister of the Sky and of the Earth” after his father handed him a “super ministry” with responsibility for international relations, development, infrastructure and air transport.

The post gave him control over the key sectors of the Senegalese economy. Wade’s personal fortunate has been estimated at more than $1.3 billion. By comparison, Senegal‘s national gross domestic product was $14.29 billion, according to World Bank statistics.

“We are a country of law, and I think anyone who has had managed the public purse should be monitored by the state because it is the people’s money,” said Amadou Sy, a civil servant.

Youths from Wade’s party have protested outside the police station where he was held, leading officers to fire tear gas earlier this week in an attempt to disperse the crowds.

___

Associated Press writer Mamadou Dia contributed to this report.

From: http://feeds.foxnews.com/~r/foxnews/world/~3/ocx3_ojofN8/

Judges to hear case of Senegal ex-ruler's son

A special prosecutor says a panel of judges will take up the case against the son of Senegal‘s former president.

Karim Wade, whose father left office last year, has been accused of misappropriating state funds.

He is being asked to explain how he managed to amass a personal fortunate of more than $1.3 billion. Wade’s lawyers have vigorously denied the allegations of wrongdoing.

Authorities brought Wade and several of his associates into police custody Monday for questioning and they spent the night there.

Special prosecutor Alioune Ndao said the judges will start looking at the case Wednesday.

Senegalese had called Karim Wade the “Minister of the Sky and of the Earth” after his father handed him a “super ministry” with responsibility for international relations, development, infrastructure and air transport.

From: http://feeds.foxnews.com/~r/foxnews/world/~3/Cd5tEOdsfwQ/

Exclusive: Excerpt from However Long the Night by Aimee Molloy and Molly Melching

By Skoll World Forum, Contributor

In However Long the Night, Aimee Molloy tells the unlikely and inspiring story of Molly Melching, an American woman whose experience as an exchange student in Senegal led her to found Tostan and dedicate almost four decades of her life to the girls and women of Africa. This moving biography details Melching’s beginnings at the University of Dakar and follows her journey through of 40 years of work throughout West and East Africa, where she became a social entrepreneur and one of humanity’s strongest voices for the rights of girls and women.

From: http://www.forbes.com/sites/skollworldforum/2013/04/16/exclusive-excerpt-from-however-long-the-night-by-aimee-molloy-and-molly-melching/

Rogue Wave Capsizes Trans-Atlantic Ocean Rowers

By gCaptain, Subscriber SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Coast Guard rescue crews combined efforts Saturday with the 800-foot Panamanian flag automobile carrier, Heijin, and the 600-foot Russian flag chemical-tank ship, Tanais Leader, to rescue four men attempting to row across the Atlantic Ocean from Senegal to Florida . …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

Capsizing ends trans-Atlantic rowing attempt

Two Canadians and two Americans attempting a trans-Atlantic expedition have been rescued after a rogue wave apparently capsized their boat after 73 days at sea.

The U.S. Coast Guard said Sunday that the four rowers were rescued from waters some 400 miles (645 kilometers) north of Puerto Rico.

The group includes Adam Kreek, a Canadian Olympic rowing gold medalist. They were attempting to row between Senegal and Miami.

The men took to a life raft Saturday after their ocean rowboat “James Robert Hanssen” overturned and could not be righted. They donned life jackets and set off a personal locator beacon.

Guard crews located the men some five hours after getting a distress signal and a cargo ship later picked up the rowers. They are being transported to Puerto Rico.

…read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

President Obama Meets with Leaders of Sierra Leone, Senegal, Malawi, and Cape Verde

By Grant T. Harris

Today President Obama welcomed President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, President Macky Sall of Senegal, President Joyce Banda of Malawi, and Prime Minister José Maria Pereira Neves of Cape Verde to the White House. The United States has strong partnerships with these countries based on shared democratic values and shared interests. Each of these leaders has undertaken significant efforts to strengthen democratic institutions, protect and expand human rights and civil liberties, and increase economic opportunities for their people.

President Obama and the visiting leaders discussed how the United States can expand our partnership to support their efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and promote economic opportunity, both in their countries and across sub-Saharan Africa. A particular focus of the conversation was on the importance of transparency and respect for human rights, and President Obama commended each leader for their work in these areas and their commitment to join the Open Government Partnership. President Obama also commended these leaders for their leadership on food security and engaged the leaders in a fruitful conversation about how the United States can help Africa harness the potential of its young people and empower the next generation of African leaders.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at The White House

Remarks by the President After Meeting with African Leaders

By The White House

Cabinet Room

3:45 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Well, it is a great pleasure to welcome four leaders from Africa, all of whom are doing extraordinary work — President Sall from Senegal, President Banda from Malawi, President Koroma from Sierra Leone, and Prime Minister Neves from Cape Verde.

The reason that I'm meeting with these four is they exemplify the progress that we're seeing in Africa. All of them have had to deal with some extraordinary challenges. Sierra Leone just 10 years ago was in the midst of as brutal a civil war as we've ever seen. And yet, now we've seen consecutive fair and free elections. And under President Koroma's leadership, we've seen not only good governance, but also significant economic growth.

When you talk about Malawi, there was a constitutional crisis just last year. And yet, President Banda has not only been able to be in office and make sure that constitutional order was restored, but has also made significant progress on behalf of her people. And her personal story of overcoming a history of abuse and leading women throughout her country I think indicates the kind of progress that can be made when you've got strong leadership.

The same is true for His Excellency President Sall. There were some bumps in the road in terms of transition from the previous President, and yet, the Senegalese rose up at the grassroots level and sustained their democracy.

And Cape Verde is a real success story. We were hearing from Prime Minister Neves about the fact that just in a few decades they have moved from a per capita income of maybe $200 a year to now $4,000 a year, and are now moving into the middle of the pack in terms of development levels because of good governance and management.

So what our discussion has focused on is, number one, how do we continue to build on strong democracies; how do we continue to build on transparency and accountability. Because what we've learned over the last several decades is that when you've got good governance — when you have democracies that work, sound management of public funds, transparency and accountability to the citizens that put leaders in place — it turns out that that is not only good for the state and the functioning of government, it's also good for economic development because it gives people confidence, it attracts business, it facilitates trade and commerce.

And all of these leaders have good stories to tell on that. They recognize that there’s still more work to be done, and so I’m very pleased that all of them are looking to move forward on the Open Government Partnership that we helped to organize through the United Nations several years ago, and that we are now seeing countries from all across the world sign up for — setting up international norms for accountability and transparency that can lead to good governance.

We also talked about the …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at The White House Press Office

Senegal ex-ruler's son accused of amassing fortune

Senegal‘s special prosecutor charged with investigating the embezzlement of state funds has asked the son of Senegal‘s ex-president to justify a fortune that he estimates is worth up to 694 billion West African francs, equal to more than $1.3 billion.

Karim Wade‘s lawyer told reporters his client is accused of owning companies in Senegal, as well as in Niger, Ghana, Jordan and Equatorial Guinea. Lawyer El Hadj Amadou Sall said Friday that his client is being unjustly accused.

Supporters of the former regime clashed briefly with police, who fired a few rounds of tear gas in front of the building where the proceedings were occurring. President Abdoulaye Wade was trounced in last year’s election, and one of the opposition’s rallying cries was, “Y en a marre,” meaning, “We’ve had enough.”

…read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

3 students set fire to themselves in Senegal

A student leader said that three university students set fire to themselves on the campus of Senegal‘s largest university to protest changes in the way credits are being counted in the college’s geography department.

Seydou Niang, who organized a weeklong hunger strike, said that three of his classmates doused themselves in gasoline and set themselves alight on Friday. Niang spoke on the telephone from the hospital, where he had accompanied the three. He said all three had survived, but one had suffered severe burns and was in intensive care.

The University of Cheikh Anta Diop was once one of the most prestigious universities in West Africa. It has fallen into disrepair and the campus is frequently immobilized both by student protests and strikes by the low-paid professors.

…read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

4-story building collapses in Senegal, killing 2

Ibrahim Balde knew his place. He was the newest member of the construction crew, expected to do the hardest tasks for the lowest pay. So when he showed up for work on Friday morning, he went to take his place on the ground floor, at the bottom of the pulley used to yank buckets of cement up the four stories of the apartment complex they were building.

He was surprised and touched when his fellow crew member decided to give 20-year-old Balde a break, telling him to go to the top of the building and unload the buckets of cement, a far lighter and less-tiring task. It was that act of kindness that saved Balde: On the fourth floor when the building began to shake, Balde first fell with the structure, then regained his footing and succeeded in leaping off. The building crumpled beneath him, killing two members of the construction crew, including the young man who had traded places with him earlier.

It’s the latest loss of life due to a building collapse in this part of Africa, where regulation is lax and officials are easily bribed. Last November, a housing goods store crumbled in Ghana, killing at least 17.

The four-story building was only permitted to be half as tall, said Omar Samb Gueye, the local chief in the Ouakam neighborhood, a former fishing village which has become part of Dakar’s urban sprawl. He confirmed that two people were killed when the building fell between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Friday. Gueye blamed badly-executed and hasty construction for the tragedy.

“It’s due to a defect in the way the building was constructed,” he said. “There’s no cement. Look,” he said pointing to the rubble, which appeared to consist mostly of cinderblocks, a sand-like filling and metal wiring. “I’m not a mason, but even I can tell that it’s bad construction.”

Balde was hired a month ago and agreed to work for $4 a day doing whatever the foreman asked. He was brought on after his friend, the foreman’s son, put in a good word for him. And for the first month — up until Friday — his job had consisted almost exclusively of hauling bags of cement to the mouth of the large bucket. Then filling the bucket, and then yanking the pulley until the bucket ascended, a job that he said left his arms tingling by the end of the day and the palms of his hands as hard as wood.

“I was …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

It's International Women's Day: How Do We Compare on Fiscal Equality?

By Bruce Watson

Women's pay

Filed under: , , , , ,

When it comes to best places in the world to be a woman, it’s not surprising that the U.S. falls behind nations like Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. Scandinavian countries, after all, are famed for their impressive social contracts, with the amazing health care and child care benefits that they provide. But you might be shocked to learn that in at least one key metric, American women are being surpassed by those in Mozambique, Mali, Senegal, Tanzania, and 13 other developing nations.

The World Economic Forum’s 2012 report on the global gender gap ranked the U.S. as the 22nd best country in the world. But when it comes to wage equality, the land of the free and the home of the brave drops to 61st, behind Madagascar, Cambodia and Guyana. Women in America earned 67 percent of what men earned. By comparison, women in Sweden earned 69 percent, women in Canada earned 73 percent, and women in Ireland earned 77 percent.

Dig a little deeper into the numbers and it becomes clear what least part of the problem is. In many countries, unmarried women earn more than unmarried men. In Ireland, for example, the average woman without a child earns 17 percent more than the average man. After having children, however, Irish women make more than 10 percent less, on average, than men. In America, the female-to-male pay gap jumps by almost 15 percentage points after children enter the picture.

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The reasons for this decline in wages aren’t hard to figure out. Women with children are more likely to leave the workforce, work part time, or otherwise adjust their schedules to deal with child care. Added to this, the high cost of raising a child — a cost that inordinately falls on women — further cuts into household budgets.

In some countries, there are programs to mitigate these factors. Ireland, for example, has government-mandated paid maternity leave. Then again, so does every other country in the world, except for Papua New Guinea, Swaziland … and the U.S.

And these aren’t the only areas in which the U.S. falls well behind the pack. In terms of labor force participation based on gender, the U.S. is 43rd in the world, behind Uganda, Mongolia and Benin. Put another way, 68 percent of able-bodied, adult American women are at work, while 80 percent of able-bodied, adult American men are at work.

Part of this, again, is due to child-rearing, as America’s lack of publicly-funded child care makes it harder for women in this country to juggle family and work. And the situation looks like it’s going to get worse before it gets better. As The International Business Times reported earlier this week, the sequester budget cuts will further erode women’s health care programs, Head …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Health worker killings show north Nigeria dangers

North Korean doctors hacked to death by machete-wielding attackers. Women vaccinating children against polio gunned down in the street. A top Islamic cleric, whose predecessors once served as ultimate rulers in the region, nearly killed in an ambush.

These recent attacks in northern Nigeria show the changing tactics of Islamic extremists here and continuing dangers facing Africa‘s most populous nation, despite a buildup of soldiers and police officers, door-to-door searches by security forces and mass arrests. As the killings continue, analysts believe the fighters, likely part of the amorphous Islamic sect known as Boko Haram, slip easily in and out of Nigeria to launch attacks — putting other West African nations at risk.

“It means Nigeria‘s problem will become another country’s problem, such as Mali, Cameroon or Niger, or smaller countries like Guinea, Burkina Faso and Senegal,” wrote analyst Jacob Zenn in a January publication by the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. “Like northern Nigeria, these countries have majority Muslim populations, artificial borders, ethnic conflicts, insufficient educational and career opportunities for youths and fragile democratic institutions.”

On Sunday, officials found the corpses of three North Korean doctors in Potiskum, a town in Nigeria‘s Yobe state, about 500 kilometers (300 miles) northeast of the nation’s central capital, Abuja. Two had their throats slit, while one had been beheaded by attackers, according to an Associated Press journalist who saw the corpses at a local hospital.

Those killings came quickly after gunmen shot dead at least nine female polio vaccinators Friday in Kano, the most populous city of Nigeria‘s predominantly Muslim north. A previous attack on a polio clinic in October in the city killed two police officers on guard there and highlighted the continuing suspicion some in the north have regarding the vaccines. A 2003 polio outbreak in Nigeria‘s north that spread across the world started from Islamic leaders claiming the vaccine would sterilize young Muslim girls — rumors that persist today in a nation that is one of three in the world where the virus remains endemic.

Despite a promise by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan that the government would protect health workers after Friday’s shooting, attackers killed the North Koreans and apparently slipped away undetected Saturday night. That led to questions Monday among residents of Potiskum who wondered how safe they are, despite a dusk-till-dawn curfew in the town and soldiers on manning checkpoints there.

“It is really unfortunate this is occurring in an area with a full military and police operation,” resident Abdullahi …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Senegal tribunal to try ex-Chad dictator begins

Senegal officially launched its tribunal investigating former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre for alleged crimes against humanity on Friday, a move rights groups called a decisive turning point in the campaign to bring him to justice.

The tribunal, authorized by the African Union and approved by a vote in Senegal‘s parliament, marks a major step toward Africa dealing with its own alleged war criminals. Court administrator Cire Aly Ba announced the commencement of the work Friday.

“We are going to have a fair and just process,” Ba said. “We also need to think about all of the victims who could not be here to experience these moments.”

Habre faces accusations of torture, crimes against humanity and war crimes during his rule of Chad from 1982 to 1990. He has enjoyed 22 years of impunity after fleeing to Senegal — leaving behind a country strewn with mass graves.

A Chadian truth commission has accused Habre of more than 40,000 political killings during his eight-year rule, and a court there already has sentenced him to death in absentia.

“I have awaited this day for 22 years,” said Souleymane Guengueng, who suffered for three years in prison under Habre and who was a founder for the Association of Victims of the Crimes of Hissene Habre‘s Regime. “I want to see Habre brought to justice before more victims die.”

Alioune Tine, the president of a Senegalese rights group said the country can hold its head high today.

“My country is setting an example for the rest of Africa in proving that Africans can take care of their own problems,” Tine said.

Senegal‘s parliament adopted a law in December that created the special tribunal to try Habre, the first step to end his impunity. Rights groups have been pushing Senegal for decades to try Habre, and the regime of ex-President Abdoulaye Wade, who was ousted in this year’s election, was accused of purposely dragging its feet.

In 2005, Belgium indicted Habre based on complaints filed there by survivors of his regime. Brussels then brought Senegal before the court in The Hague after Senegalese authorities failed to extradite him. Belgium has offered to help finance the cost of special African tribunals within Senegal‘s court system.

…read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Mali crisis exposes divisions within Muslim world

The president of Senegal commended France on Wednesday for its military intervention in Mali against Islamist militants, telling leaders of fellow Muslim nations that they cannot allow “a minority of terrorists to commit crimes, distort our faith and deepen hatred for Islam.”

Macky Sall‘s opening address laid bare the divisions among the nations taking part in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s two-day summit in Cairo, which brings together leaders from across the Muslim world.

The French-led military intervention in Mali, which includes forces from Senegal, is aimed at driving Islamist militants from the territory they have overrun in northern Mali in recent months.

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who is hosting the conference, has repeatedly denounced France‘s operation in Mali, saying Paris‘ action there would lead to the development of a hotspot in the area and lay the seeds for a wider and bloodier conflict. Morsi’s Islamist allies at home have demonstrated outside the French embassy in Cairo to protest French intervention.

Addressing the conference on Wednesday, Morsi did not directly condemn the French intervention, but made clear that Cairo did not favor military actions in Mali.

“We call for a comprehensive approach to deal with the situation there and any similar case” he said. “An approach that deals with all the different aspects of the crisis and its political, developmental and intellectual roots while safeguarding human rights.”

The deepest division in the Islamic world runs along the faith’s Sunni-Shiite fault line, a rift that was on full display during a meeting on the eve of the summit by its most high profile participant — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, the region’s Shiite power.

Sunni-Shiite tensions dominated talks between Ahmadinejad and Egypt‘s most prominent cleric, Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb, who upbraided the Iranian leader on a string of issues and warned against Iranian interference in Gulf nations, particularly Bahrain, where the ruling Sunni minority has faced protests by the Shiite majority.

El-Tayeb said attempts to spread Shiite Islam in mainly Sunni Arab nations were unacceptable and called for a halt to bloodshed in Syria, where Tehran’s ally President Bashar Assad has been battling mainly Sunni rebels, according to a statement by Al-Azhar about the meeting.

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Tanker, crew hijacked off Ivory Coast freed

A French company that had one of its diesel tankers and a crew of 17 sailors hijacked off Ivory Coast say their vessel and workers are now free.

SEA Tankers issued a statement Wednesday saying the M/T Gascogne was now free. The company said two of the 17 sailors had been injured in the hijacking, but were receiving medical attention.

The company did not say how or where the ship was freed.

The ship was hijacked by pirates Sunday off Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast. Government officials there had said the crew included seven sailors from Togo, four from Benin, two from Ivory Coast, two from Senegal and one apiece from China and South Korea.

Pirate attacks in West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea have increased in recent years.

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News