Daily Archives: March 31, 2018


ORAN, Algeria- Chinese oil and gas enterprises show great interest in investing in Algeria, at the just-concluded North Africa Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (NAPEC).

As many as 40 Chinese companies took part in this year’s event, said Zoe Zuo, general manager of Beijing CEW International Fair, as well as, director of the China pavilion in NAPEC.

The exhibition conference was held in Oran, 400 km west of Algiers, from Mar 25 to 28.

The organiser of the event, Yacini Jaafar, said, “Our Chinese partner CEW brought 37 Chinese companies. The Chinese presence is the largest after France, and more Chinese companies show great interest in investing in Algeria.”

Yacini said, “Algeria is an attractive country, and Chinese companies have started to understand how things work here.” In addition, “Chinese firms are competitive in the oil and gas field, and enjoy some experience in Algeria,” Yacini added.

Xinmi Wanli Industry Development, a Chinese company specialising in petrochemical products, participated in NAPEC for the first time this year.

Its Middle East and North Africa regional manager, Jacky Zheng, said, the company has made several contacts with other exhibitors and wishes to get final contracts.

“You know, in the oil and gas field, it takes a lot of patience. We have established contacts and we hope to achieve good business in the future in this north African country,” Zheng said.

The pipelines manufacturing firm, Fengbao Industry, the third largest of its kind in China, has already established trade ties with Algerian energy group, Sonatrach, its business manager, Sunny Zhou, said.

NAPEC is the largest international Oil and Gas Exhibition and Conference in Africa, dedicated to hydrocarbon and energy professionals, including technology and service providers.

This year’s event was attended by 170 foreign companies from 40 countries, including energy giants, such as, Total, Repsol, Statoil, Cepsa, Anadarko, Schlumberger, Etap and Noc.


No April Fools’ Joke: Chinese Space Station Expected to Crash April 1, Early April 2

China’s Tiangong-1 space station that is hurdling toward Earth should re-enter Earth’s atmosphere around 8:10 p.m. EDT April 1, give or take 2.5 hours, according to the latest prediction from California-based Aerospace Corp.

Most of the 8.5-ton spacecraft the size of a school bus is expected to burn up on re-entry, posing a slight threat to people on the ground, scientists said.

The re-entry area covers huge parts of the Earth’s oceans, so any surviving pieces of the space station are most likely to end up at the bottom of the sea.

Most of the United States, Africa, southern Europe, Australia and South America are within the range of 43 degrees north and 43 degree south, where the space station is expected to crash. Out of range: Russia, Canada and northern Europe.

Tiangong-1, called “Heavenly Palace,” is the largest manmade object to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere in a decade. It was first launched in 2011 as a facility for testing docking capabilities with other Chinese spacecraft and to explore the possibilities for building a larger permanent space station by 2023.

Source: Voice of America

Ministry of Foreign Affairs announcement on a statement regarding Imia made by the spokesperson of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The legal status of Imia is firmly established. Greek sovereignty over Imia is a given and beyond doubt.

Turkey is mistaken if it thinks it can violate international law in the Aegean without consequences, as it does in other places in its environs.

We would advise Turkey to measure its words.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic

Sierra Leone Presidential Runoff Calm; Low Turnout Reported

Voting in Sierra Leone’s presidential runoff election seemed peaceful Saturday during the Easter holiday weekend, as citizens hoped to complete a process started on March 7.

The current president, Ernest Bai Koroma, is stepping down this year after serving two five-year terms.

Voters Saturday are casting ballots for either the ruling All Peoples Congress Party’s presidential candidate Dr. Samura Matthew Wilson Kamara, or the Sierra Leone People’s Party presidential candidate, Julius Maada Bio.

This is the second time opposition candidate Bio has run for the country’s top government job. He lost the 2012 election to President Koroma.

Reports said turnout seemed lower than in the first round of voting, possibly because of heavy security precautions. News agency reports that driving is banned, forcing voters to walk to their polling stations.

Saturday’s runoff was delayed for four days by a court challenge to the first-round results. The challenge cited “irregularities” that resulted in a temporary injunction to give the election commission more time to prepare.

The new president will have to contend with issues such as rebuilding after the country’s devastating Ebola virus epidemic of 2014-2016, as well as a mudslide in August that killed an estimated 1,000 people in the nation’s capital, Freetown.

Source: Voice of America

Malian Jihadist Handed Over to ICC on War Crimes Charges

A Malian jihadist was arrested Saturday and handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face war crimes charges for the destruction of Timbuktu and sex slavery, the tribunal said.

Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud was detained by the Malian authorities and has now arrived at the tribunal’s detention center in The Hague, the court said in a late-night statement.

The 40-year-old is alleged to have been a member of the al-Qaida linked Ansar Dine and the de facto chief of the Islamic police from April 2012 to January 2013.

Charges: war crimes, crimes against humanity

He faces charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for the destruction of the holy shrines of Timbuktu between 2012-2013 as well as accusations of rape and forced marriage.

Hassan allegedly participated in the policy of forced marriages which victimized the female inhabitants of Timbuktu and led to repeated rapes and the sexual enslavement of women and girls, the court said in a statement.

His detention sends a strong message to all those, wherever they are, who commit crimes which shock the conscience of humanity that my office remains steadfast in the pursuit of its mandate, chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said.

Hassan’s arrest came four days after the court issued an international warrant for his arrest.

Prosecutors allege that he committed crimes against humanity and war crimes in Timbuktu, Mali, between April 2012 and January 2013.

The charges against him are representative of the criminality and resulting victimization of the population during this period, Bensouda added.

Second Islamic extremist

He will be only the second Islamic extremist to face trial at the ICC after war crimes judges in 2016 jailed another Malian for nine years, when he pleaded guilty to demolishing Timbuktu’s fabled shrines in 2012.

The landmark ruling at the world’s only permanent war crimes court was seen as a warning that destroying mankind’s heritage will not go unpunished.

In its first case to focus on cultural destruction as a war crime, the ICC found Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi guilty of directing attacks on the UNESCO world heritage site during the jihadist takeover of northern Mali in 2012.

Mahdi supervised the destruction and gave instructions to the attackers who took pickaxes and bulldozers to the centuries-old shrines, presiding judge Raul Pangalangan told the tribunal.

Hassan, a member of the Turag tribe, however has been further charged with persecution on both religious and gender grounds; rape and sexual slavery committed in the context of forced marriages; torture and other inhuman acts, the court said in a statement late Saturday.

The ICC opened in 2002 to try the world’s worst crimes in places where national courts are unable or unwilling to prosecute alleged perpetrators.

Timbuktu: ‘City of 333 saints’

Founded between the fifth and 12th centuries by Tuareg tribes, Timbuktu has been dubbed the city of 333 saints for the number of Muslim sages buried there.

Revered as a center of Islamic learning during its golden age in the 15th and 16th centuries, it was however considered idolatrous by the extremist jihadists who swept across Mali’s remote north in early 2012.

The landmark 2016 verdict by the ICC against Mahdi was the first arising out of the conflict in Mali, and the first time a jihadist sat in the dock at the court.

Hassan is not expected to appear in court for a few days, given the long Easter weekend, a court spokesman told AFP.

The court alleges he played a prominent role in the commission of crimes and religious and gender-based persecution by … armed groups against the civilian population of Timbuktu, when it was under the control of armed groups linked to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Source: Voice of America