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New Era Newspaper Monday July 17, 2017

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16 AFRICA

16 AFRICA Monday, July 17 2017 | NEW ERA oroccans ye Spanish nclave across iny border Aluring… A picture taken on June 27, 2016, shows Penon de Velez de la Gomera, a peninsula within Spanish territory, off the coast of Morocco’s Al-Hoceima national park. ERVE BAR, BADES t’s one of the shortest land borders in the world: a few dozen metres of lastic cord across a sandbank eparate Morocco from the iny Spanish enclave of Peon de Velez de la Gomera. ooden boats lie amid nets orn by seawater at the oot of the imposing minieninsula, home to a Spanish ilitary base. “Don’t approach the tring!” a Moroccan soldier houted from a pillbox, his elmet askew. “They might hoot you with plastic bulets,” he said in a lower tone f voice, before retreating o the shade of his wooden helter on a slope facing the editerranean. Penon de Velez de la omera is one of seven panish enclaves on the orthern coast of Morocco, which claims sovereignty over all of them. The best known are Ceuta, which overlooks the strategically vital Strait of Gibraltar, and Melilla, further to the east. But a string of islets remain under Spanish control, including several occupied by Spanish forces. These tiny leftovers of Spain’s once vast empire have been a source of tension between Morocco and its former colonial occupier. One of them, Perejil -- known to Moroccans as Leila -- was at the heart of an angry spat between the two countries 15 years ago this week. A handful of Moroccan soldiers briefly took over the outcrop just 200 metres (yards) off the coast in 2002. The incident ended with a bloodless intervention by Spanish commandos. But today, the topic of Madrid’s enclaves receives little attention. Local press reports say “things have changed”, and the two are now close partners. “Here we don’t have any real problem with the Spaniards, even though it’s as if our village is occupied,” said Hamed Aharouch, 27. Aharouch sat on a plastic chair outside his fisherman’s hut in the hamlet of Bades, a stone’s throw from the Spanish base. Perched at the end of a dusty track crisscrossing the mountains of Al-Hoceima national park, Bades seems to lie at the end of the world. The Spanish peninsula, 87 metres (280 feet) at its highest point, dominates the bay, an enchanting cove of blue waters hemmed in by rocky slopes. Spain’s gold and red flag flies above the fortress which its forces have held since the 16th century. Military helicopters fly in to a landing pad part way down the slope, and below it, a guard peered from an observation post. Once separated from the mainland by a narrow strip of water, Penon is now linked by an isthmus of grey sand. “It seems the Spaniards want to put up a fence in place of the string,” said Aharouch. “We don’t agree to that -- it would be oppression. Already we can’t approach. In any case there’s nothing we can say,” he added, smoking his pipe. “The (Moroccan) state prevents us from doing anything. Even our own soldiers shout at us if we get too close to the string.” In August 2012, a group of Moroccan activists climbed onto the rock, and were chased away by Spanish soldiers. The incident went no further. But since the Perejil crisis, residents say they have had almost no contact with Spanish forces. It is a long time since the occupiers of the Penon played football with the village children or bought fish from the fishermen. “The Spaniards threaten us with their weapons,” grumbled Ali El-Guedouch, 55. “There shouldn’t be that damned border in the middle of our village. “I used to fish on the rock – today that’s impossible,” he said, although he conceded that “if the commander of the Photo: Nampa/AFP garrison is nice, you can still approach with your boat”. It is hard to imagine today, but Bades was historically an active port, a point of passage between Europe and the Moroccan imperial capital of Fes. The main trade today is trafficking cannabis towards Spain, as evidenced by the remains of a speedboat intercepted by the coastguard and abandoned on the beach. According to the fishermen, their main problem is isolation. “We have become destitute. We survive just on fishing,” said El-Guedouch. “There’s nothing left here. Just a few tourists in the summer, who kill us a little more with their rubbish everywhere. It’s as if we’re neither in Morocco nor in Spain.” – Nampa/AFP City of Windhoek Vision: To be a Caring and Smart City by 2022 PUBLIC NOTICE STATUS OF ROAD UPGRADING PROJECT IN THE NORTHERN SUBURBS COLLECTOR ROADS TO BITUMEN STANDARD - PHASE 2 The public is hereby informed that the project for road upgrading in the Northern Suburbs of the City has been put on hold due to the termination of the current contract for non-performance as of 17 May 2017. The project mainly comprises of the upgrading of existing gravel roads to bitumen standard (tar) in the suburbs of Goreangab and Havana. The affected streets are: Lucia, Tolla, Outapi and Monte Christo, Matshitshi, Bethanie and Walvis / Omutula Streets. In the meantime, the City of Windhoek will continue with the routine maintenance and general safety until the new contractor has been appointed. Road users are therefore urged to adhere to the traffic signage and speed restrictions around the affected areas. We appreciate the public’s full cooperation and we apologize for the inconvenience caused. The City of Windhoek continues to ensure that municipal services are rendered in an effective and efficient manner thus enhancing the quality of life of all our people. Issued by: Office of the Chief Executive Officer Corporate Communications, Marketing, Tourism and Customer Care Tel: +264 61 290 2365 / 2044 Fax: +264 61 290 2344 E-mail: communication@windhoekcc.org.na Opposition cries foul as Congo votes for parliament BRAZZAVILLE Congo voters go to the polls yesterday in legislative elections in the oilrich African country, the first since violence-marred presidential polls last year which returned Denis Sassou Nguesso to power. While no fresh violence is expected opposition parties have cried foul, as over 2 million voters are expected to cast their ballots in the first round of polling in Congo-Brazzaville to elect National Assembly members as well as local councils. Sassou Nguesso returned to office in March 2016 after a constitutional referendum ended a two-term presidential term limit, amid deadly violence notably in the Pool region neighbouring the capital Brazzaville. On Sunday the 73-year-old president’s ruling Congolese Labour Party (PCT) is running 128 candidates for the 151 seats available, while several independent candidates have close ties to the party. The main parliamentary opposition group, the Pan-African Union for Social Democracy (UPADS), has put forward 43 candidates, compared to 31 run by the UDH-Yuki group of Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas, who came second in the presidentials last year. But an opposition coalition comprising the IDC, the FROCAD and the CJ3M has said it will only take part under certain circumstances, including “the end of the crisis in Pool and the release of all political prisoners”. Two leaders of the coalition, Jean- Marie Michel Mokoko and Andre Okombi Salissa, were arrested and jailed in June 2016 and in January “for threatening the internal security of the state”. However, the head of the Independent National Election Commission (CNEI), Henri Bouka, insisted voting will be held nationwide, including in Pool. “No (constituency) will be left out”, he said. “Campaigning has been carried out normally,” Django Cissoko, head of a 50-strong African Union observer mission said Friday. But UPADS spokesman Daniel Tsoumou Ngouaka said the ruling party had an unfair advantage. “It’s a one-way campaign because the PCT has controlled all the state media, leaving no space for others,” he said. “The PCT drew on public funds to the campaign of its candidates and its allies. It’s unacceptable,” added Christophe Moukoueke, spokesman for a collective of opposition parties which has called for a boycott of Sunday’s polls. Sassou Nguesso, a former paratrooper, served as president from 1979 to 1992, returning to power in 1997 following a civil war. He won two successive terms in elections in 2002 and 2009, both of which were disputed by opposition parties. Congo has substantial deposits of oil, timber and diamonds, but oil production remains its most important economic sector, and Congo is the fourth biggest producer in sub-Saharan Africa. Dwindling reserves and civil wars that have ravaged the economy has slowed growth. Almost half the population of 4.5 million people still lives in poverty, and according to World Bank data. The second round of legislative polls will be held on July 30. – Nampa/AFP

Monday, July 17 2017 | NEW ERA WORLD 17 4 killed, 6 missing in Gujarat amid monsoon floods AHMEDABAD Heavy monsoon flooding has killed four people in western India, officials said yesterday, with grave fears held for at least six others still missing following torrential downpours. Major rail networks and dozens of highways in Gujarat state have been interrupted by floodwaters, and power to more than 120 villages cut in badly-hit areas. “Four people died after being swept away in rain waters since Saturday morning. Six others are missing”, Pankaj Kumar, a senior state government official, told AFP, adding the National Disaster Response Force was searching for survivors. The force, plus India’s military, had rescued more than 2,000 people from the worst-hit regions and relocated them to higher ground. The Indian Meteorological Department predicts heavy rain to batter the state for another two days, especially in coastal areas, the department’s Manorama Mohanty told AFP. Monsoon rains have caused serious flooding in other states including Bihar in the east and Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in India’s remote northeast. The latter two states are enduring their worst floods and landslides in years amid more than a week of incessant rain. Nearly half a million people in Assam have been affected, and more than two dozens killed in the downpours. India’s junior home minister Kiren Rijiju posted on Twitter from Arunachal Pradesh on Saturday that funding for medicines and relief efforts had been released to assist those struggling in the aftermath of the disaster. – Nampa/AFP Turkey must stick to democratic values to join EU – Juncker FRANKFURT AM MAIN European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday urged Turkey to uphold democratic values if it hopes to join the European Union, after a year of purges following a coup bid. Juncker’s comments came a day after Turkish President Recept Tayyip Erdogan gave a hardline speech to parliament on the anniversary of the attempted coup, following mass rallies in Ankara and Istanbul. “Whoever wants to join the European Union is joining a union of values,” Juncker wrote in an op-ed for German weekly Bild Sonntag. “Europe’s hand remains outstretched,” he added, but it expects that “Turkey too should clearly show its European colours and emphatically take basic European values to heart.” In his speech, Erdogan vowed to sign any bill lawmakers pass on reintroducing the death penalty -- seen as a red line that would shut down Turkey’s hopes of joining the EU. “We will chop off the heads of those traitors” he told a crowd of hundreds of thousands in Istanbul. The European Commission is in charge of accession negotiations for prospective new members, with Turkey’s dossier largely frozen since last July’s violence. In his article, Juncker warned in particular against the detention without trial of journalists including Deniz Yucel of German daily Die Welt. This was “in no way compatible with a union of human rights, press freedom and the rule of law,” he said. Following last year’s coup bid, Erdogan embarked on the biggest purge in Turkey’s history, arresting 50,000 people and sacking almost three times as many. He also shored up his position by winning a referendum on enhancing his powers earlier this year. – Nampa/AFP Fate of Chinese dissident’s widow worries friends BEIJING Friends of the late Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo were worried about the fate of his widow yesterday, with no signs that authorities had freed her after the dissident’s sea burial. Close friends lost touch with the poet Liu Xia after her husband died on Thursday of liver cancer aged 61 while he was in police custody at a hospital in northeast China. The United States and European Union have called on President Xi Jinping’s Communist government to free Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest since 2010, and let her go abroad. The authorities released images of the grieving wife at a private funeral on Saturday, and later on a boat with relatives as they lowered an urn containing her husband’s ashes into the sea. “We are very worried. We saw from authorities’ photos of the funeral that she is weak and pained. She looked like the world’s saddest person,” said Hu Jia, a Beijing-based activist and close friend. “If I could see her, I would comfort her and offer her a shoulder to cry on,” Hu told AFP. Following his terminal cancer diagnosis, the democracy advocate requested to receive treatment abroad – a wish that friends believe was in reality for his wife’s sake. But the authorities refused to let him go. Although Liu Xia stayed out of politics, she has been under police watch without charges since shortly after her husband was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. Liu Xiaobo was a veteran of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and was detained in 2008 after co-writing Charter 08, a petition calling for democratic reforms. During the past seven years, Liu Xia was only allowed to leave her Beijing apartment to visit her parents or her husband at his prison in the northeastern province of Liaoning, where he was serving an 11-year sentence until he was admitted at a hospital in early June. Her father died last year, and her mother died Main Sponsor Photo: Nampa/AFP Tribute… People attend a candlelight march for the late Chinese Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo in Hong Kong on Saturday. earlier this year. “There is no higher priority than getting Liu Xia out. That authorities have broadcast their ongoing torture of her heightens the urgency,” Human Rights Watch’s China director Sophie Richardson said. “They are broadcasting on multiple mediums and multiple languages images and video of her doing what authorities say she wants to be doing -- all the while not letting her speak freely for herself and having held her baselessly under house arrest for years,” she told AFP. “It is an environment shot through with coercion.” On Saturday, Zhang Qingyang, an official from the Shenyang city municipal office, told reporters Liu Xia was “free”, but he did not disclose her whereabouts. On Friday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang had said he had no information about the widow and “will not make prejudgements” about whether she could go overseas. Another close friend of the Lius, Ye Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair Official Launch and Fundraising Gala Dinner Date: Saturday, 29 July 2017 | Time: 18H00 (Reserve your table now @ 065 230191) Venue: Ongwediva Trade Fair Centre, Queen Hall Table for 10 (ten) people: N$ 6000.00 OATF 25 August – 02 September 2017 Theme: “Towards transformation of Namibia’s Exhibition Landscape” Other Sponsors Following & like our event: Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair @OngwedivaATF OATF Ongwediva Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair #OATF18 www.oatf.com.na Du, said the last time he reached the family was early Friday, but they sounded nervous and refused to talk about funeral arrangements. “Liu Xia is definitely monitored and controlled,” Ye told AFP, adding that “mourning activities” were also “severely controlled”. Liu Xiaobo’s older brother, Liu Xiaoguang, said at a news conference organised by the authorities that the government had followed the family’s wishes for the funeral. He also said Liu Xia was so heartbroken that she may need hospital treatment. But supporters said it was impossible to verify if the family had really wanted a sea burial and noted that the brothers were politically at odds. Amnesty International China researcher Patrick Poon said Liu Xia, 56, suffers from depression and heart disease. He said the loss of contact was “strange”. “Why would she suddenly refuse to communicate with her friends when it’s a moment she needs others to comfort her great sorrow?” – Nampa/AFP DM0201700275410 JM

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New Era Newspaper Vol 22 No 167

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