Seychelles



20 candidates for National Assembly for One Seychelles; 4 running for Lalyans Seselwa

One Seychelles will have 20 candidates running for the National Assembly while Lalyans Seselwa will have only four after the parties submitted nomination documents for their candidates to the Electoral Commission on Friday. «We have not been able to fi
Seychelles News Agency

20 candidates for National Assembly for One Seychelles; 4 running for Lalyans Seselwa

One Seychelles will have 20 candidates running for the National Assembly while Lalyans Seselwa will have only four after the parties submitted nomination documents for their candidates to the Electoral Commission on Friday. «We have not been able to fill up candidates for all districts. We have done this with the intention to focus on the districts that we would win,» the leader of One Seychelles, Alain St Ange, told the press.  He said that One Seychelles is also giving support to an independent candidate standing for the St Louis district, located on the outskirts of Victoria. «We feel that he is a good person for the job and when we find someone with potential we support regardless of his political belief,» said St Ange.   Lalayans Seselwa has submitted nomination documents for four candidates. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)  Photo License: CC-BY  Lalyans Seselwa submitted nomination documents for four candidates, and the party's leader, Patrick Pillay, told the press initially he had announced the participation of 10 candidates but «today we came with only four. This is because when they heard that I was disqualified in the race, the candidates became discouraged to stand.»  Pillay's nomination for the presidential election on Wednesday was disqualified for not having a complete list of 500 supporters who are registered voters as a form of endorsement to the candidate standing.    On the question of why he is not presenting himself as a candidate for the National Assembly, Pillay said that he has other roles to play within the party and will focus on that. He said his proposed running mate, Weston Wirtz, has submitted his nomination for the central English River district. Upon submission of the nomination documents, the proposed candidates, if certified, will be issued with a document by the Electoral Commission certifying that they are a candidate for the 2020 National Assembly election. Among the documents that the candidates submitted were a certificate from the Electoral Commission certifying that they have deposited the sum of SCR1,500, a list of 50 supporters who are registered voters of the electoral area of which the candidate wishes to contest with copies of ID cards of all supporters who have signed. Both the presidential and legislative elections of Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, will take place October 22-24.

Seychelles' top 2 political parties submit National Assembly candidate documents for Oct vote

Seychelles' two leading political parties -- Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) and United Seychelles (US) -- presented their National Assembly candidates on Friday for the upcoming legislative election from October 22-24. The legislative election will take pla
Seychelles News Agency

Seychelles' top 2 political parties submit National Assembly candidate documents for Oct vote

Seychelles' two leading political parties -- Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) and United Seychelles (US) -- presented their National Assembly candidates on Friday for the upcoming legislative election from October 22-24. The legislative election will take place on the same dates as the presidential vote with an aim to reduce expenses as Seychelles faces an economic crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) presented the documents of their 26 opposition party candidates at 9.15 am at the Electoral Commission's headquarters at the ex-SACOS tower in Victoria. The party leader, Roger Mancienne, told the press that the processes are going well, «though it is quite a complicated one considering the different factors affecting this election.» «We all agree that with COVID, the situation is different and there are certain measures in place that we need to respect. Though there is so much excitement in the air, everyone needs to remind themselves that there are measures in place that need to be followed. Everyone has realised that this is a procedure that is really important in our political life, where we are participating in a democratic procedure that is the basis of our society,» said Mancienne. Following the 2015 parliamentary election, for the first time in the country, the opposing party had a majority in the assembly. «In the past four years we have worked really hard and we have used the position in politics to really push forward the agenda and the programme of LDS. We have done a lot of work in the districts hence we are really confident that we will win a majority in the Assembly as well as for the presidential election,» said Mancienne. The ruling party, United Seychelles, arrived at the headquarters at 10.30 am with 25 candidates for nomination. The party's candidate for Bel Ombre, Sheryl Louise, was unable to submit her nomination documents together with her fellow party members. United Seychelles was the second party to submit nomination documents for the National Assembly elections. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)  Photo License: CC-BY  The party leader, Vincent Meriton explained that Louise slipped and had an accident the previous night while campaigning, and had to go to the hospital and could not make it to the headquarters on time. Louise arrived in a wheelchair at 12.00 noon to submit her documents. Talking about the National Assembly nominees of his party, Meriton said that United Seychelles is presenting a mixed team. «We have the youth and the experienced, men and women, professionals and politicians with maturity. It is a team that will support and collaborate with the government. We are also presenting a team that will support president Faure deliver his mandate for the people of Seychelles, a mandate where the main role is to remove the country from the economic difficulty that we are in,» he said.

Somalia names new PM, announces plan for national elections

Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has appointed a new prime minister hours after brokering an agreement with regional leaders for elections next year that abandons a promised one-person, one-vote model. Mohamed's office announced late Thursday th
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Somalia names new PM, announces plan for national elections

Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has appointed a new prime minister hours after brokering an agreement with regional leaders for elections next year that abandons a promised one-person, one-vote model. Mohamed's office announced late Thursday the appointment of Mohamed Hussein Roble, a Swedish-trained civil engineer and political neophyte, and «wished him to take duties and tasks ahead with diligence». He fills a vacancy left when former premier Hassan Ali Khaire was removed by parliament in July for failing to pave the way for fully democratic elections due before February 2021. The foreign-backed government in Mogadishu has been in drawn-out negotiations with Somalia's federal states over how to proceed with parliamentary and presidential elections. However the process has been held-up by political infighting between the president -- better known by his nickname Farmajo -- and the country's regional leaders. Somalia had set itself the goal of holding its first fully democratic, one-man one-vote election since 1969 -- as opposed to a complex system in which special delegates pick lawmakers who then vote for the president. But an agreement reached between the president, five regional leaders and the mayor of Mogadishu has conceded that such a vote would be impossible within the timeframe remaining before Somalia's parliament expires in November, and Farmajo's term ends in February. In an official communique, the negotiators said delegates from Somalia's myriad clans would elect the 275 MPs of the lower house, which in turn chooses the president. While the process mirrors the last election held in 2017, it will go a bit further in terms of inclusivity, with 27,775 delegates voting -- almost twice as many as last time. No timeline was given, and it remains unclear what role the country's independent election commission will play, with the federal and state governments to appoint their own agencies to oversee their respective polls. The plan still needs to be approved by Somalia's parliament. The United Nations had described the pursuit of one-person, one-vote elections as a «historic milestone» on Somalia's path to full democratisation and peace after decades of war and violent instability in the Horn of Africa nation. But observers had warned that such a goal was looking increasingly unlikely due to tensions with the states, technical aspects such as voter registration, and security challenges posed by the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Shabaab militant group. The fragile central government, chaired by Farmajo, controls only a part of Somali territory and relies on an international peacekeeping force to confront a violent insurgency from Al-Shabaab in the countryside. Mogadishu had been criticised by observers for engaging in political feuds with federal states to gain control in the election process, rather than focusing on the fight against the Islamist militants. © Agence France-Presse

2 independent candidates submit nominating documents for National Assembly election

Two independent candidates submitted their nomination documents on Friday to contest the Seychelles' National Assembly elections in October.   Holbert Jean of the St. Louis district and Keith Andre of Beau Vallon presented their documents to the Electo
Seychelles News Agency

2 independent candidates submit nominating documents for National Assembly election

Two independent candidates submitted their nomination documents on Friday to contest the Seychelles' National Assembly elections in October.   Holbert Jean of the St. Louis district and Keith Andre of Beau Vallon presented their documents to the Electoral Commission of Seychelles. Both candidates are participating for the first time in an election in the group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean. Among the documents that the independent candidates submitted were a certificate from the Electoral Commission certifying that they have deposited the sum of SCR1,500, a  list of 50 supporters who are registered voters of the electoral area of which the candidate wishes to contest with copies of ID cards of all supporters who have signed. Jean, who was the first independent candidate to submit his nomination, told reporters that the reason he is contesting this upcoming legislative election is to «simply bring the St. Louis family together irrespective of their religious beliefs or political colours because I feel we can accomplish many things for our district.» He confirmed that all his nominations were verified and double checked by the electoral officers. On the question of how he sees his chances of winning for the St. Louis district, Jean said, «I am very positive and my people are ready for a change.» Jean, 51, is a teacher by profession who taught in state and private schools before moving into full-time preschool business in 2008. Meanwhile, Andre said he is standing for his home district because «I want to sow a seed in the political scene of Seychelles which has always been based on partisan politics. I am sowing this seed so that in five years we can see many more independent candidates to show our political maturity as Seychellois.» Andre was the second independent candidate who submitted a nomination for the legislative election. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)  Photo License: CC-BY  He added that when there is partisan politics «we leave our choices aside and let others decide for us and this is not how it should be.» On the question of whether he can win, Andre said, «Definitely. I have not come here to lose. I am confident that if people living in Beau Vallon listen to the message I am giving they will see that my campaign style is completely different.» Andre, a fishing boat owner, is the chairperson of the local Fishermen and Boatowners Association -- a registered non-governmental organisation working with Seychelles' traditional and semi-industrial fisheries sectors.   Like for the presidential candidates, upon submission of the nomination documents, the proposed candidates, if certified, will be issued with a document by the Electoral Commission certifying that they are a candidate for the 2020 National Assembly election. Legislative and presidential elections in Seychelles will take place October 22-24.

Coronavirus cases top 30 million worldwide: AFP tally

The number of coronavirus cases registered worldwide topped 30 million on Thursday, according to an AFP tally based on official sources. The grim landmark came as the World Health Organization warned of «alarming rates of transmission» of Covid-1
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Coronavirus cases top 30 million worldwide: AFP tally

The number of coronavirus cases registered worldwide topped 30 million on Thursday, according to an AFP tally based on official sources. The grim landmark came as the World Health Organization warned of «alarming rates of transmission» of Covid-19 across Europe. The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections. Many countries are testing only symptomatic or the most serious cases. The coronavirus death toll is now at 943,086 since it surfaced in China late last year and the number of cases has ballooned to 30,000,062, according to figures available at 19:45 GMT. The United States has the highest national figures with 6,650,570 cases and 197,364 deaths, followed by India at 5,118,253 infections and 83,198 fatalities and Brazil with 4,419,083 cases and 134,106 deaths. The rhythm of the pandemic seems to have stabilised globally since the middle of July with a million new cases surfacing every four days. It took 94 days to hit a million infections and then another 86 days for the number of cases to cross 10 million on June 28. The number of infections has tripled since then. Asia has registered the most new cases in the past week with 742,286 infections, of which more than 80 percent are in India. Latin America and the Caribbean are next at 493,120, followed by Europe (327.524), Canada and the US (273,339), the Middle East (111,986), Africa (52,584) and Oceania (548). Latin America has 8,484,443 infections in all and 316,827 deaths, followed by Asia (6,861,965 cases and 120,334 deaths). Canada and the US have nearly 6.8 million cases and 206,602 deaths, Europe has 4,700,387 infections and 223,849 deaths and the Middle East has 1,750,232 cases and 41,254 deaths. Africa has recorded 1,381,036 cases and 33,324 deaths followed by Oceania at 30,890 infections and 896 deaths. India recorded the most number of new infections in the past week at 650,231, followed by Canada and the United States at 267,995, Brazil (221,194), Argentina (76,719) and Spain (70,981). The number of new cases rose 39 percent in the UK the past week, 22 percent in Canada, 19 percent in France, 11 percent in Brazil, 9 percent in the US and 8 percent in India. © Agence France-Presse

Pillay contests Seychelles Electoral Commission's rejection of his candidacy for president

Patrick Pillay has instructed his lawyers to file a petition for an injunction against the Electoral Commission's decision to disqualify his nomination as a presidential candidate for Lalyans Seselwa for the October election, Pillay told SNA on Thursday. Th
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Pillay contests Seychelles Electoral Commission's rejection of his candidacy for president

Patrick Pillay has instructed his lawyers to file a petition for an injunction against the Electoral Commission's decision to disqualify his nomination as a presidential candidate for Lalyans Seselwa for the October election, Pillay told SNA on Thursday. The chief electoral officer, Manuella Amesbury, told a press conference on Thursday that the nomination of Pillay has been rejected for not meeting some legal requirements. «After Pillay submitted his documents two minutes before closing time we went into the verification stage of the documents by other candidates. One of the candidates, Wavel Ramkalawan, lodged an objection on the ground that the nomination had only 489 signatures and that one of them is not registered to vote,» said Amesbury. According to the Election Act, a candidate needs to submit a list of 500 supporters who are registered voters, copies of their ID cards and signatures of their endorsement. The former Speaker of the National Assembly said that the Commission should have counted the names on the list in front of him instead of waiting for two hours to tell him that the list was not complete. Pillay who was the fourth and last candidate to present his nomination documents for the election due in October arrived minutes before the deadline accompanied by his running mate Weston Wirtz. The legal officer of the Electoral Commission, Salina Sinon, said that as required by law Pillay was invited to be heard on the objection. «His response was that he had submitted a list of 504 supporters, and he does not personally know the one who is not a registered voter,» she said.  «His nomination was then processed to see if it met the legal requirements. It was found that there were 489 signatures. Each person listed were checked and 25 of them were not found on the voter register,» added Sinon. She added further that «at 3.43 p.m. the running mate of Pillay, Weston Wirtz, showed up at the commission with a list of signatures claiming that Pillay had mistakenly omitted the list from the documents submitted. Wirtz was advised that it was too late to submit it as the legal cut-off-time for accepting documents is at 1 p.m.» The Commission said it is committed to running an election that is free and fair for all candidates and confirms that at no point were the documents delivered by Pillay tampered with by any third party or member of the Commission. Three candidates -- Wavel Ramkalawan of Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (US), Danny Faure of United Seychelles and Alain St Ange of One Seychelles -- have been nominated for the presidential election in October. Meanwhile, the chief electoral officer is calling on candidates for the legislative election to ensure that their nomination documents are in order before submission on Friday. Both the presidential and legislative elections of Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, will take place October 22-24.  

Public health order in Seychelles mandates masks on public transport, crowded spaces

A new public health order now in effect in Seychelles makes wearing a mask mandatory while riding on public transport and in places where sufficient distancing is not possible, said a top health official. Dr. Jude Gedeon told a press conference on Thursday t
Seychelles News Agency

Public health order in Seychelles mandates masks on public transport, crowded spaces

A new public health order now in effect in Seychelles makes wearing a mask mandatory while riding on public transport and in places where sufficient distancing is not possible, said a top health official. Dr. Jude Gedeon told a press conference on Thursday that the regulation is based on the Public Health Act 2015 making it «mandatory for all persons in Seychelles to wear masks in the stated places and circumstances.» Under the new regulation, which came into force on Monday, it is mandatory to wear masks on all public transportation which includes buses, ferries, taxis and other means of transportation. Masks also have to be worn in all indoor places where a one-metre physical distancing cannot be maintained. «If the place does activities that have cross interaction between people like in a queue and where the physical distancing cannot be maintained it is mandatory to wear a mask,» said Gedeon.   The act includes places such as financial institutions, customer service centres, retail shops or outlets, funeral places, meeting rooms and cinemas among others. The same applies to outdoor places like sports venues, markets and bus terminals. The regulation is available on the Department of Health website. He said that like every regulation there will be enforcement and this will be done by the police.  The penalties for non-compliance is a spot fine of SCR100 ($6) for not wearing a mask in the places and circumstances stipulated. A person found guilty of an offence under the regulation shall be liable to a fine of SCR1,000 ($56) or imprisonment to a term not exceeding three months.    Gedeon added that the Public Health emergency committee is concerned about the disregard for the guidelines in place, especially in the past few weeks. «There are uncontrolled gatherings and close contacts. We have said before and I repeat we don't know if there are people with COVID-19 in the community... if we can't maintain those safety practices we will see community spread before we even know that it is happening,» he said. He said that although it is now mandatory to wear masks in places where it is deemed necessary, this is not being respected. Meanwhile, Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has five active cases after an Indian national who was in a quarantine facility tested positive for COVID-19.

Stricken tanker's captain to face charges in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka will file negligence and pollution charges against the Greek skipper of an oil tanker that leaked fuel off the island nation's coast after a week-long fire, authorities said Wednesday. Some of the 1,700 tonnes of heavy fuel oil aboard the New Diamo
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Stricken tanker's captain to face charges in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka will file negligence and pollution charges against the Greek skipper of an oil tanker that leaked fuel off the island nation's coast after a week-long fire, authorities said Wednesday. Some of the 1,700 tonnes of heavy fuel oil aboard the New Diamond poured into the Indian Ocean, prompting a large effort to contain a slick that was roughly two kilometres (1.2 miles) in length. Its 270,000-tonne cargo of crude oil was unaffected by the fire. «There is sufficient evidence to prosecute the skipper under the marine pollution act as well as the penal code for criminal negligence,» a spokeswoman for Attorney-General Dappula de Livera told reporters in Colombo. Much of the slick has been cleaned up and no further fuel has leaked from the vessel since Friday. For now, there are no signs of the slick reaching the coast. The Panamanian-registered tanker's owners would also be slapped with a $1.88 million fire-fighting bill, de Livera said in a statement. The vessel is owned by Liberian-registered Porto Emporios Shipping Inc and managed by Greek ship owner, New Shipping Limited, according to the Sri Lankan navy. Compensation would also be sought from the owners for the cost of any environmental clean-up and damage, the statement added. Sri Lanka has meanwhile asked the ship's owners to tow the 330-metre (1,100 foot) tanker beyond its exclusive economic zone, which extends 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres) from its coast. The nation's environmental authorities fear a marine disaster if the tanker is allowed to transfer its oil to another ship in the country's waters. The stricken tanker is currently located some 70 nautical miles east off the Sri Lankan coastal town of Batticaloa. The ship issued a distress signal in early September while en route to the northeast Indian port of Paradip when a boiler exploded killing a Filipino crewman The vessel's remaining 22 crew, including the captain, were rescued and are in quarantine at a hotel in the southern port city of Galle under the supervision of the navy. © Agence France-Presse

S. Africa to 'cautiously' reopen borders as lockdown eases

South Africa will reopen its borders to most countries next month, the president said Wednesday, part of a wider easing of anti-coronavirus measures announced as figures continue to improve. The continent's most industrialised economy shuttered its borders a
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S. Africa to 'cautiously' reopen borders as lockdown eases

South Africa will reopen its borders to most countries next month, the president said Wednesday, part of a wider easing of anti-coronavirus measures announced as figures continue to improve. The continent's most industrialised economy shuttered its borders at the start of a strict nationwide lockdown on March 27 to limit the spread of the virus. Restrictions on movement and business have been gradually eased since June, but borders stayed sealed to avoid importing the virus from abroad. President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday said most remaining rules will be rolled back from September 20, and that international travel would «gradually and cautiously» resume on October 1st. «We have withstood the coronavirus storm,» Ramaphosa said in an address to the nation. «It is time to move to what will become our new normal for as long as the coronavirus is with us.» Under the new measures, most gatherings will be permitted at 50 percent of a venue's capacity, with a cap of 250 people for indoor events. A 10:00 pm curfew will be scaled back to midnight and a 50-person limit at recreational facilities will be lifted. Restrictions on sporting events remain in place, however, and face-masks will still be required in public. Travel may also be restricted to and from countries with «high infection rates», Ramaphosa added, explaining that a list would be determined based on «latest scientific data... from those countries». - 'Ready to open our doors' - South Africa has been particularly hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 651,000 infections and over 15,600 deaths recorded to date -- around half the total number of cases detected on the continent. The lockdown, one of the strictest in the world, dealt a severe blow to an already ailing economy and many livelihoods have been lost as a result. Gross Domestic Product contracted by more than half in the second quarter of 2020 due to the pandemic. Tourism, one of the country's main economic drivers, has been particularly affected. «Our economy and society have suffered great devastation,» Ramaphosa said. «It is now time to remove as many of the remaining restrictions... as it is reasonably safe to do so.» The president said the country had «succeeded in overcoming the worst» of its outbreak. He noted that the number of new cases had dropped from an average of 12,000 per day at «the height of the storm» in July to fewer than 2,000. South Africa will start by reopening its three main airports in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. Travellers will be either be required to present a negative Covid-19 test result taken less than 72 hours prior, or quarantine at their own cost. All will be screened upon arrival and asked to install a coronavirus tracing app on their mobile phone. «We are ready to open our doors again to the world,» Ramaphosa said. «And invite travellers to enjoy our mountains, our beaches, our vibrant cities and our wildlife game parks in safety and confidence.» © Agence France-Presse

3 candidates -- Faure, Ramkalawan, St Ange -- qualify for October's presidential vote in Seychelles

Voters in Seychelles will choose from among three presidential candidates in the October election: President Danny Faure of United Seychelles, Wavel Ramkalawan of Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) and Alain St Ange of One Seychelles. The Electoral Commission o
Seychelles News Agency

3 candidates -- Faure, Ramkalawan, St Ange -- qualify for October's presidential vote in Seychelles

Voters in Seychelles will choose from among three presidential candidates in the October election: President Danny Faure of United Seychelles, Wavel Ramkalawan of Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) and Alain St Ange of One Seychelles. The Electoral Commission of Seychelles on Wednesday accepted the nominations of the three while rejecting a fourth potential candidate, former Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Pillay. According to the Electoral Commission, the nomination of Pillay of the Lalyans Seselwa party was rejected because it did not have the required 500 supporters who are registered voters with copies of identification cards and signatures. During a ceremony at the Commission, the draw for the order in which the names of the candidates will appear on the ballot paper was done. Ramkalawan will appear first followed by Faure and St Ange. Each candidate had the opportunity to give their reactions to the press in the same order. The Commission accepted the nominations of Danny Faure, Wavel Ramkalawan and Alain St Ange. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)  Photo License: CC-BY  Ramkalawan said he wishes that this «election campaign takes place in civility and I think Seychelles has a chance to show African countries and other organisations that election goes well and that it is not a dirty event where people only insult each other.» He spoke about the presidential debate that will be organised by the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation. «During the debate, we will get the chance to listen to each other and the ideas that each will present. I ask Seychellois to listen well and make a decision for Seychelles and not only think of ourselves,» said Ramkalawan. Ramkalawan added that he is first on the ballot paper and hopes that this reflects the results of the election. On his side, Faure said that «for all Seychellois citizens today marks the official launching of the political campaign and it is important that the campaign takes place in peace, tranquillity, stability and that all leaders and activists have respect for each other.» He said that respect should be on everything that people do especially on social media. «I would like to ask my supporters that we have a clean campaign based on the programme I have put forward on coming together for Seychelles because I've realized that what the country is going through is one of the most difficult in its history. It important that we all come together to face the challenges ahead of us,» said Faure. St Ange said, «It is important for us today in the crossroads that Seychelles is going through to see where we are really going, where Seychelles wants to go and nobody can make that choice for us. Seychellois will make that choice in the ballot box on the 24th of October.» He said that the choice must be based on a programme that the political parties have brought to Seychellois people. St Ange added that there is a fourth player in this election and that is COVID. «COVID is important as it has shown Seychelles many things, the importance of tourism industry and more than that it has shown us how easy it is to break an economy... It is therefore important that in the choice that people make we look at the programme being presented,» he said. During the ceremony, a draw was also done for the order of the party political broadcast for the election scheduled for October 22-24 in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.

Fish exposed to noise pollution likely to die early: study

Fish stressed by noise are less able to fight off disease while prolonged exposure can lead to an early death, according to research published Tuesday, the latest outlining the consequences of man-made clamour on the natural world.Human noise pervades the env
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Fish exposed to noise pollution likely to die early: study

Fish stressed by noise are less able to fight off disease while prolonged exposure can lead to an early death, according to research published Tuesday, the latest outlining the consequences of man-made clamour on the natural world.Human noise pervades the environment, from the roar of vehicle engines to the clatter of industry.Being underwater is no escape, with the whir of ship propellers thought to interfere with whale sonar.Researchers at the University of Cardiff in Britain said noise pollution has been shown to lead to «stress, hearing loss, behavioural changes and impacted immunity». But they said the ways in which noise affects resistance to disease had remained «neglected». In their paper, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, researchers tested the impact of random blasts of white noise played into fish tanks on the susceptibility of guppy fish to parasitic infection. One group of fish was exposed to «acute» noise played for 24 hours, another group had the noise played for seven days. All fish were anaesthetised and infected with a parasite, either after the noise exposure in the case of the acute group, or during it for the chronic group. A third control group of fish were infected but left in a silent tank. The authors found that while the fish exposed to acute noise had the highest disease burden over a 17-day monitoring period, those in the chronic group were more likely to die earlier -- at day 12, compared to day 14 for both other groups of fish.«By revealing the detrimental impacts of acute and chronic noise on host–parasite interactions, we add to the growing body of evidence demonstrating a link between noise pollution and reduced animal health,» the authors said. They added that this could have implications for fish farms, where the species being reared are highly susceptible to parasites. There is an increasing understanding of the health burden associated with the cacophony created by human industry and transportation.  In a meta-analysis of individual studies published in November, scientists at Queen's University Belfast found that noise affects amphibians, arthropods, birds, fish, mammals, molluscs and reptilians.So widespread is the problem, they called for man-made noise to be treated as a «major global pollutant».© Agence France-Presse

President of Seychelles presents nominating documents to Electoral Commission for October vote

Presidential candidates who will contest the elections in October in Seychelles presented their nominations documents to the Electoral Commission on Wednesday. The first potential candidate to register was the United Seychelles candidate, incumbent Presiden
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President of Seychelles presents nominating documents to Electoral Commission for October vote

Presidential candidates who will contest the elections in October in Seychelles presented their nominations documents to the Electoral Commission on Wednesday. The first potential candidate to register was the United Seychelles candidate, incumbent President Danny Faure, who presented his official documents to the Electoral Commission at the headquarters in the capital, Victoria. Faure took the five-minute walk from State House to the Electoral Commission's headquarters as supporters cheered. He was accompanied by his running mate Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, and the president of the United Seychelles Vincent Meriton.  Faure was the first potential to present nomination documents to the Electoral Commission. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)  Photo License: CC-BY  The president told reporters that the upcoming election is one of the «most important in Seychelles' history as it is taking place at a time when the country is facing economic and social difficulties brought about by COVID-19.» He called on citizens to exercise their right to vote to decide on the country's future. «I call on all our citizens to engage in this process because this election is not about who wins or loses, but it will be one where you decide your future, that of the current generation children and the country. I am ready to work for the people of Seychelles once again,» he said. United Seychelles supporters came to cheer their presidential candidate on Nomination Day. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)  Photo License: CC-BY  Faure also called all citizens to respect the guidance of the health authorities. «I know there is pressure everywhere for us to campaign as we had done in the past years, but we are not in a normal situation and I hope all of us understand this,» he added. The United Seychelles candidate is contesting the presidential election for the first time. He was the running mate of former President James Michel who handed over power to him in 2016, nearly one year into his mandate. Presidential and legislative elections in Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, will take place October 22-24.

Opposition candidate Ramkalawan presents nominating papers for president election

The presidential candidate of the Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) political party, Wavel Ramkalawan, was the second candidate to present his nomination documents to the Electoral Commission on Wednesday. Ramkalawan was accompanied by his vice-presidential ru
Seychelles News Agency

Opposition candidate Ramkalawan presents nominating papers for president election

The presidential candidate of the Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) political party, Wavel Ramkalawan, was the second candidate to present his nomination documents to the Electoral Commission on Wednesday. Ramkalawan was accompanied by his vice-presidential running mate, Ahmed Afif, and party leader Roger Mancienne to the commission's headquarters at the ex-SACOS tower in Victoria. Nomination documents for a presidential candidate are nomination form, a certificate from the Electoral Commission certifying that the candidates have deposited the sum of R15,000 ($837) as a deposit as well as a list of 500 supporters who are registered voters with copies of their ID cards among other documents. Ramkalwan told the press that for LDS this is an important election, a mission and a vocation. «It is important to say that for LDS this election is not only about getting votes. We want the people of Seychelles to reflect deeply on what they are going to do and think about the challenges that the country is going through. Seychellois need to make a good decision on election day,» said Ramkalawan. LDS supporters came to cheer their candidate for the presidential election. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)  Photo License: CC-BY  The LDS presidential candidate said that he is not afraid of hard work and overcoming obstacles and added that as per the party's theme this year «Seychelles is for all its children which means that LDS wants to work for all the citizens of the island nation.» Ramkalawan said that «today is almost 30 years since I started in politics. Since the first day, I have been fighting to achieve a lot of the things that have been materialised. I have always believed in Seychelles and this is why I have never stopped.» This is the sixth time that Ramkalawan is a contender in a presidential election in Seychelles. In the last presidential elections in 2015 which went into a second round, he lost by 193 votes to James Michel who resigned less than a year later. «The challenges are big and COVID has brought with it other challenges but I am confident that with the programme that LDS has, we will not only see our children get back the will to study but that the nation, in general, will have a better chance at justice and our economy will rebuild itself,» he continued. Responding to a question as to if he sees this election going into a second round as was the case in 2015, Ramkalawan said that this decision is entirely in the hands of the electorate and «I will respect the decision that the Seychellois people make.»

One Seychelles leader St Ange submits nomination documents for October presidential election

The candidate of One Seychelles, Alain St Ange, was the third to submit nomination documents for the presidential elections in October to the Seychelles Electoral Commission on Wednesday. St Ange, who is participating in a presidential election for the firs
Seychelles News Agency

One Seychelles leader St Ange submits nomination documents for October presidential election

The candidate of One Seychelles, Alain St Ange, was the third to submit nomination documents for the presidential elections in October to the Seychelles Electoral Commission on Wednesday. St Ange, who is participating in a presidential election for the first time, said that the people of Seychelles have an important choice to make in October. «This choice will depend on if we are satisfied with the current status of the country. Every voter needs to ask themselves if the one they have put in power in the past has delivered. If not, this is why we need to make a change,» he said St Ange, a former tourism minister, added that he is convinced that the election will be going into a second round and One Seychelles is prepared if that happens to go into a coalition with another opposition party. «We are confident that we will win this election. An election is not a game. An election is when you put yourself forward for the people to choose. This is why One Seychelles today has put itself forward to contest the upcoming elections,» he said. St Ange said that the people of Seychelles have an important choice to make in October. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)  Photo License: CC-BY  «Compared to another opposition political party which has expressed radical change to the country, we want to bring a change that will gradually transform Seychelles. We have experienced radical change during the coup d'etat on June 5. We are proposing to offer real change,» said St Ange. He said that One Seychelles wants to stop the old ways of doing things such as marginalising people because of their political affiliations and also «advocating a technocrat government whereby people are trained properly in their respective field.» Four candidates have presented their nomination documents to stand in the upcoming presidential election in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, from October 22-24. 

World lost 100 million hectares of forest in two decades: UN

The world has lost nearly 100 million hectares of forests in two decades, marking a steady decline though at a slower pace than before, a UN agency reported Tuesday.The proportion of forest to total land area fell from 31.9 percent in 2000 to 31.2 percent in
Seychelles News Agency

World lost 100 million hectares of forest in two decades: UN

The world has lost nearly 100 million hectares of forests in two decades, marking a steady decline though at a slower pace than before, a UN agency reported Tuesday.The proportion of forest to total land area fell from 31.9 percent in 2000 to 31.2 percent in 2020, now some 4.1 billion hectares, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.  It marks «a net loss of almost 100 million hectares of the world’s forests,» the FAO said.Deforestation has hit particularly hard sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia, where it has accelerated in the last decade, but also Latin and Central America, where it has nonetheless slowed down.Forests are being cut down mainly to make way for crops or farm animals, especially in less developed countries.In southeast Asia, forest now covers 47.8 percent of the land compared to 49 percent in 2015. In sub-Saharan Africa, it covers 27.8 percent compared to 28.7 percent five years ago.In Indonesia, it is 50.9 percent, down from 52.5 percent. In Malaysia, it is 58.2 percent, down from 59.2 percent five years ago.A country strongly focused on agriculture like the Ivory Coast has seen forests reduced to 8.9 percent of the total land area from 10.7 percent in  2015. Kenya, Mali and Rwanda have largely held firm against forest loss.In Latin and Central America, forest covers only 46.7 percent of the total land, compared to 47.4 percent five years ago.In Brazil, forests declined to 59.4 percent of the country's territory in 2020 from 60.3 percent in 2015. In Haiti, deforestation has continued apace -- falling to 12.6 percent of the total land area from 13.2 percent in 2015.In contrast, in many parts of Asia, Europe and North America forest area has increased or stayed the same in the last five years with policies to restore woodland and allow forests to expand naturally.In China, forests make up 23.3 percent, up from 22.3 percent in 2015. In Japan, they account for 68.4 percent, the same as it was five years ago.In France, forests cover 31.5 percent of the land in 2020, up from 30.7 percent in 2015. In Italy, they make up 32.5 percent of the national territory, up from 31.6 five years ago.In Britain, they make up 13.2 percent, up from 13 percent five years ago. In Canada, it is unchanged at 38.2 percent, and in the United States, unchanged at 33.9 percent.In Australia the figure rose from 17.3 to 17.4 percent and in New Zealand from 37.4 percent to 37.6 percent over the five years.© Agence France-Presse

Development Bank of Seychelles says client data not compromised despite ransomware attack

The data of clients of the Development Bank of Seychelles have not been compromised despite a ransomware attack, the bank's chief executive said on Tuesday. Daniel Gappy told a press conference that the bank was attacked by Calix ransomware on September 7. W
Seychelles News Agency

Development Bank of Seychelles says client data not compromised despite ransomware attack

The data of clients of the Development Bank of Seychelles have not been compromised despite a ransomware attack, the bank's chief executive said on Tuesday. Daniel Gappy told a press conference that the bank was attacked by Calix ransomware on September 7. Work is ongoing to get the core system up and running, he said.  According to Geek's Advice, «Calix ransomware is a file-encrypting virus that is capable of locking all files on the infected computer or server. It is a version of Phobos ransomware which was first discovered on October 3rd, 2019.» «Once installed, the malicious programme encrypts all databases, documents, photos, programmes, and other files so that the victim could no longer access them,» the website reads. Gappy told the press that «normally when you are attacked by ransomware, the extension of the file changes, giving you the contact details of the attacker.» «They provide their email addresses so that you can contact them. If there is a ransom to be paid, they will ask it in bitcoin - not in dollars or euros. DBS did not take this path to pay any ransom. We tried contacting a company overseas to try and help us encrypt the files that were crypted. They tried for a week but was unsuccessful. We then worked with a consultant on the local market, who gave us another option,» said Gappy. He explained that clients should not be affected as a development bank operates in a different manner as compared to a commercial bank. A development bank gives out loans and doesn't collect money, meaning people do not deposit money and hence «there aren't any depositor who can approach us and tell us that their money is missing.» DBS was established in 1977 as a joint venture between the government and other shareholders. Over the years DBS’ business portfolio has grown to financing new, modernise and expansion projects in the fields of agriculture, fisheries, industry, service and tourism, construction of commercial buildings including rental accommodation, office, storage as well as shop premises. He added that since Monday, the bank has started a recovery process, compiling all the data and moving it to another software. Once completed, these data will then be sent to the bank's service provider located overseas. «We are convinced that our core-banking - the software that contains all the information of the client - will be up and running by Thursday. We are making sure that all accounts are up to date and when we have finish rectifying all our problems this week, we will run a test by selecting a group of clients to come to take a look at the data,» said Gappy. Following the attack, the bank is increasing its security, acquiring more equipment, and doing more backups. One of the challenges that DBS faced is that data is backed up to a server automatically at a specific time. «We are going to reinforce this by having an offline backup which we will need to physically back up ourselves. When viruses are sent through emails, our staffs are the weakest link as they might open an email that contains viruses. We are also going to beef up our mail server so that each mail that comes in will be screened before reaching any staff. Emails that we find to be irregular will be sent to spam which will be opened by the IT personnel,» said Gappy.

Seychelles launches visitor management platform, a COVID-era all-in-one system

Seychelles has launched a new visitor management platform that will enable authorities to run rapid and efficient vetting procedures on information provided by incoming travellers in a bid to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission. In a launch ceremony o
Seychelles News Agency

Seychelles launches visitor management platform, a COVID-era all-in-one system

Seychelles has launched a new visitor management platform that will enable authorities to run rapid and efficient vetting procedures on information provided by incoming travellers in a bid to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission. In a launch ceremony on Tuesday, Alan Renaud, Principal Secretary for Civil Aviation, Ports & Marine said that «by having all the passenger information submitted ahead of time, including passengers health certification, we eliminate inefficiencies.» He said that the new platform will also help streamline security clearance and simplify the process of entry resulting in «better performance and reduced risk, all of which comes together to improve the passenger experience, not only at airports but in our archipelago as well.» With the Travizory technology, travellers can apply from their mobile phone via Android or iOS apps or on the web in about five minutes. Travellers will receive a clear response on their eligibility to travel in the form of a secure barcode, also available as a wallet pass, which they can present at check-in and boarding. Travellers will have to pay a fee of $50 or $150 when submitting their documents online. A fee of $150 fee will apply only for emergency and late submissions.  The technology will also allow health authorities from Seychelles to collect identity and health information directly from the traveller via easy to use web and mobile apps. The information is fed securely into a single system, providing advance information about all travellers wishing to travel to the Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean. The Seychelles' Public Health Commissioner, Jude Gedeon, said that keeping Seychellois safe from the pandemic is the number one priority. «However, we need to enable international travel to let in key workers and specialists and to allow tourism to restart and for our citizens to work again. With our current email and multiple forms, doctors and airport staff were struggling to keep pace with the number of arrivals. We have now given them a tool to focus their attention where it is most needed,» he added. The Health Authority will also roll out connected technology at approved accommodations to further enhance the passenger experience within the islands by avoiding unnecessary forms to be filled at various touchpoints. The tourism minister, Didier Dogley, and chairperson of the re-opening of Seychelles Taskforce, said that «the new technology will allow us to balance the need for tourism to grow and sustain our economy without compromising the health of our citizens. It will have a very positive impact on tourism and the wider economy in the Seychelles, as well as clearly demonstrating Seychelles ability to deploy digital solutions.»  Renaud Irminger, CEO of Travizory, the company behind the new system, said the technology goes beyond just providing the Seychelles with a platform to efficiently perform health screening and help with border control. «It is about providing the traveller with a positive experience. By making the whole process as painless as possible, giving people the assurance that they will be allowed to travel to the country and that the flight they are on is safe, the experience of visiting the Seychelles will now be even better,» he added. Travizory is a Swiss-based technology company founded by senior executives uniquely combining air transport industry, biometrics, mobile, border security and border management expertise. 

UN decries refugee killings in Uganda, urges probe

The United Nations voiced alarm Monday at an attack last week on a camp in Uganda that left 10 refugees dead and called for an investigation. There are more than 1.4 million refugees in Uganda, according to the UN refugee agency, more than anywhere else in A
Seychelles News Agency

UN decries refugee killings in Uganda, urges probe

The United Nations voiced alarm Monday at an attack last week on a camp in Uganda that left 10 refugees dead and called for an investigation. There are more than 1.4 million refugees in Uganda, according to the UN refugee agency, more than anywhere else in Africa. Most come from neighbouring South Sudan, where civil war left some 380,000 dead and four million on the run. The UNHCR decried the «disproportionate» reaction to a dispute between locals and refugees, which it said sparked the attack in the Rhino Camp, a major refugee settlement in the West Nile area near the border with South Sudan. Ten people were killed and 19 others injured, while another 10 remained missing, UNHCR said, voicing deep concern for their safety and calling on authorities to search for them immediately. The attack came after a dispute Friday evening between locals and refugees near a shared water point, which quickly escalated, the agency said. Regional police, which had previously said six people were killed, told AFP Sunday that the violence occurred after refugees allegedly assaulted a grazer from the local community. «The disproportionate violent reaction by the host community to a communal dispute signals a threat to the delicate balance of peaceful coexistence in the rural villages where refugees live alongside their Ugandan hosts,» said Joel Boutroue, the UNHCR representative in Uganda. «In an environment of scarcity of resources, tragic incidents such as that of last Friday are alarming,» he said. The UN agency called for calm and said it was working with authorities to ensure that «additional security measures are adopted, and this deadly incident is investigated to help clarify the circumstances, including the role of local authorities.» Rhino Camp, which hosts more than 100,000 refugees, is one of the largest refugee settlements in Uganda. © Agence France-Presse

WHO delivers Europe death warning as infections hit new high

Europe will face a rising death toll from the coronavirus during autumn, the World Health Organization warned on Monday as the number of daily infections around the world hit a record high. Israel is among the countries battling a new spike, announcing a thr
Seychelles News Agency

WHO delivers Europe death warning as infections hit new high

Europe will face a rising death toll from the coronavirus during autumn, the World Health Organization warned on Monday as the number of daily infections around the world hit a record high. Israel is among the countries battling a new spike, announcing a three-week lockdown from Friday when people will not be allowed more than 500 metres from their homes. The announcement sparked anger. «It's unfair!» said Eti Avishai, a 64-year-old seamstress. «They didn't stop the big gatherings in synagogues, the weddings and the other events, and now I can't be with my children and grandchildren during the holidays?» The World Health Organization reported 307,930 new cases worldwide on Sunday, the highest daily figure since the beginning of the pandemic in China late last year, as global cases rapidly topped 29 million. «It's going to get tougher. In October, November, we are going to see more mortality,» WHO Europe director Hans Kluge told AFP in an interview. «COVID-19 has brought to light the weaknesses and strengths of European society. It has bluntly revealed the reality of our health systems.» Kluge also said the pandemic had disrupted services for noncommunicable diseases, including monitoring of diabetes, hypertension and cancer screening in 68 percent of the member states. WHO Europe's 53 members started a two-day online meeting Monday focusing on their virus response as the global death toll crossed 925,000. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the meeting by video-link: «We are by no means out of the woods.» Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, watching cases rise, echoed the WHO chief's words exactly and called for vigilance. In France, the cities of Marseille and Bordeaux announced a series of measures to limit public gatherings as Covid-19 infections soar. - Millions back to school - The latest surge has sparked alarm across Europe, and revived the debate over how best to fight the rise in infections. England has limited social gatherings to no more than six people from Monday. On the other hand, millions of schoolchildren in other affected countries have returned to their classrooms for the first time in months. Italian children were among the first in Europe to see their schools closed, and some 5.6 million returned for the first time in six months on Monday. Although officials said thousands of extra classrooms had been set up, there were concerns over a lack of surgical masks for teachers and a shortage of single-seat benches. Some southern Italian regions postponed their reopening, worried they were not properly prepared. A Vatican spokesman meanwhile said Pope Francis was being «constantly monitored» after having met with a cardinal who later tested positive. While Europe battles with rising infections, other parts of the world are tentatively easing restrictions. Saudi Arabia announced it would partially lift a six-month suspension of international flights this week. South Korea said it would ease rules in and around the capital Seoul after cases declined. The United States eased its warning against travel to China, acknowledging that the nation had made progress against Covid-19 despite Washington's frequent criticism of its pandemic role. - Vaccine trials resume - There was also good news in Britain where regulators allowed clinical trials to resume on one of the most advanced experimental vaccines. The need for a vaccine was underlined by a study from the country's Institute for Employment Studies showing how coronavirus may cost one million jobs in Britain this year. Researchers on the joint AstraZeneca-Oxford University project, who hope to finish tests by the end of the year, had «voluntarily paused» the trial after a UK volunteer developed an unexplained illness. WHO's Kluge nonetheless urged the public not to put all their hopes on a single drug. «I hear the whole time: 'the vaccine is going to be the end of the pandemic'. Of course not,» he said. The end of the pandemic would come when communities learn to live with the disease, he stressed. And if that wasn't tough enough, the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board warned far too little is being done to prepare for future, possibly even more damaging pandemics. The independent body set up by the WHO and World Bank, decried that the crisis had revealed how little the world had focused on preparing for such disasters, despite ample warning. France on Monday cancelled Paris's biggest contemporary art fair FIAC Paris's biggest contemporary art fair, due to he held at the end of next month, because of the pandemic. © Agence France-Presse

Seychellois political parties can oversee ballot printing in Dubai ahead of Oct. vote

Political parties contesting the presidential and legislative elections in Seychelles in October will each send a representative to supervise the printing of ballot papers in Dubai, said the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission on Monday. Danny Lucas tol
Seychelles News Agency

Seychellois political parties can oversee ballot printing in Dubai ahead of Oct. vote

Political parties contesting the presidential and legislative elections in Seychelles in October will each send a representative to supervise the printing of ballot papers in Dubai, said the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission on Monday. Danny Lucas told a press conference that representatives of political parties were briefed on the subject in a meeting earlier Monday. «After the nomination when we know who are the independent candidates we will have a briefing with them and find out whether they also would like to send a representative,» added Lucas. Nomination Day for the presidential candidates has been set for September 16 and for the legislative candidates on September 18. He added that around September 20, the Electoral Commission will send representatives to Dubai to ensure that everything is working correctly and see the facilities as well as prepare for the arrival of the political parties' representatives. Lucas said that the delegation overseeing the printing of the ballot papers is expected back early October and will be quarantined for 14 days due to COVID-19. «We have informed all political parties and they have agreed that this is the procedures in view of the circumstances. When the delegation returns the ballot papers will be handed over to another group from the Electoral Commission,» said Lucas.    Another point raised in the discussion relates to how the markings will appear on the ballot paper. «We have agreed with the traditional way of markings. This can be done through a cross or a tick. This should be done within the box given. We have this time decided to enlarge the box to reduce instances of voters marking outside the box,» said Lucas. Presidential and National Assembly elections in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, will take place simultaneously from October 22-24. The voter registration was closed once the election dates were confirmed on August 11. The chairperson of the Electoral Commission said that political parties and the Commission have also taken a decision to address the issue of if a ballot paper is placed in the wrong ballot box since there will be two elections at the same time. «We agreed that the most important thing to look at is the right of a person to cast his vote rather than looking at the mistake of dropping the ballot paper in the wrong box,» said Lucas. He added that there will be however be a noticeable distinction between the two ballot papers and an officer will be present to direct voters to the right ballot box.

I.Coast parties nominate former president, ex-PM for election

Ivory Coast ex-president Henri Konan Bedie and former rebel leader Guillaume Soro were officially nominated on the weekend as the candidates of their opposition parties for next month's tense presidential election. The vote in the country with a recent histo
Seychelles News Agency

I.Coast parties nominate former president, ex-PM for election

Ivory Coast ex-president Henri Konan Bedie and former rebel leader Guillaume Soro were officially nominated on the weekend as the candidates of their opposition parties for next month's tense presidential election. The vote in the country with a recent history of post-election violence has turned volatile after President Alassane Ouattara's handpicked successor died unexpectedly, prompting the incumbent to run for a contentious third term. Former prime minister Soro, who intends to run from exile in France because he faces a long list of legal difficulties at home, was nominated as the candidate of his Generations and People in Solidarity (GPS) party on Sunday. But the country's electoral commission has barred Soro from running in the October 31 vote as he was sentenced in April to 20 years in prison for «concealment of embezzlement of public funds». GPS formally nominated Soro at a gathering of hundreds of supporters at a hotel in Abidjan. «Our candidate is eligible for the next presidential election and he will win it,» said party spokeswoman Minata Kone Zie. «Let us unite our energies and our actions to impose a democratic alternative.» The country's main opposition party, PDCI, meanwhile nominated the 86-year-old Bedie as its candidate on Saturday. In front of tens of thousands of supporters in the capital Yamoussoukro, Bedie called for opposition parties to unite behind him. «I invite all political formations and political platforms, that want to, to support my candidacy,» he said. He pledged his government would take «concrete and immediate measures for the unconditional return of all exiles, as well as the release of all political, civilian and military prisoners from the post-election crisis». Bedie is seeking to return to the presidency after he was ousted in the country's first coup in 1999. Laurent Gbagbo was then elected president in 2000, but when Gbagbo refused to recognise Ouattara's 2010 election victory, months of violence followed in which around 3,000 people lost their lives. Gbagbo's supporters have filed for him to run in next month's election. But he is also living in exile, sentenced in absentia to a 20-year term last year over the looting of the local branch of the Central Bank of West African States during the post-election crisis. - Shadow of violence - Soro's lawyers filed several requests to Ivory Coast's constitutional council over the past week to try to allow him in stand in the election. But the electoral commission has said that anyone convicted of a crime cannot contest, and judicial sources have told AFP that Soro or Gbagbo are unlikely to be allowed to run. The constitutional council is expected to release the list of validated candidates this week. Unrest and uncertainty ahead of October's election has sparked fears that political violence could again return to the country. Ouattara's announcement last month that he would run for a third term provoked protests that degenerated into violence, leaving around 15 dead. Although the constitution limits presidents to two terms, Ouattara and his supporters argue that a 2016 constitutional tweak reset the clock. The president had previously committed to not running again, but he changed his mind after the sudden death of prime minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly from a heart attack in July. Bedie called Ouattara's tilt at a third term a «violation» of the constitution. © Agence France-Presse

Polio-free for 55 years, Seychellois authorities urge public to continue taking the vaccine

Public health authorities in Seychelles are urging residents to continue to take the vaccine against polio, which hasn't been seen in Seychelles since 1966. Florida Bijoux, the programme manager for the expanded programme for immunisation in the Department o
Seychelles News Agency

Polio-free for 55 years, Seychellois authorities urge public to continue taking the vaccine

Public health authorities in Seychelles are urging residents to continue to take the vaccine against polio, which hasn't been seen in Seychelles since 1966. Florida Bijoux, the programme manager for the expanded programme for immunisation in the Department of Health, said dangerous conditions could return if people don't immunise against it. «We cannot force people to take it, but we need to make it understood that when the vaccine is not taken, other people are being affected as well. In the future we will be working on certain laws to oblige people to take their vaccine,» said Bijoux.   Seychelles last month was awarded the 'wild-polio free' certification from the World Health Organisation (WHO), which recognizes the island nation as having contained and managed polio. The certification was awarded to the archipelago in the western Indian Ocean in a virtual conference of Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) for polio eradication. «The status reflects the sound programme that we have put together as a country to get rid of the virus. Although there is no poliovirus in Seychelles, we will carry on with our national vaccination programme,» Bijoux told SNA on Thursday.  Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a virus causing paralysis mainly in children and affects the spinal cord and can spread from person to person through direct contact. In the 1980s there were up to 350,000 cases per year globally; today there are only a few dozen, mainly in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. As part of an effort to better maintain the polio free status of Seychelles, Bijoux told the Seychelles Broadcasting (SBC) reporters that the health department is moving away from oral vaccination as from the start of next year and will begin administering injection instead to people.  «Since 2016, we have been administering injections for those at four month olds. This has been a preparation for when we will move to only administering injections and completely moving away from oral vaccination,» said Bijoux. She added that the health department is continuously giving vaccines to maintain the Seychelles status given the fact that polio is still in existence in other countries. While the campaign against 'wild polio' began in 1960 when the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) was initiated, efforts in Seychelles truly took off in 1966, when a mass immunization campaign against polio, for babies and school children was conducted, following the detection of a positive case for wild polio. Since then, there have been no polio cases diagnosed in Seychelles.

Tanzania, Uganda, ink deal on $3.5b oil pipeline project

Tanzania and Uganda signed an agreement Sunday to commence construction on a 1,445-kilometre (900 mile) oil pipeline through East Africa that conservation groups say threatens livelihoods and fragile ecosytems. The project focuses on oilfields in landlocked
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Tanzania, Uganda, ink deal on $3.5b oil pipeline project

Tanzania and Uganda signed an agreement Sunday to commence construction on a 1,445-kilometre (900 mile) oil pipeline through East Africa that conservation groups say threatens livelihoods and fragile ecosytems. The project focuses on oilfields in landlocked Uganda discovered in 2006 and proposes pumping the crude to the coast via a pipeline across Tanzania at an estimated cost of $3.5 billion. The multi-national plan is led by French petroleum giant Total in partnership with China's CNOOC and struggling British group Tullow Oil, which is seeking to finalise selling its stake in the venture. «This is a very crucial project for our people,» said Tanzanian President John Magufuli, who signed the agreement paving the way for the pipeline in his home town of Chato alongside his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni. «Our signing today is a crucial step towards implementing the project which will not only create jobs, but also promote cooperation within the region, and stimulate economic development in areas the pipeline crosses.» Work is scheduled to start by the end of the year on the East African Crude Oil Pipeline to exploit oil discovered near Lake Albert discovered in 2006. Reserves in the area are conservatively estimated at some 1.7 billion barrels. «We want our people to work fast and start this project,» said Museveni at the signing ceremony. After years of talks discussing the relative merits of different routes out to the Indian Ocean, Uganda announced in 2016 it would run the pipeline through Tanzania, not Kenya. The enormous pipeline will run south of Lake Victoria to the port of Tanga near the Kenyan border. Last week, a report by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) based on studies with Oxfam said the project would affect more than 12,000 families and communities had no idea if their land would be lost. «After nearly two decades of oil exploration, many communities fear the worst is yet to come,» wrote Rashid Bunya of the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, one of the NGOs that helped compile the reports based on two years of impact studies. Critics say the project will affect delicate ecosystems that host rich sources of biodiversity. In Uganda, the drilling is located in several natural reserves, one of which extends to Murchison Falls, the country's largest national park. Tanzania says the project will create 10,000 jobs and that more than 90,000 people would be compensated to pave the way for the pipeline. © Agence France-Presse

UK-based entrepreneur selling Seychelles-branded goods through online company

An entrepreneur based in the United Kingdom is selling Seychelles-branded goods through her online company. Anabelle Giselle said that her company – Mahé – is a luxury home brand. “All my candles, diffusers and wax melts are handmade by myself. Each
Seychelles News Agency

UK-based entrepreneur selling Seychelles-branded goods through online company

An entrepreneur based in the United Kingdom is selling Seychelles-branded goods through her online company. Anabelle Giselle said that her company – Mahé – is a luxury home brand. “All my candles, diffusers and wax melts are handmade by myself. Each candle is inspired by Seychelles and named after my favourite places. We also have limited edition scents, too, which are named relatable to the season such as our Christmas scents or our new lavender dreams. I use 100 percent soy wax because it is a natural wax and better for you instead of other types of wax which contain harmful toxins,” explained Giselle. The 25-year-old entrepreneur said Mahé was launched in October last year with the production of candles. “We now have expanded into diffusers, wax melts and just launched Mahé home which is inspired by Seychelles,” said Giselle.  The new lavender dreams candles from the Mahé luxury brand. (www.mahecandles.com) Photo License: All Rights Reserved Giselle told SNA that her connection to the islands is deeply rooted. “My father was born in Seychelles on the island of Mahe, and we still have a large amount of family still living in Mahé.”  According to Giselle, her father and the island nation is the main source of inspiration for her products. “My father’s love and passion for Seychelles has always inspired me, my own personal love for my trips there always helps me decide, from the fresh fruits I ate to the beautiful beaches I saw, to the friendly faces I met,” said Giselle. Currently, all materials for the company are bought in the United Kingdom but the entrepreneur hopes to source materials from the Seychelles – 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean. For now, Mahé has limited products and Giselle said that each has a name of the islands. “I always think about the scents I have added to a product and then think about what it reminds me of in Seychelles.’  All of Mahe’s products are available online, and Giselle said that the sale of the products are doing extremely well, something she has attributed to COVID-19, which has led to an increase in online transactions.  “Our future plans are to continue to grow and expand globally. I hope one day to have a shop in Seychelles because I believe that scent is the strongest tie to memory and it would be really nice for everyone to be able to take a piece of Seychelles home with them,” the entrepreneur said. According to Giselle, she hopes to “also work closely with shops and hotels in Seychelles. In the UK I am looking to continue spreading knowledge of Seychelles and working with stores here too.” Products are on sale at www.mahecandles.com include wax melts, candles, diffusers and tropical breeze cushions. Prices range from $5 to $23.

Afghan govt, Taliban peace talks due to begin in earnest

Peace talks between the Taliban and Afghan government get down to business Sunday, with the search for a lasting ceasefire one of many key challenges up for discussion. A slick opening ceremony in the Qatari capital Doha on Saturday saw the Afghan government
Seychelles News Agency

Afghan govt, Taliban peace talks due to begin in earnest

Peace talks between the Taliban and Afghan government get down to business Sunday, with the search for a lasting ceasefire one of many key challenges up for discussion. A slick opening ceremony in the Qatari capital Doha on Saturday saw the Afghan government, and allies including the US, call for a ceasefire. But the Taliban, who have fought a guerrilla campaign against both since they were forced from power in 2001, did not mention a truce as they came to the negotiating table. The head of the peace process for the Afghan government suggested to AFP that the Taliban could offer a truce in exchange for the release of more of their jailed fighters. «This could be one of their ideas or one of their demands,» said Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation. Negotiations will be arduous and messy, delegates warned during the opening ceremony, and are starting even as deadly violence continues to grip Afghanistan. «We will undoubtedly encounter many challenges in the talks over the coming days, weeks and months,» US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said as he called for the warring sides to «seize this opportunity» to secure peace. Nearly two decades since the US-led invasion that toppled the Taliban, the war still kills dozens of people daily and the country's economy has been shattered, pushing millions into poverty. The Taliban have long worried that reducing violence could lessen their leverage. - 'Very positive' - During a speech at the opening event, Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar repeated the insurgents' message that Afghanistan should be run according to Islamic law, highlighting a likely sticking point. A comprehensive peace deal could take years, and will depend on the willingness of both sides to tailor their competing visions for Afghanistan and the extent to which they can agree to share power. President Ashraf Ghani's government wants to maintain the Western-backed status quo of a constitutional republic that has enshrined many rights, including greater freedoms for women. Four of the 21 people on the Kabul negotiating team are women. The Taliban, who stripped women of all basic freedoms while in power from 1996-2001, had no female negotiators. In a statement, Ghani called for «a lasting and dignified peace» that preserved «the achievements of the past 19 years». Kabul negotiator Habiba Sarabi told AFP the start of talks had been «very positive». The US-backed negotiations come six months later than planned owing to disagreements over a controversial prisoner swap agreed in February. Under the terms of that force withdrawal deal struck between the US and the Taliban, 5,000 Taliban prisoners have already been released in exchange for 1,000 government forces. © Agence France-Presse

Seychelles Electoral Commission refutes rumours of voter register tampering

The Seychelles Electoral Commission has refuted an allegation made on social media that there are attempts to tamper with the voter register to give advantage to a certain political party in the legislative election. The chairperson of the Electoral Commissi
Seychelles News Agency

Seychelles Electoral Commission refutes rumours of voter register tampering

The Seychelles Electoral Commission has refuted an allegation made on social media that there are attempts to tamper with the voter register to give advantage to a certain political party in the legislative election. The chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Danny Lucas, told a press conference Friday that the rumour being shared is that the commission is tampering with the register and is transferring voters from one district to another to give leverage to one party. «I categorically deny this allegation. This is bringing into disrepute the whole organisation. Firstly, the way the organisational structure has been laid out, there is a separation of power, and it is difficult for anyone to tamper with the voters register,» said Lucas. He added that there are procedures in place and the law does not permit the Commission to simply transfer people on the register. For a transfer, there needs to be an application at the regional level. «The application is then sent to us. We then physically verify if the person is staying where he had applied to be transferred. It is the same procedure as for the first time voters,» said Lucas. In last week's press conference, the Commission said that the register of voters will be certified on September 15. Around 70,000 people are eligible to vote in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean. Presidential and National Assembly elections in Seychelles will take place simultaneously from October 22-24. The voter registration was closed once the election dates were confirmed on August 11. On the question of can an independent candidate stand for both the presidential and legislative elections, Lucas said that the law states that an objection could be made by any other candidate during nomination. «If this happens, the objection is taken up and our position at the Commission will be that the candidate will not be allowed to stand for both elections,» he added. Nomination Day for the presidential candidates has been set for September 16 and for the legislative candidates on September 18. So far four political parties and two independent candidates have expressed their intentions to contest the upcoming presidential elections. There are currently four parties and four independent candidates for the National Assembly election. 

Seychelles Electoral Commission refutes rumours voter register tampering

The Seychelles Electoral Commission has refuted an allegation made on social media that there are attempts to tamper with the voter register to give advantage to a certain political party in the legislative election. The chairperson of the Electoral Commissi
Seychelles News Agency

Seychelles Electoral Commission refutes rumours voter register tampering

The Seychelles Electoral Commission has refuted an allegation made on social media that there are attempts to tamper with the voter register to give advantage to a certain political party in the legislative election. The chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Danny Lucas, told a press conference Friday that the rumour being shared is that the commission is tampering with the register and is transferring voters from one district to another to give leverage to one party. «I categorically deny this allegation. This is bringing into disrepute the whole organisation. Firstly, the way the organisational structure has been laid out, there is a separation of power, and it is difficult for anyone to tamper with the voters register,» said Lucas. He added that there are procedures in place and the law does not permit the Commission to simply transfer people on the register. For a transfer, there needs to be an application at the regional level. «The application is then sent to us. We then physically verify if the person is staying where he had applied to be transferred. It is the same procedure as for the first time voters,» said Lucas. In last week's press conference, the Commission said that the register of voters will be certified on September 15. Around 70,000 people are eligible to vote in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean. Presidential and National Assembly elections in Seychelles will take place simultaneously from October 22-24. The voter registration was closed once the election dates were confirmed on August 11. On the question of can an independent candidate stand for both the presidential and legislative elections, Lucas said that the law states that an objection could be made by any other candidate during nomination. «If this happens, the objection is taken up and our position at the Commission will be that the candidate will not be allowed to stand for both elections,» he added. Nomination Day for the presidential candidates has been set for September 16 and for the legislative candidates on September 18. So far four political parties and two independent candidates have expressed their intentions to contest the upcoming presidential elections. There are currently four parties and four independent candidates for the National Assembly election. 

UN adopts Covid response resolution, US votes against

The United States was supported only by Israel Friday in a vote against a UN resolution for a «comprehensive and coordinated response» to the Covid-19 pandemic, a text that included recognition of the WHO's leadership role. The measure, which ha
Seychelles News Agency

UN adopts Covid response resolution, US votes against

The United States was supported only by Israel Friday in a vote against a UN resolution for a «comprehensive and coordinated response» to the Covid-19 pandemic, a text that included recognition of the WHO's leadership role. The measure, which has been negotiated since May, was adopted by an overwhelming majority of 169 countries out of 193, with Ukraine and Hungary abstaining. The text, called an omnibus resolution because it covers multiple aspects of the pandemic, «acknowledges the key leadership role of WHO and the fundamental role of the United Nations system in catalyzing and coordinating the comprehensive global response to the Covid-19 pandemic.» The United States withdrew from the WHO this spring, accusing the body of mismanaging the coronavirus pandemic and delaying launch of a global alert. The text «calls for intensified international cooperation and solidarity to contain, mitigate and overcome the pandemic and its consequences.» And it supports UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' call in March for a ceasefire between countries in order to better facilitate the fight against the pandemic -- a request that has been little followed. The text additionally calls for «the urgent removal of unjustified obstacles,» meaning sanctions, in order to create better access to products used in combatting the virus. It requests nations to maintain food and agricultural supply chains and encourages synching economic recovery strategies to promote sustainable development and combat climate change. Ahead of the vote, the United States unsuccessfully attempted to remove a paragraph on protecting women in the area of sexual and reproductive health, over objections about abortion. Libya and Iraq also voted for the paragraph's removal. However more than 120 countries voted to keep it and 25 countries abstained. © Agence France-Presse

Government workers non-responsive? Seychelles Human Rights Commission wants improvements

Have you ever written a letter to a government worker in Seychelles and not received an answer? The Seychelles Human Rights Commission says it's happening too often, and that improvements must be made. The Commission's chairman, Bernadin Renaud, said that tw
Seychelles News Agency

Government workers non-responsive? Seychelles Human Rights Commission wants improvements

Have you ever written a letter to a government worker in Seychelles and not received an answer? The Seychelles Human Rights Commission says it's happening too often, and that improvements must be made. The Commission's chairman, Bernadin Renaud, said that two areas the Commission is looking to tackle so that human rights of citizens are respected include systematic failures in organisations and improving the education of civil servants. «Systemic failures are everywhere. It has become a norm and pattern in the public administration to continue working as we used to. It has become a norm for a government institution to receive a letter from a citizen and not reply. That is a serious failure. Public administration should not operate like that,» said Renaud. Renaud outlined that the worker needs to reply in a timely manner and to say why something couldn't be carried out. He added that people are receiving letters from the public administration with no citations of the authority in law which empowers the person to say yes or no. «We feel that these people haven't received the proper training. Some of them do not even know the law that governs that institution. We would like to see, in the future, as you join the public service, you go to a civil service college and trained to know your general law and then specialise in the law of the department you will be working in and get it right. When this is done the person can make the right decision,» said Renaud. He added that the commission feels that the human resources department within ministries is not discharging their responsibilities to the fullest. «We want this to develop so that there aren't too many frustrated employees in the workspace. We want this department to do much more - provide training, development, give advice, and all that is related to enriching the value of human resources,» said Renaud. He took the time to remind the public of Seychelles that «a citizen has the right to record all incidents using audio and visual footages - today we have the help of technology.» «This is something really important that can be used to help society. When this proof is given to a superior, the person can see what really happened. It could also be good for police officers to use bodycam so that they can record when they are insulted by the public. They will also have evidence,» said Renaud. He gave an example of cases where police officers have used their power to mask wrongdoing in the way they implement the law. Meanwhile, 88 cases related to work, right to property, right to freedom, right to family, and right to fair hearings have been lodged with the Commission since it was set up, Renaud said. The Commission which is mandated to protect and promote human rights in the island nation in the western Indian Ocean was established by the Seychelles Human Rights Commission Act in 2018.  

15 killed, 500,000 evacuated in unprecedented western US bushfires

Firefighters were battling unprecedented wildfires up and down the US West Coast on Friday that killed 15 people and forced more than half a million others to flee their homes, with officials warning of more deaths to come in the days ahead. The true scale o
Seychelles News Agency

15 killed, 500,000 evacuated in unprecedented western US bushfires

Firefighters were battling unprecedented wildfires up and down the US West Coast on Friday that killed 15 people and forced more than half a million others to flee their homes, with officials warning of more deaths to come in the days ahead. The true scale of destruction was impossible to count across wide stretches of California, Oregon and Washington cut off from the world by an apocalyptic wall of flames, fuelled by record heatwaves and intense, dry winds. The August Complex Fire became the biggest recorded blaze in Californian history on Thursday, after multiple fires in the state's northwest combined under high temperatures and winds to rip through 746,000 acres of dry vegetation. More than 2.6 million acres have been burned across the whole state so far, a Cal Fire spokesman said on Thursday evening. Half a million people have been evacuated in neighboring Oregon, where the government said firefighters were «prioritizing life (and) safety as they battle a record 900,000 acres of wildfires.» Governor Kate Brown said that the amount of land incinerated by fires in just the last 72 hours was twice the state's annual average, and that at least five towns had been «substantially destroyed.» «We have never seen this amount of uncontained fire across our state,» she told a press conference. Huge wildfires are becoming more common, with the World Meteorological Organization saying the five years to 2019 was «unprecedented» for fires, especially in Europe and North America. Climate change amplifies droughts which dry out regions, creating ideal conditions for wildfires to spread out-of-control and inflict unprecedented material and environmental damage. - 'Leave your house' - Local Oregon officials confirmed two deaths in the Santiam Canyon region south of Portland, and a third in the Ashland area, near the California border. Police went door to door to make sure that residents were evacuating the city of Molalla, marking their driveways with spray paint to show they had left. «It's one thing to leave your house, it's another thing being told that you have to leave,» said Denise Pentz, a resident of the town for 11 years, who was loading her family belongings into a camping trailer. Among those killed in the past day was a one-year-old boy who perished while his parents suffered severe burns as they attempted to flee an inferno 130 miles east of Seattle. «This child's family and community will never be the same,» said Washington governor Jay Inslee, in a statement on his state's first fire death of 2020. - 'Glowing red' - Police said the death toll had jumped to 10 in northern California's Butte County on Thursday. «We have to report an additional seven deceased individuals were located by our deputies and detectives today,» Butte County Sheriff Captain Derek Bell said. One unidentified person was killed in far northern California, near the remote rural community of Happy Camp, a Cal Fire spokeswoman told AFP. Tina Rose, 29, fled her home in central California after witnessing a nearby mountain «glowing red» from looming wildfires. «It is something we never want to experience again,» she told AFP, speaking from her brother-in-law's crowded home near Fresno. In the San Francisco area, Wednesday's deep orange sky caused by wildfire smoke gave way to a wintry gray, but cars were still forced to drive with lights on in the gloom. Polluted air meant schools and daycare centers were no longer letting children play outside, while seniors were encouraged to stay inside. But the strong, dry winds of the past days eased off across much of the state, with severe weather warnings lifted for most of California. Humidity is expected to rise as temperatures cool through to next week, providing some relief, Cal Fire said. - Climate change blamed - Much of the smoke has blown down from the north, where the Bear Fire exploded at an unprecedented speed this week, combining with older blazes to threaten the town of Oroville. Evacuation warnings were expanded to parts of the town of Paradise, the site of California's deadliest modern fire, which killed 86 people less than two years ago. California has seen more than 3.1 million acres burn this year -- an annual record, with nearly four months of fire season still to come. Governor Gavin Newsom blamed the ferocity of this year's fires on climate change. «We must do more,» he tweeted. «We need action at EVERY level. CA cannot do this alone. Climate change is REAL.» © Agence France-Presse

75 pct of Seychelles' hotel and guest house rooms certified COVID safe

Over 75 percent of the rooms in Seychelles' 418 tourism establishments have received safe tourism certificates and are in a position to welcome visitors, though not all of them are open, the tourism minister said. Didier Dogley said about 4,700 out of 6,000
Seychelles News Agency

75 pct of Seychelles' hotel and guest house rooms certified COVID safe

Over 75 percent of the rooms in Seychelles' 418 tourism establishments have received safe tourism certificates and are in a position to welcome visitors, though not all of them are open, the tourism minister said. Didier Dogley said about 4,700 out of 6,000 rooms at hotels, guest houses and self-catering establishments have achieved a COVID-19 certification. Sybille Cardon, the chairperson of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association (SHTA), told SNA on Thursday that the number of certified establishments «is something positive and that we couldn't just pretend that we were going to reopen Seychelles and operate things as it was before COVID.» The tourism industry, the top economic contributor in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, came to a stop when the nation closed its borders to tourists amid the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since authorities decided to reopen Seychelles' borders to visitors, the tourism department has been working closely with health authorities to develop guidelines governing the operation of tourism businesses. A safe tourism certificate is being issued to businesses that have trained their staff and met other public health criteria.  «The training allowed people to know more about the virus. It was an eye-opener. It also reassured people that if they have a client who is positive with COVID-19 in the establishment that everyone will get sick. It does not mean that a staff who has a fever automatically has COVID. This process was and is important,» said Cardon. She added that «when you get certified, it is good for your establishment, clients and staff, and you are in a better prepared under the new normal.» Training on Mahe, the main island, started at first at Avani Resort but organisers were disappointed as nobody turned up. This changed as people started realising the importance of it. «The number of applications that we are getting is way less compared to what we were getting in the beginning, but we are still asking hotels and other establishments to do the necessary - send their Standard Operation Procedures (SOP) and attend training that is being organised to make sure that everyone is on board, knowing what they need to do even if they decide not to open the establishment right away though you will be prepared for when you reopen your establishment,» said Dogley.

Seychellois musician Patrick Victor to perform hits on livestreamed event Saturday

Seychellois music legend Patrick Victor will perform to a global audience for the first time in a concert on Saturday live-streamed on an online platform. Victor will perform a repertoire of his Creole songs such as 'Mon Pe Esper Ou,' 'Mon Bizou', 'Solin' am
Seychelles News Agency

Seychellois musician Patrick Victor to perform hits on livestreamed event Saturday

Seychellois music legend Patrick Victor will perform to a global audience for the first time in a concert on Saturday live-streamed on an online platform. Victor will perform a repertoire of his Creole songs such as 'Mon Pe Esper Ou,' 'Mon Bizou', 'Solin' among others on Jobo Live from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Seychelles time. Victor told a press conference on Tuesday he is excited to see a project that took months of planning come to life. «When I was first approached by JOBO.sc with this innovative idea during the time of our lockdown in April, I was immediately sold on the project because as artists, we desire a global audience,» he said. The singer added that he is «super excited and proud to be the first local artist to perform live on JOBO.sc. I have many fans throughout the world and some have never had the chance to see me live and this will be their big chance and within the new normal from the comfort and safety of their homes.»   As a veteran in the local music scene and the honorary cultural ambassador for Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, Victor is well known for his patriotic and sentimental tracks. He is also a promoter of the Creole spirit and has collected a number of local awards. Viewers who wish to watch the live stream performance have to buy an eTicket for SCR250 on the Jobo Live on the Jobo.sc website. A '7-day On-Demand' option is also available as from September 14 for those who will not be able to watch Saturday's performance. Victor will perform a repertoire of his Creole songs on Jobo Live from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Seychelles time. (Daniel Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY JOBO.sc is an online job board offering employers the platform to list their vacancies and candidates the opportunity to find their dream job. In his capacity as the honorary ambassador for culture, Victor highlighted the fact that JOBO Live will enable local artists to promote their own work by reaching their fans worldwide especially with the negative impact COVID-19 has had on local performances. The founder of the website, Hervé Chang-Yunn, said one of the ideas behind the live stream performance initiative was that «Victor's fans are worldwide in different time zones and we had to offer his fans the flexibility of viewing this history in the making performance in their own time.» He added that as «we believe in giving additional value all the time, we are giving fans three options to choose from. The first option is the Patrick Victor Livestream on JOBO and the 7-day On-Demand version combined. Option two is the live stream only and the last option is the7-day On-Demand version only.» For his fans, Victor said, «I promise to give a show of a lifetime. It will be my guitar and most of the time accompanied by local back-up singers. Buy your ticket and support local artists so that we can keep on producing good music. I am also encouraging young artists to use this platform effectively.»

Mauritius oil spill ship operator to pay $9.4 million

The Japanese operator of a ship that leaked oil off the Mauritius coast pledged Friday to pay at least $9.4 million to help restore areas affected by the spill. Mitsui OSK Lines said in a statement that it planned «to contribute a total fund of about o
Seychelles News Agency

Mauritius oil spill ship operator to pay $9.4 million

The Japanese operator of a ship that leaked oil off the Mauritius coast pledged Friday to pay at least $9.4 million to help restore areas affected by the spill. Mitsui OSK Lines said in a statement that it planned «to contribute a total fund of about one billion Japanese yen over several years to support measures» to restore the marine environment. The measures include running mangrove and coral protection projects in partnership with experts and local NGOs, and setting up an environment recovery fund, it said. The company operates the MV Wakashio, which ran aground on July 25 off the coast of Mauritius, carrying 4,000 tonnes of fuel that began seeping into the island nation's pristine, coral-filled waters. After the boat split in two, the larger piece was towed out to sea and sunk, but the smaller section remains stranded on the reef. More than 1,000 tonnes of oil is believed to have leaked from the ship, with the rest siphoned out before it spilled. The oil has affected mangroved areas that are complicated to clean. Both the operator and the vessel's owner Nagashiki Shipping have apologised for the spill. Nagashiki last month pledged to «sincerely» respond to requests for compensation. It was not immediately clear if the funds promised by Mitsui would satisfy demands from the Mauritius government for compensation from the companies for «all losses and damages» caused by the spill and clean-up costs. Japan's Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said last week the country would continue supporting recovery efforts. The accident is still under investigation by Mauritian authorities. Japan's Kyodo News said last month the ship's crew had steered it close to shore because they wanted to find a mobile signal so they could contact family and ask about the coronavirus situation at home. It cited an unnamed judicial source, who also said an alcohol-fuelled birthday party had been held on board before the accident, though it was not clear if on-duty crew participated. © Agence France-Presse

World wildlife plummets more than two-thirds in 50 years: index

Global animal, bird and fish populations have plummeted more than two-thirds in less than 50 years due to rampant over-consumption, experts said Thursday in a stark warning to save nature in order to save ourselves. Human activity has severely degraded thre
Seychelles News Agency

World wildlife plummets more than two-thirds in 50 years: index

Global animal, bird and fish populations have plummeted more than two-thirds in less than 50 years due to rampant over-consumption, experts said Thursday in a stark warning to save nature in order to save ourselves. Human activity has severely degraded three quarters of all land and 40 percent of Earth's oceans, and our quickening destruction of nature is likely to have untold consequences on our health and livelihoods. The Living Planet Index, which tracks more than 4,000 species of vertebrates, warned that increasing deforestation and agricultural expansion were the key drivers behind a 68 percent average decline in populations between 1970 and 2016. It warned that continued natural habitat loss increased the risk of future pandemics as humans expand their presence into ever closer contact with wild animals. 2020's Living Planet Report, a collaboration between WWF International and the Zoological Society of London, is the 13th edition of the biennial publication tracking wildlife populations around the world. WWF International director general Marco Lambertini told AFP of the staggering loss of Earth's biodiversity since 1970. «It's an accelerating decrease that we've been monitoring for 30 years and it continues to go in the wrong direction,» he said. «In 2016 we documented a 60 percent decline, now we have a 70 percent decline. »All this is in a blink of an eye compared to the millions of years that many species have been living on the planet,« Lambertini added. - 'Staggering' fall - The last half-decade has seen unprecedented economic growth underpinned by an explosion in global consumption of natural resources. Whereas until 1970, humanity's ecological footprint was smaller than the Earth's capacity to regenerate resources, the WWF now calculates we are over using the planet's capacity by more than half. While aided by factors such as invasive species and pollution, the biggest single driver of species lost is land-use changes: normally, industry converting forests or grasslands into farms. This takes an immense toll on wild species, who lose their homes. But it also requires unsustainable levels of resources to uphold: one third of all land mass and three quarters of all freshwater are now dedicated to producing food. The picture is equally dire in the ocean, where 75 percent of fish stocks are over exploited. And while wildlife is declining rapidly, species are disappearing faster in some places than others. The index showed that the tropical regions of Central and South America had seen a 94 percent fall in species since 1970. »It is staggering. It is ultimately an indicator of our impact on the natural world,« said Lambertini. - 'From sad to worried' - The Living Planet update comes alongside a study co-authored by more than 40 NGOs and academic institutions, which lays out ways of arresting and reversing the losses human consumption has inflicted. The research, published in the journal Nature, suggests that reducing food waste and favouring healthier and more environmentally friendly diets could help to »bend the curve« of degradation. Coupled with radical conservation efforts, these measures could avert more than two-thirds of future biodiversity loss, the authors suggested. »We need to act now. Rates of biodiversity recovery are typically much slower than those of recent biodiversity loss,« said lead study author David Leclere, research scholar at the International Institute of Applied System Analysis. »This implies that any delay in action will allow further biodiversity losses that might take decades to restore.« Leclere also warned of »irreversible« losses to biodiversity, such as when a species goes extinct. Lambertini said that, like public discourse on climate change, societies are increasingly concerned about the links between the health of the planet and human well-being. »From being sad about losing nature, people are beginning to actually get worried,« he said. »We still have a moral duty to co-exist with life on the planet, but there's now this new element of impact on our society, our economy and, of course, our health. © Agence France-Presse

South African visitor to Seychelles tests positive for COVID-19 after visiting restaurants, shops

A South African national who came to Seychelles to get married has tested positive for COVID-19, a top health official said Thursday. The South African, who lives in Dubai, came to the island nation in the western Indian Ocean onboard the same flight as the
Seychelles News Agency

South African visitor to Seychelles tests positive for COVID-19 after visiting restaurants, shops

A South African national who came to Seychelles to get married has tested positive for COVID-19, a top health official said Thursday. The South African, who lives in Dubai, came to the island nation in the western Indian Ocean onboard the same flight as the other active case of COVID, said Jude Gedeon, the Public Health Commissioner. «The second case was diagnosed today and contact tracing are being done. He has been in the country since the 3rd (of September) and was doing his exit PCR to leave the country,» he added. Gedeon said the spouse of the South African national tested negative. He said that there is a link between the two cases as both individuals have gone to the same places while in Seychelles, including restaurants and spas. There are now two patients with COVID-19 in the isolation centre at the Family Hospital at Perseverance, after a 43-year-old, also from Dubai, tested positive on Sunday in a routine exit screening of passengers. Eight people considered high-risk contacts have been taken into quarantine. Another 216 people in the low-risk contact category are now under surveillance. Gedeon said that contact tracings have started for the second case and there is a possibility that certain establishments will be closed. He added that «the second case has gone to several places – to town, certain shops and restaurants but had no symptoms at the time.» «This shows how important it is to be vigilant at all times. We don't know who around us can become a case,» said Gedeon. Meanwhile, the Police are concerned about the disrespecting of traffic regulations and illegal public gatherings observed during the past three weeks, said Jean Toussaint, the public relations manager. «We are going to have the Nomination Day for legislative and presidential elections and we expect to see many more activities like setting up billboards and posters and we would like to call on political leaders and their supporters to stay within the election laws,» said Toussaint.

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