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Johnson seeks to push Trump at fractious G7

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will on Sunday seek to persuade President Donald Trump to offer flexibility on trade and also win concessions from the EU on Brexit, at a G7 summit hosted by France marked by stark divisions. Johnson was to hold his long-
Seychelles News Agency

Johnson seeks to push Trump at fractious G7

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will on Sunday seek to persuade President Donald Trump to offer flexibility on trade and also win concessions from the EU on Brexit, at a G7 summit hosted by France marked by stark divisions. Johnson was to hold his long-awaited first face-to-face meeting as premier with Trump in the southern French resort of Biarritz and also at midday talk with EU Council President Donald Tusk after a bitter verbal spat the day earlier. Host President Emmanuel Macron wants to make the three-day meeting of the Group of Seven nations that started Saturday, an example for international forums but the first day was marked by EU leaders rounding on Trump on trade. In a radical break from previous meetings of the elite club, there is to be no final statement haggled over in late night talks. Macron also invited several world leaders from outside the G7 such as India's Narendra Modi and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The Basque resort of Biarritz, which at this time of year usually teems with surfers, sunbathers and tourists, has been turned into a fortress for the event with over 13,000 police on duty and its gleaming beaches out of bounds to the public. An anti-capitalism demonstration in nearby Bayonne turned ugly Saturday when the crowd of several hundred tried to get through police barricades and was repelled with water cannon and tear gas. - 'Considerable barriers' - On Sunday, all eyes will be on Johnson as he makes his biggest international appearance since taking office in July on a pledge to deliver Britain's exit from the European Union and return the self confidence of his nation. In the lead-up to the talks, Johnson appeared at pains to distance himself from Trump after facing accusations in the past of being too cosy with the American leader. He urged Trump to remove the «considerable barriers» for UK companies seeking to export to the American market, saying they risked impeding a free-trade deal after Brexit. Johnson pointed to a string of UK products -- ranging from shower trays to Britain's beloved pork pies -- that he said were not allowed on the American market. «We intend to seize those opportunities but they are going to require our American friends to compromise and to open up their approach, because currently there are too many restrictions,» he said. In another comment that could rile the Americans, he said that US digital giants like Facebook and Google needed to be taxed «fairly and properly» on their revenues. Johnson also sounded the alarm over Trump's escalating trade struggle with China. Johnson's talks with Tusk later in the day could prove to be prickly after the pair exchanged barbs on Saturday over who would be to blame if Britain left the European Union without a deal. «I still hope that Prime Minister Johnson will not like to go down in history as Mr 'No Deal',» Tusk told reporters in Biarritz. Johnson retorted it was up to the EU to «get rid of» the so-called Irish backstop, a provision guaranteeing that border checks will not return between Ireland, an EU member, and Britain's Northern Ireland. - 'Very special guest' - G7 summits, gathering Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, were once a meeting of like-minded allies. But they've become a diplomatic battlefield under Trump. In an attempt to break the ice, Macron deployed the charms of French cuisine on Saturday, treating Trump to an unscheduled lunch as soon as he arrived on Air Force One. Speaking to reporters in fluent English, Macron called Trump «a very special guest» and aides later said that the two men had found some common ground, notably on the Iran nuclear crisis. G7 chiefs are also hoping to soothe tensions over Iran's nuclear programme and persuade Trump to ease his policy of «maximum pressure», for example by lifting sanctions on Iranian oil sales to China and India. Macron is also pushing for action against fires in the Amazon rainforest, despite Brazilian right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro's angry response to what he sees as outside interference. © Agence France-Presse

Maia Luxury Resort earns the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label

Maia Luxury Resort & Spa has been certified with the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label as a responsible hotel with well- established sustainability practices. The resort received the certification from the Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports &
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Maia Luxury Resort earns the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label

Maia Luxury Resort & Spa has been certified with the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label as a responsible hotel with well- established sustainability practices. The resort received the certification from the Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports & Marine, Didier Dogley, in a short ceremony on Tuesday. Maia Luxury Resort & Spa is the 21st hotel to be certified and according to the minister, 74 percent of large hotels in Seychelles are now SSTL certified. “This shows that more and more of our operators are recognising the need and importance of sustainable operations and they are embracing the ministry’s efforts to make of our industry a sustainable one which can contribute to the sustainable development of our country,” said the minister. The general manager of the resort, Lionel Ferrari, said that “more visitors are looking for certified hotels and other tourism products and it is becoming a necessity for hotels to meet this need in order to increase visitor experience and satisfaction.” The resort received the certification from the Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports & Marine, Didier Dogley, in a short ceremony on Tuesday. (Tourism Department) Photo License: CC-BY  Maia Luxury Resort & Spa is an exclusive resort conceived as a relaxing, private sanctuary with 30 rustic-style villas and an outstanding Balinese-style spa. It is set on a granite headland at Anse Louis beach on the southwest coast of the main island, Mahe. The Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label launched in 2012 has seen a growing interest over the last two years as hotels become more aware of the necessity and benefits of sustainable practices.    Dogley said that the ministry will “continue to work with our medium and smaller accommodation establishments to get them on board so that they too can experience the benefits of being a responsible tourism business.” Applicable to hotels of all sizes in Seychelles, the label is designed to encourage more efficient and sustainable ways of doing business. It works on a point-based system and hotels have to satisfy 24 “must” criteria, and depending on their sizes, hotels have to score additional points in each of eight theme areas: management, waste, water, energy, staff, conservation, community and guests. The tourism department has developed the label so as to be able to certify not only hotels but tour operators, Destination Management Companies, the boating-yachting sector and restaurants. These certifications will be launched at the end of 2019. Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, relies largely on tourism which is the top contributor to its economy.

United Seychelles endorses President Faure as party’s candidate for 2020 election

The United Seychelles political party (US) has endorsed the incumbent President Danny Faure as the party’s candidate for the next presidential elections expected to take place in the fourth quarter of 2020. Faure’s nomination was endorsed at the party’
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United Seychelles endorses President Faure as party’s candidate for 2020 election

The United Seychelles political party (US) has endorsed the incumbent President Danny Faure as the party’s candidate for the next presidential elections expected to take place in the fourth quarter of 2020. Faure’s nomination was endorsed at the party’s 33rd annual congress held on Saturday at the Seychelles Trading Company’s conference centre in the capital, Victoria. Speaking at the event, Faure said that by choosing US, “I have come home, to my family, the party where I was born and raised and where I will remain.”   Faure was the only candidate to submit an expression of interest to be the United Seychelles party’s presidential candidate for the 2020 elections. He announced his intention to stand as a US candidate in a special address on May 29. Faure, who distanced himself from United Seychelles - formerly Parti Lepep - after becoming president in 2016, told the congress that the country needed a party that would unite the nation. He said that has been his style of leadership for the past three years. “Seychellois are tired of a divisive politics where politics is in everything -- in the cost of living, poverty, trafficking and drug abuse, the country’s security and our territory. All of this created confusion, frustration and uncertainty among our people,” he said. Faure’s nomination was endorsed at the party’s 33rd annual congress held on Saturday. (Joena Meme) Photo License: CC-BY     He told the congress that distancing himself from the party to which he has always been a member was done in the interest of the country. “Whatever I did was for Seychelles’ best interest and unity. I had to make difficult compromises to ensure the country prospers. That is why I was leading a government which is inclusive, transparent and where everybody is accountable.” He added that “United Seychelles’ vision was sacred and was more than a dream. When I say Seychelles is bigger than all of us, I mean exactly that. Seychelles is bigger than all of us.” Prior to the congress’ approval, Faure had to present his vision for the country in line with the party’s constitution. He also had to declare his assets and liabilities which were vetted by the party’s Ethics Committee. For the post of vice-president, the National Executive committee of United Seychelles will set a date for the presidential candidate to choose his running mate. United Seychelles, previously Parti Lepep, has won all presidential elections since the return of multiparty democracy in 1993. The party lost the legislative elections for the first time in its history in 2016. Also for the first time the President of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, is not the leader of the ruling party.  Faure, who was the running mate of former President James Michel, took over power when Michel resigned less than a year after winning the 2015 election.  

US-China trade war deteriorates, as Trump lashes out at Beijing

The United States and China exchanged blows Friday as each side increased punitive tariffs on the other, intensifying a trade war that is threatening to engulf the global economy. In a rapid back-and-forth, Beijing took action against $75 billion in America
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US-China trade war deteriorates, as Trump lashes out at Beijing

The United States and China exchanged blows Friday as each side increased punitive tariffs on the other, intensifying a trade war that is threatening to engulf the global economy. In a rapid back-and-forth, Beijing took action against $75 billion in American goods in response to US tariffs announced August 1, and President Donald Trump lashed out in return by increasing existing and planned tariffs on a total of $550 billion in Chinese products. Trump's blistering Twitter screeds called into doubt chances for a quick resolution to the trade war between the world's economic superpowers, which by the end of the year will cover nearly all imports and exports exchanged between the two countries. Accusing China of «taking advantage of the United States on Trade, Intellectual Property Theft, and much more,» Trump said, «we must Balance this very.... ...unfair Trading Relationship.» Existing 25 percent tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods will increase to 30 percent starting October 1, Trump said. And tariffs on $300 billion in products, due to take effect September 1 at 10 percent, will now be set at 15 percent, he said. «China should not have put new Tariffs on 75 BILLION DOLLARS of United States product (politically motivated!).» While Beijing worked for three weeks on its multi-tiered tariff response, Trump's promised retaliation -- which came in a signature tweetstorm -- was announced in less than 10 hours. The rapidly changing conflict worries US companies, many of whom rely on China for inputs, for finished products they sell and for manufacturing. «It's impossible for businesses to plan for the future in this type of environment,» said David French of the National Retail Federation. «The administration's approach clearly isn't working, and the answer isn't more taxes on American businesses and consumers. Where does this end?» - Ordered to move - The attack came with Trump expected to ruffle feathers in France at the weekend meeting of leaders of the G7 nations. Tensions are mounting between Trump and the Europeans, Canada and Japan over trade tariffs. The friction has already slowed US growth and undercut the global economy, and the threat of a deterioration sent stock markets falling sharply. The Dow lost more than 600 points to close with a loss of 2.4 percent. The German DAX lost more than one percent but London's FTSE gained ground. «Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing... your companies HOME and making your products in the USA.» «We don't need China and, frankly, would be far... better off without them,» Trump said. It was unclear under what authority Trump could demand that private companies alter their production. But the influential US Chamber of Commerce urged the two sides to return to the negotiating table to find a solution. «While we share the president's frustration, we believe that continued, constructive engagement is the right way forward,» Myron Brilliant, the business group's head of international affairs, said in a statement. - China responds - China's punitive tariffs of five to 10 percent will apply to 5,078 US items, and are timed to start in tandem with the new US duties set to take effect in two steps September 1 and December 15, China's state council tariff office said. Beijing also announced it would reimpose a 25 percent tariff on US autos and a five percent tariff on auto parts, also starting December 15. China had lifted those tariffs earlier this year as a goodwill measure while trade talks were underway. Trump already imposed steep tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods, with a further $300 billion in imports targeted in the coming rounds. Beijing has hit back with duties on around $110 billion of US goods -- or nearly all of the $120 billion worth of American goods it imported last year. China's commerce ministry said it will hit American frozen lobster, frozen chicken feet, peanut butter and 914 other goods with new 10 percent punitive tariffs starting September 1. Soybeans, crude oil and other energy goods face 5 percent tariffs. US-made mango juice, electric buses and chemical products face 10 percent duties come mid-December while smaller aircraft, hand pumps and bearings will be hit with 5 percent taxes. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warned in a speech Friday that trade tensions were exacerbating the global slowdown and the central bank does not have a «rulebook» for dealing with the fallout. But he also vowed to «act as appropriate» to sustain the sustain the US economy. An alarm bell went off in the US Treasury bond market last week when 10-year bond yields briefly fell below the yields offered on a two-year bond -- seen as a sign of looming recession -- and it happened again Friday. US officials have said in recent days that trade talks with China would continue next month. However China's commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng said Thursday he had no information on the next round of meetings, while noting the two sides remain in contact. © Agence France-Presse

President of Seychelles to embark on official trips to Japan, South Africa and Scotland

The President of Seychelles, Danny Faure, will attend a series of exclusive high-level international events set to bring new development opportunities to the island nation, State House said on Friday. The first meeting Faure will attend is the Seventh Toky
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President of Seychelles to embark on official trips to Japan, South Africa and Scotland

The President of Seychelles, Danny Faure, will attend a series of exclusive high-level international events set to bring new development opportunities to the island nation, State House said on Friday. The first meeting Faure will attend is the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7) from August 28 to 30 in Yokohama Japan. This year’s event is called ‘Africa and Yokohama, Sharing Passion for the Future’. TICAD is the largest international conference held in Japan led by the Japanese government and co-sponsored by the United Nations, the United Nations Development Programme, the African Union Commission and the World Bank. Heads of state and government and decision-makers from all sectors of society will be participating in the conference. From Japan, Faure will travel to Cape Town, South Africa where he will deliver an address at the African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Fund Leaders’ Summit on September 3rd. The summit is a unique invitation-only event to foster and facilitate inbound investment within the continent and will allow Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, to access vetted co-investment opportunities and partners. Also in Cape Town, the Seychelles’ head of state will attend the World Economic Forum on Africa from September 4-6. Under the theme, ‘Shaping Inclusive Growth and Shared Futures in the Fourth Industrial Revolution’, the meeting will address regional strategic priorities including innovation, sustainable development, growth and stability. Faure will proceed to Edinburgh, Scotland to deliver a speech at the Ninth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning, co-hosted by The Commonwealth of Learning and The Open University from September 9 to 12. The event will gather all ministers of education from the Commonwealth and is designed to promote the development and sharing of open learning and distance education knowledge, resources and technologies. The President will leave Seychelles on Monday, August 26 and he will return on September 14.  

Seychelles committed to deter sales of sugary drinks and single cigarettes, President says

President Danny Faure held his third live presidential conference on Thursday evening at State House, where journalists from eleven media houses questioned him on a number of issues. SNA presents an overview of some of the issues raised. Government’s pla
Seychelles News Agency

Seychelles committed to deter sales of sugary drinks and single cigarettes, President says

President Danny Faure held his third live presidential conference on Thursday evening at State House, where journalists from eleven media houses questioned him on a number of issues. SNA presents an overview of some of the issues raised. Government’s plan to ensure constant power supply to La Digue Faure said that following a fault over a week ago with one of the two undersea cables linking Praslin and La Digue, the second and third most populated islands, the government will be investing in a third undersea cable to prevent the disruption of power supply on La Digue. “This will be funded through the $9 million under the Abu Dhabi fund which was supposed to go towards improving electricity distribution on Mahe. I have asked the minister responsible for finance to inform the Abu Dhabi Fund of this decision,” said the President. Faure said that although two generators are being installed temporarily to ensure there is electricity on the island which is a tourist destination, it was never government’s plan to have these generators on La Digue as they cause noise and air pollution. Sugar tax, measures on the sale of alcohol and cigarettes The President said the government will maintain the new measures to control and limit the sale of sugary drinks and the use of alcohol and cigarettes, despite complaints from retailers. The new measures to tackle alcohol abuse include separating the sale of alcohol from other commodities in shops, taxing alcoholic products as per alcohol content and a moratorium on licences for local production of alcoholic beverages. Faure explained that “Seychelles is a party to WHO (World Health Organisation) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and as such the country has to abide by the convention, which among its measures, limit the sale of single cigarettes.” He added that this will not only prevent minors from having access to cigarettes but helps with the ministry’s drive to address cigarette-related health issues. On the sugar tax which came into force in April, Faure said, “The measure was aimed at tackling obesity among children and the government remains committed to this fight because we see how young people are being affected.” Government’s stance on Assumption following report by Preserve Seychelles President Faure confirmed that Preserve Seychelles -- a new association aimed at protecting the sovereignty of the island nation -- has submitted a report to his office following the group’s visit to the islands of Astove and Assumption in July. “I have analysed the report and I welcomed it. However, my views differ from that of Preserve Seychelles to have a coast guard base on Astove instead of Assumption. This is practically impossible because of the island’s environment.” He emphasised government’s plan to have the base on Assumption and said it is hoped that Preserve Seychelles and the whole nation will eventually be on board with the project, which is in the best interest of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean. International Business Company, BitMex and allegations of bribery against some local officials The President confirmed that the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has contacted BitMEX’s lawyer following a statement given by their CEO in a live debate two months ago in Taiwan that his company registered in Seychelles bribed local officials. Faure who met with the Co-Founder and chief executive of Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange (BitMEX), Arthur Hayes, last December said these comments were unfounded and baseless and that Seychelles was not for sale. “Mr Hayes should not have made such comments, which could be detrimental to the Seychelles’ financial sector. Discussions are ongoing between FSA and BitMEX to resolve the matter and I want to reiterate that I am not for sale and the country is not for sale.” On Monday, BitMEX’ parent company, HDR Global Trading Limited, announced that it had added Seychelles to its list of total trade access restrictions.  White Flag designation Interrupted by fraud allegations Faure confirmed that Seychelles’ relationship with Ocean Alliance Conservation Member, an international environmental organisation, is a good one and the country will proceed with its plan to work with the organisation once the fraud allegations levelled at its president, Kristijan Curavic are resolved. Curavic met President Faure last week to discuss plans to have 40 beaches recognised with the White Flag Certification for being clean and plastic-free. This was put on hold following allegations of fraud involving the state of Malta. “There was no exchange of money between Seychelles and the organisation and three ministers had a meeting with Curavic after the allegations of fraud had surfaced and the government was satisfied with the explanation provided by theOcean Alliance Conservation Member.” He also confirmed that there is due diligence done by his officials prior to any visits by foreign personnel to State House to prevent such eventualities.

UK High Commissioner: Seychelles can be at forefront of global efforts to fight ocean pollution

The United Kingdom (UK) is looking forward to working with Seychelles on the Blue Economy and strengthening existing relations, said the newly accredited High Commissioner. Patrick Lynch, the British High Commissioner to Seychelles, made this statement afte
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UK High Commissioner: Seychelles can be at forefront of global efforts to fight ocean pollution

The United Kingdom (UK) is looking forward to working with Seychelles on the Blue Economy and strengthening existing relations, said the newly accredited High Commissioner. Patrick Lynch, the British High Commissioner to Seychelles, made this statement after presenting his credentials to President Danny Faure on Friday at State House. Discussions touched upon areas that the two countries are already working on such as maritime security, the Blue Economy and democracy development.  “It is my first day on the job. I am consuming a lot of information. I am looking forward to promoting our shared values. A lot of work has already been done on democracy, the rule of law and protection of human rights,” said Lynch.   The Blue Economy, which Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, is seen as a champion of, was also discussed. Discussions between the British High Commissioner and President Faure touched on areas the two countries are working on among others. (Jude Morel)  Photo License: CC-BY  “I think on those issues Seychelles can very much be at the forefront of the global effort. By that we are also talking about controlling plastic in the ocean and ensuring that enterprises in the ocean are sustainable in order to also reduce the impact of climate change,” said the new High Commissioner.  He added that “we have discussed ongoing areas of mutual cooperation. As I said on a UK perspective Seychelles is much more than beautiful islands. There are a lot of initiatives going on here that are of mutual interest.”  Speaking on the impact of Brexit on Seychelles, Lynch said that it will be positive.  “Our relationship with Europe is all about onward looking, but also focusing on countries around the world that we have strong ties with and that very much includes the Seychelles,” said Lynch.   The British High Commissioner is replacing Caron Rӧhsler who is taking up another post in the Maldives, another country located in the Indian Ocean. Bilateral relations between the two countries have been established since Seychelles became a crown colony separate from Mauritius in 1903, and independence was granted in 1976.

Somali state braces for election with risks to regional stability

Somalia's southern state of Jubaland is under lockdown ahead of a tense election Thursday which has pitted regional authorities against Mogadishu and sparked tensions with neighbouring Kenya and Ethiopia. The highly contested election in the semi-autonomous
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Somali state braces for election with risks to regional stability

Somalia's southern state of Jubaland is under lockdown ahead of a tense election Thursday which has pitted regional authorities against Mogadishu and sparked tensions with neighbouring Kenya and Ethiopia. The highly contested election in the semi-autonomous state has been postponed several times as a result of what observers say is a power struggle between Mogadishu, the regional government and their foreign backers. Authorities in the region's capital, the port city of Kismayo, have shut the airport and closed borders until August 23. «Security forces are patrolling inside and around the suburbs of Kismayo to avert any attempt to disrupt the election. The airport was also closed temporarily so that there will not be any flights expected during the election day,» local security official Abdulkarim Warsame told AFP. The current president of Jubaland and election frontrunner is Ahmed Madobe, a former warlord who, with the help of Kenyan troops, pushed Al-Shabaab Islamists out of their former stronghold in Kismayo in 2012. However Mogadishu is accused by Jubaland of trying to oust Madobe by backing the opposition, in what observers say is a bid to get a loyalist into power in the strategic region, and increase the control of the federal government. Mogadishu has said it will not recognise the outcome of Thursday's poll, after it rejected the formation last week of a new parliament -- which appoints the regional president -- as disputed and not inclusive. Madobe's opponents meanwhile are organising a rival election. The United Nations mission in Somalia on Wednesday called for a «single electoral process that is credible, inclusive, fair and peaceful.» «We are concerned that in the absence of such agreement, the likelihood of instability and division within Jubaland is significantly increased.» - 'A kind of proxy war' - Matt Bryden, Senior Policy Advisor to Nairobi-based think tank Sahan, said the tensions had wider implications as Kenya was strongly backing its ally Madobe while Ethiopia was siding with Mogadishu in trying to remove him. Kenya sees Jubaland, a lush, relatively prosperous part of Somalia where it has many troops, as a buffer between it and Al-Shabaab militants who have staged several bloody attacks across the border. Observers say that for Kenya, having an ally in Jubaland is also key amid a spat with Mogadishu over maritime borders, with possibly lucrative Indian Ocean oil and gas reserves at stake. Ethiopia also has troops there, and played a key role in the formation of the state, however new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has renewed ties with Mogadishu, and is now backing their stance in what is seen as a rejection of the historical alliance with Nairobi. «So what we now risk is a kind of proxy war... External contestation over Jubaland represents a risk to the stability of the region, not just to Somalia,» said Bryden. Bryden said the federal government appears to be trying to «dismantle the structure of federalism» and return to a more unitary system akin to the government which collapsed after the 1991 overthrow of president Siad Barre's military regime which ushered in decades of chaos. He said Mogadishu’s campaign against the federal member states was a dangerous move that would only benefit Shabaab, which killed 26 people in an attack on a Kismayo hotel last month. «The federal government is putting more time and energy into waging war against its own member states than into fighting Al-Shabaab, so of course Al-Shabaab benefits,» he said. © Agence France-Presse

2 of Seychelles’ football clubs in action this weekend at home

Two of Seychelles’ football teams will play their return matches in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) club competition at home this weekend. In the Total African champions league preliminary round, Praslin-based Cote d’Or club will face FC Fomb
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2 of Seychelles’ football clubs in action this weekend at home

Two of Seychelles’ football teams will play their return matches in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) club competition at home this weekend. In the Total African champions league preliminary round, Praslin-based Cote d’Or club will face FC Fomboni from the Comoros on Friday at 4 p.m. at Stad Linite. In the away match two weeks ago, Cote d’Or made a 2-2 draw against the Comorian side. Coach James Barra told SNA on Wednesday that his team is gearing up for the game. “Earlier this week, we started training to work on our game plan for Friday. We will be working on our attack and defence as there are some things we need to improve now that we know our opponent,” said Barra. The Praslin-based side is participating in the competition for the second time after qualifying in 2017. The team failed to progress to the next round after losing both home and away matches to St. George of Ethiopia on scores of 2-0 and 3-0. Coach Barra is hoping that this time will be different. “The match in Comoros went well and our players gave their best. We hope we do the same on Friday,” he said. Another local side in action on Sunday is St. Louis in the CAF confederation cup. In the away match, St. Louis lost 1-0 against TS Galaxy of South Africa. Coach Michel Renaud told SNA that the match was difficult in view of the long journey the team had to make on the day before the game. “We reached our destination very late on Saturday and we had to play on Sunday. My players tried to adjust and as best they could in the match,” said Renaud. He said that “a 1-0 score is not impossible for us to reverse when we play at home. Our objective on Sunday is to reverse the score. We will simply have to give more in the match and play to our maximum.” The match will take place at Stade Linite on Sunday at 4 p.m. local time.

UN, France raise concern over Amazon wildfires 'crisis'

Paris and the United Nations called Thursday for the protection of the fire-plagued Amazon rainforest as Brazil's right-wing president accused his French counterpart of having a «colonialist mentality» over the issue. Official figures show nearl
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UN, France raise concern over Amazon wildfires 'crisis'

Paris and the United Nations called Thursday for the protection of the fire-plagued Amazon rainforest as Brazil's right-wing president accused his French counterpart of having a «colonialist mentality» over the issue. Official figures show nearly 73,000 forest fires were recorded in Brazil in the first eight months of the year -- the highest number for any year since 2013. Most were in the Amazon. The extent of the area damaged by fires has yet to be determined, but smoke has choked Sao Paulo and several other Brazilian cities in the past week. UN chief Antonio Guterres said he was «deeply concerned» by the fires. «In the midst of the global climate crisis, we cannot afford more damage to a major source of oxygen and biodiversity,» he said on Twitter. «The Amazon must be protected.» France's President Emmanuel Macron said the wildfires were «an international crisis» and called on the globe's most industrialized nations to address it at their summit this weekend. «Our house is on fire. Literally. The Amazon, the lung of our planet which produces 20 percent of our oxygen is burning,» Macron said on Twitter. «It is an international crisis. Members of the G7, let's talk in two days about this emergency.» That did not sit well with Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro. «The French president's suggestion that Amazon issues be discussed at the G-7 without participation by the countries in the region evokes a colonialist mentality that is out of place in the 21st century,» Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter. Neighboring Peru, which contains much of the Amazon basin, announced it was «on alert» for wildfires spreading from the rainforest in Brazil and Bolivia. Paraguay and Bolivia are battling separate wildfires that have devastated large areas of their rainforests. - 'Rapid deforestation' - Environmental specialists say the fires have accompanied a rapid rate of deforestation in the Amazon region, which in July quadrupled compared to the same month in 2018, according to data from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE). Bolsonaro instead attributes the fires to increased drought, and accuses environmental groups and NGOs of whipping up an «environmental psychosis» to harm Brazil's economic interests. «This environmental psychosis lets you do nothing,» the president lamented, adding that it was hampering the country's development. «I don't want to finish the environment, I want to save Brazil,» said Bolsonaro, a climate change skeptic who had advocated opening up tribal lands and protected areas to farming and mining interests since assuming office in January. Bolsonaro's comments come as Brazil hosts a UN regional meeting on climate change in the northeastern city of Salvador ahead of December's summit in Chile. A senior Brazilian official defended Brazil's environmental policy at the conference and said it complied with the Paris Agreement against global warming. «We are teaching the world how to produce. In only 29 percent of our territory we produce food for everyone. »Worldwide, the average land use for agriculture exceeds 50 percent -- we only use 29 percent,« said Roberto Castelo, an environment ministry official who was roundly booed by greens at the conference. - Not 'Captain Nero' - »I do not defend the burnings, because there always was and always will be burnings. Unfortunately, this has always happened in the Amazon,« Bolsonaro said, referring to dry season, land-clearing fires. »But accusing me of being a Captain Nero setting fire to things is irresponsible. It is campaigning against Brazil,« the president told reporters outside his Brasilia residence. The reference to Captain Nero appeared to be to the Roman emperor said to have fiddled while Rome burned. Bolsonaro is a former army captain. Forest fires tend to intensify during the dry season, which usually ends in late October or early November, as land is cleared to make way for crops or grazing. »Just think, if the world begins imposing trade barriers, our agribusiness will fall, we will start to go backwards, the economy will start to get worse -- your life, the lives of newspaper editors, television owners, the lives of all Brazilians will be complicated, without exception. The press is committing suicide,« Bolsonaro said. - 'Environmental pariah' - However, there are signs of growing concern from within the powerful agribusiness sector over Bolsonaro's environmental isolationism. The governors of Brazil's Amazon states have also criticized the government for recent decisions by Germany and Norway to suspend Amazon aid projects. »This week two big German media outlets expressed the idea that it was time to start boycotting Brazilian products. It's only a matter of time,« Marcello Brito, head of the Brazilian Agribusiness Association, told the Valor daily. »The question is, who is interested in transforming Brazil into an environmental pariah,« he asked. »We cannot change the president of the republic. What our sector can do is work, in a unified way, to try to reverse the damage as much as possible." © Agence France-Presse

Return to gold: Passon takes first medal for Seychelles in backstroke at African Games

Swimmer Felicity Passon has won the first gold medal for Seychelles on the first day of the swimming competition at the African Games taking place in Morocco. Passon clocked 2 minutes 14.55 seconds to win the final of the ladies 200 metres backstroke on Wed
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Return to gold: Passon takes first medal for Seychelles in backstroke at African Games

Swimmer Felicity Passon has won the first gold medal for Seychelles on the first day of the swimming competition at the African Games taking place in Morocco. Passon clocked 2 minutes 14.55 seconds to win the final of the ladies 200 metres backstroke on Wednesday.  The winner of seven gold medals for Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, at the recent Indian Ocean Island Games Passon is competing in the 50 metres butterfly on Thursday. The gold medal of Passon has placed Seychelles in the 12th place on the medal table led by Ethiopia with eight gold medals. Three other Seychellois swimmers did not progress to the final: Kehma Elizabeth in the ladies 100 metres freestyle, Mathieu Bachmann in the men’s 100 metres freestyle and Samuele Rossi in the men’s 50 metres breaststroke. In boxing in preliminaries of the men’s lightweight, Jovet Jean lost 5-0 to Shakul Samed from Ghana. Team Seychelles at the Africa Games is made up of 35 athletes and 13 coaches and will compete in seven events -- athletics, badminton, boxing, canoeing, swimming, volleyball and weightlifting. The African Games is a continental multi-sport event held every four years, organised by the African Union with the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa and the Association of African Sports Confederations. All of the competing nations are from the African continent. The 12th edition of the games will serve as a qualifying step for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. 

Seychelles approves expansion of territorial waters by nearly 15,000 square kilometres

The Cabinet of Ministers has approved the incorporation of the extended continental shelf of the Northern plateau region under the Seychelles’ jurisdiction. The Seychelles’ territorial waters were extended by over 14,800 square kilometres, a territory ab
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Seychelles approves expansion of territorial waters by nearly 15,000 square kilometres

The Cabinet of Ministers has approved the incorporation of the extended continental shelf of the Northern plateau region under the Seychelles’ jurisdiction. The Seychelles’ territorial waters were extended by over 14,800 square kilometres, a territory about 92 times the size of the main of Mahe, by a UN Body in 2018. The special advisor for the Blue Economy, Phillipe Michaud, said in a cabinet press briefing on Thursday that the extension of the continental plateau is different from the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). “It is outside the EEZ and the government that has the continental plateau does not have as much rights as it would have on the territory within its EEZ. The country, however, has sovereignty over the resources - alive or not - on the plateau and can exploit them,” explained Michaud. The establishment of three maritime spaces, to which Seychelles is entitled under International Law, were endorsed during the meeting of the cabinet. These three spaces are the territorial sea, the contiguous zone, and the revised Exclusive Economic Zone. According to the UN Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS), the territorial sea is the belt of coastal waters extending at most to 12 nautical miles from the low-water mark of a coastal state. The following 12 nautical miles form this belt is the contiguous zone while the EEZ extends from the baseline - the low-water mark – to a maximum of 200 nautical miles. “According to the laws of the UN, a country has different authority depending on the zone. For example, another country cannot fish within our EEZ without our authorisation. It is important to define these zones as they are of importance for immigration and customs among others. Another example is if piracy is carried out within your EEZ, it is considered as another form of illegal activity,” he said. Michaud added that it was necessary to revise the territorial waters as this information was needed when doing the Maritime Spatial Plan. Now that the exercise has been completed it will be included in the legislation. The Cabinet of Ministers were also briefed on the actions under the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTi). The secretariat of the international organisation, aimed at ensuring good governance, transparency and accountability within the global fisheries sector, will now be based in Seychelles.  “There is a local group called the FiTi National Stakeholder Group and at the moment there are only seven members. We think that for FiTi National Stakeholder Group to be more effective, it is best that we have a larger number of participants because the fisheries sector varies quite a bit. The decision has been taken to increase the number of members from seven to twelve,” said Michaud. He added that it is important that the public gets access to information, not only reports published by the organisation but also information about laws governing fisheries, fishing agreements and other relating information. 

Pressure mounting on EU to end ivory trade

Amid growing calls for an outright ban, the European Union has come under increasing pressure to help protect African elephants by ending the trade of ivory within its borders. Poaching has decimated the world elephant population, which slumped in Africa fro
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Pressure mounting on EU to end ivory trade

Amid growing calls for an outright ban, the European Union has come under increasing pressure to help protect African elephants by ending the trade of ivory within its borders. Poaching has decimated the world elephant population, which slumped in Africa from several million at the turn of the 19th century to around 400,000 in 2015. According to conservation group WWF, as much as 60 percent of all elephant deaths can be blamed on poaching. The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, which campaigns against the ivory trade, says that between 2007 and 2014, 144,000 elephants were killed across Africa -- the equivalent of one death every 15 minutes. The international trade of ivory was officially banned in 1989. The United States outlawed domestic trade in 2016, with China following suit a year later. But several other markets, including the EU and Japan, have no such internal bans. Critics maintain that legal domestic ivory markets fuel laundering of illegal ivory and undermine ivory bans elsewhere. - More scrutiny, but no ban - Ivory and the plight of African elephants is a hot-button issue this week at a meeting in Geneva of parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which regulates trade in more than 35,000 species of plants and animals. On Wednesday, countries agreed to demand more scrutiny of the ivory markets that remain open, but stopped short of heeding a call by mainly African countries to order the immediate closure of all domestic ivory markets. The conference did however order the EU as well as Japan and other countries that still permit the trade to report back within a year on what measures they are taking to ensure that their ivory markets are not contributing to elephant poaching and illegal trafficking. Conservationists welcomed the increased scrutiny, but warned it was not enough. «We are moving in the right direction, but we don't have time to waste,» Sarah Morrison, with campaign group Avaaz, told AFP. «We urgently need to close all domestic markets and make sure we put the lives of elephants first.» Philip Muruthi of the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) agreed, stressing that «there isn't enough ivory in the world to satisfy current demand.» «As long as a market exists for ivory, you can be sure that elephants are being killed to sustain it.» - 'Exploiting loopholes' - The European Union currently has, at least in theory, stringent rules on ivory sales within its borders. It's illegal to export elephant tusks out of the EU, and only objects dated before 1947 can be bought without paperwork -- any ivory made after that date requires a certificate to purchase. But last year, a joint study between the University of Oxford and Avaaz showed that as much as a fifth of ivory objects came from elephants killed after the global trade ban in 1989. Campaigners say it is still too easy to trade illegal ivory within and out of the EU. A coalition of 17 NGOs calling for a Europe-wide ban said that illegal ivory was being «laundered by exploiting loopholes in EU law». Ivory sold as «antique» currently requires no proof of authenticity or origin within Europe, it said. France, Belgium, Britain and the Netherlands have all adopted or are set to adopt stricter measures against the illegal trade. France's environment ambassador Yann Wehrling said that ending main domestic ivory markets would greatly benefit the African elephant. «The African elephant will be protected because you will no longer be able to buy ivory and poaching will cease,» he said. Conservationists insist it is still easy to find ivory sculptures for sale online with no proof of their provenance. The WWF said the world needed «a better understanding of what constitutes an effective market closure» in order to seal off loopholes. During Wednesday's debate, the EU hinted new regulations were soon to be introduced across the bloc. Matthew Collis, policy chief at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), welcomed that, insisting though that any changes to the EU rules should «shut down ivory markets in the EU with all but extremely limited exemptions, in line with actions taken by other nations like China, the US and the UK.» © Agence France-Presse

8 Seychellois writers whose works are worth reading

A book launched in Seychelles recently gave recognition to the rich contributions made by Seychellois writers to Creole literature in the form of poetry, storytelling, novels, and drama.   «Seychellois Writers: A Biographical Sketch,» by Guin
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8 Seychellois writers whose works are worth reading

A book launched in Seychelles recently gave recognition to the rich contributions made by Seychellois writers to Creole literature in the form of poetry, storytelling, novels, and drama.   «Seychellois Writers: A Biographical Sketch,» by Guinean-born Diallo Addourahamane, is also giving value to the Creole language as well as the rich cultural heritage of the archipelago in the western Indian Ocean. This week SNA highlights eight Seychellois writers amongst the 150 writers featured in the book. Lorina Barbe A former teacher who is also trained in linguistics, Barbe is the author of six books and 20 poems. She was most active from 2000 to 2007. The author has worked closely with the Creole Institute where she was involved in two translations. Barbe is an active participant of the literary contest in memory of the late Antoine Abel – one of the island nation’s best writers – and in 2013 won first prize for her collection of short stories.    (Salifa Karapetyan) Photo License: CC-BY   Leon Bonnelame The late Leon Bonnelame started his career as a police officer. He later quit the force to join the Department of Immigration. Bonnelame is remembered for his collection of mystery stories which came out in 1999. The whole series was featured in the daily newspaper Seychelles Nation and earned Bonnelame instant popularity. The talented writer, who lost his sight and spent his last days wheelchair-bound as an amputee, passed away in 2016.    (Salifa Karapetyan) Photo License: CC-BY   Hazel De Silva Born to a Sri Lankan father and a Seychellois mother in Kenya, De Silva spent the first 19 years of her life in the country of her birth, before leaving for tertiary studies in the United States and the United Kingdom. Upon her arrival in Seychelles De Silva trained as a teacher and then worked as a journalist with both the broadcast and print media. Her literary works include the novel “Black Night of Quiloa” published in 1971 and a collection of 80 poems. De Silva passed away in 1996.     (Salifa Karapetyan) Photo License: CC-BY   Edwin Henriette Henriette, a resident of the western district of Port Glaud, has had a whole career in the education sector. Born in 1960, Henriette has authored books in all three national languages: English, French, and Creole. He has undertaken many literary research on proverbs, imaginary expressions and traditional beliefs. Henriette who still writes, is an active member of the committee of Seychellois writers, and over the years has won much recognition for his works.    (Salifa Karapetyan) Photo License: CC-BY   Georgette Larue-Jumaye Jumaye, who is described as a nature lover with a passion for gardening, published her first work in 1994. Apart from novels, Jumaye has produced poems and has worked on several translations. Her works mostly depict everyday life on the islands. Jumaye’s wish is to see more resources made available for Seychellois writers and hopes that one day their literary works are given visibility through the tourism sector.     (Salifa Karapetyan) Photo License: CC-BY   Peter Pierre-Louis This Kenya born Seychellois is a former employee of the Creative Art Centre of Nairobi and upon his arrival in session worked at the Culture Department. The retiree is the author of both novels and poems, with his first work – a romance - published in 1985. Pierre-Louis who is all about the development of literature in Seychelles is currently working on a new collection of poems.     (Salifa Karapetyan) Photo License: CC-BY   June Vel The late June Vel is remembered for her novel portraying the tragic story of a young girl “Eva” which was published in 1989. As an adult, she emigrated to Canada and continued to produce poems and novels, some published over there. Her latest work in 2001, “Mon arc en ciel a moi,” was also released in In the United States. Vel passed away in Canada in 2012.     (Salifa Karapetyan) Photo License: CC-BY   Claude Renaud A medical doctor by profession, Renaud was born in 1971. At a young age, he discovered his passion for writing and when he joined the National Youth Service (NYS) - a boarding type school for teenagers, now closed - he became the editor of the institute’s magazine. Between 1987 and 1991, Renaud produced a collection of poems and four novels. Though no longer active – possibly due to the nature of his work in the medical field – Renaud has definitely left his mark on the island nation’s literature.     (Salifa Karapetyan) Photo License: CC-BY

Sudan swears in ruling council and prime minister

Sudan took further steps in its transition towards civilian rule Wednesday, with the swearing in of a new Sovereign Council and prime minister. A government is expected to be formed within a week, after which the new institutions can tackle the daunting tas
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Sudan swears in ruling council and prime minister

Sudan took further steps in its transition towards civilian rule Wednesday, with the swearing in of a new Sovereign Council and prime minister. A government is expected to be formed within a week, after which the new institutions can tackle the daunting task of rescuing a failing economy and ending three different internal armed conflicts. Abdalla Hamdok took the oath as transitional prime minister moments after flying in from Ethiopia, where he spent years working as a senior economist for the United Nations. «The government's top priorities are to stop the war, build sustainable peace, address the severe economic crisis and build a balanced foreign policy,» he told reporters. Hours earlier, the 11 members of a civilian-majority Sovereign Council were also sworn in, marking the first time that Sudan was not under full military rule since Omar al-Bashir came to power in a 1989 coup. The body replaces the Transitional Military Council (TMC) that took charge after months of deadly street protests brought down the Islamist ruler in April. General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who already headed the TMC, was sworn in as the new ruling council's chairman. - Vigilance - Wearing his usual green beret and camouflage uniform, Burhan took the oath in a short ceremony, one hand on the Koran and the other holding a military baton under his arm. He will be Sudan's head of state for the first 21 months of the 39-month transition period, until a civilian takes over for the remainder. The Sovereign Council includes two women, including a member of Sudan's Christian minority, and it will oversee the formation of a government and of a legislative body. The inauguration of the civilian-dominated ruling council, which held its first meeting in the afternoon, was widely welcomed but some Khartoum residents warned they would keep their new rulers in check. «If this council does not meet our aspirations and cannot serve our interests, we will never hesitate to have another revolution,» said Ramzi al-Taqi, a fruit seller. «We would topple the council just like we did the former regime,» he said. The transition's key documents were signed on Saturday at a ceremony attended by a host of foreign dignitaries, signalling that Sudan could be on its way to shedding its pariah status. Sudan's new rulers are expected to push for the lifting of the country's suspension from the African Union that followed a deadly crackdown on a sit-in in June. The ruling council will also seek to have the country removed from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism. Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for his role in massacres in the Darfur region, where a rebellion broke out in 2003. He appeared in court on Monday on corruption charges, for the opening of a trial in which an investigator said the deposed leader admitted to receiving millions in cash from Saudi Arabia. Pictures of the 75-year-old autocrat sitting in a cage during the hearing instantly became a symbol of his regime's downfall. The sight of their former tormentor in the dock was overwhelmingly welcomed by the Sudanese, but many warned the graft trial should not distract from the more serious indictments he faces before the ICC. - Challenges ahead - Sudan's transitional authorities would need to ratify the ICC's Rome Statute to allow for the transfer of the ousted ruler to The Hague. Amid celebrations of the promise of civilian rule, unease was palpable within the protest camp that brought about one of the most significant moments in Sudan's modern history. One reason is the omnipresence in the transition of Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, a member of the sovereign council and a paramilitary commander whose forces are blamed for the deadly repression of the protests. His Rapid Support Forces sprang out of the Janjaweed militia notorious for alleged crimes in Darfur. Pacifying a country still plagued by deadly unrest in the regions of Darfur, Kordofan and Blue Nile will be one of the most urgent tasks of Sudan's transitional institutions. The other daunting challenge that awaits the fragile civilian-military alliance is the rescue of an economy that has all but collapsed in recent years. It was the sudden tripling of bread prices in December 2018 that sparked the wave of protests fatal to Bashir's regime. Hamdok, who turned down an offer by Bashir to become finance minister last year, said Sudan's economy had great potential but admitted in was in tatters. © Agence France-Presse

First round of EU-Seychelles talks on fishing deal ends; next round in Brussels

The first round of negotiations for a new ‘Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement and Protocol’ between Seychelles and the European Union ended Wednesday.  The next round of negotiations will take place in two weeks in Brussels, Belgium. The Mini
Seychelles News Agency

First round of EU-Seychelles talks on fishing deal ends; next round in Brussels

The first round of negotiations for a new ‘Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement and Protocol’ between Seychelles and the European Union ended Wednesday.  The next round of negotiations will take place in two weeks in Brussels, Belgium. The Minister for Fisheries and Agriculture, Charles Bastienne, told the press that sustainability of resources is a key point on the table. “The title of the agreement is ‘Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement and Protocol’ and definitely we are talking about durability to make sure that our resources, in this context, tuna, has the time to reproduce, and that all of this is managed in such a way that it won't destroy the environment,” said Bastienne. The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement is a longstanding cooperation agreement between Seychelles and the EU which enables EU vessels to fish in the waters under the jurisdiction of Seychelles. “The EU also wants sustainability so that the sector stays in existence for future generations to enjoy. We are all aware of the Yellowfin tuna issue, which will remain in force until IOTC (Indian Ocean Tuna Commission) through its scientific committee decides otherwise,” said the minister. Bastienne said that during the first round of discussion, the two parties have started talking about the issue of fish aggregating devices (FADs) and local seamen. The first round of discussions started on Monday until Wednesday. The second round will take place in Brussels, Belgium in two weeks. (Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture) Photo License: CC-BY  “We are starting these discussions today and might conclude them in the second round. The issues of financial contributions usually come towards the end of discussions,” said Bastienne. He added that discussions are taking into account the Marine Spatial Plan, where Seychelles has pledged 30 percent of its Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ) to conservation. Negotiations are to be done in regards to this “as to a certain extent it will affect the fishing of EU.” On Tuesday the National Assembly’s International Affairs Committee expressed disappointment that the Ministry had started negotiations without the representation of members of the committee. “The EU is here with five members from the European Union, three from the EU commission and a representative from France and Spain the two main countries fishing in Seychelles waters. There is no representative from the EU parliament, so we do not see why we should bring our parliament into the negotiation,” said Bastienne. He added that the committee was given the chance to put forward their points and suggestions during a meeting held between the minister and the International Affairs Committee. The current agreement between the EU and Seychelles entered into force in 2007 and lasts until November. Under the Fisheries Protocol, the EU provides Seychelles with a total financial contribution of 30 million euros including access fees for its fishing vessels operating in the island nation’s waters. The current six-year protocol will expire next year on January 17. The duration of the next agreement has not yet been outlined.

Ethiopia eager to explore new areas of cooperation, ambassador says

Ethiopia wants to revamp its relations with Seychelles in trade and tourism, and explore other new avenues of cooperation, said the newly accredited ambassador. Meles Alem Tika, the Ethiopian ambassador to Seychelles, presented his credentials to President D
Seychelles News Agency

Ethiopia eager to explore new areas of cooperation, ambassador says

Ethiopia wants to revamp its relations with Seychelles in trade and tourism, and explore other new avenues of cooperation, said the newly accredited ambassador. Meles Alem Tika, the Ethiopian ambassador to Seychelles, presented his credentials to President Danny Faure at State House on Tuesday. Discussions between Tika and the head of state of Seychelles focused on existing areas such as air connectivity, tourism and trade, and potential new areas of cooperation such as cargo shipping lines to facilitate investment and transportation by sea. During the meeting, Faure expressed his wish that the bilateral ties established between Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, and Ethiopia since April 1982 remain focused on elevating engagements to new heights. “Your accreditation today is a testimony to the high level of commitment our countries attach to our engagement. In reiterating our sincere congratulations and in wishing you great success in your new tenure, rest assured, Seychelles is committed to further cementing the good friendship between our nations,” he said. The Ethiopian ambassador told reporters that both countries have their own comparative advantages. “What Seychelles has we do not have like the maritime brief. Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries of the world. It has thousands of years of history. The historical attractions are so immense if we bring those two comparative advantages into one they can really change the lives of our people,” he said. Tika added that no matter what kind of strong relations that two countries may enjoy if the relationship benefits don’t trickle down to the people the relations won’t live on.  Ambassador Tika will be based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Johnson, Merkel to face off in first Brexit talks

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Berlin on Wednesday to kick off a marathon of tense talks with key European and international leaders as the threat of a chaotic no-deal Brexit looms. On his first foreign visit since taking office, he will seek t
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Johnson, Merkel to face off in first Brexit talks

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Berlin on Wednesday to kick off a marathon of tense talks with key European and international leaders as the threat of a chaotic no-deal Brexit looms. On his first foreign visit since taking office, he will seek to convince German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and on Thursday French President Emmanuel Macron, to renegotiate elements of the UK's impending divorce from the European Union -- something the EU leaders have already ruled out. Then, at the weekend, all three will meet US President Donald Trump, a vocal supporter of Brexit and its champion Johnson, and the leaders of Canada, Italy and Japan at a G7 summit in the French seaside resort of Biarritz. Johnson, in a do-or-die gamble, has insisted Britain will leave the EU on October 31, no matter whether it has ironed out remaining differences with the bloc or not, at the risk of economic turmoil. The apparent hope is that the other 27 EU members will blink and make concessions to avoid a no-deal Brexit that would hurt people and companies on both sides of the Channel. In Berlin, Johnson will be received with military honours at 1600 GMT before his talks with Merkel. Although chances for a breakthrough appeared slim, a Merkel spokesman said that, after the two had spoken by phone, «sitting at a table together to discuss Brexit and other European issues ... is of course useful». - 'Practical arrangement' - Johnson's tough stance has put him on a collision course with Merkel, Macron and other EU leaders who have insisted the withdrawal deal is final and stressed the need for unity among the other 27 nations. On Tuesday, EU Council President Donald Tusk again made clear the bloc would not cave in to Johnson's demand to scrap the so-called Irish border backstop plan, which would keep Britain in the European customs union if no trade deal is signed. The mechanism aims to avoid a «hard border» between EU-member Ireland and British-ruled Northern Ireland, which could raise the threat of renewed sectarian tensions. However, Johnson has slammed the backstop as «undemocratic» and charged it would prevent Britain from pursuing a trade policy independent of EU rules. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar this week reiterated the EU 27 position that the withdrawal agreement struck under Johnson's predecessor Theresa May cannot be reopened. Berenberg Bank senior economist Kallum Pickering predicted that «if Johnson hopes to persuade Merkel and Macron to sweet-talk Varadkar into changing his tune, he will likely be disappointed». «All of the EU's actions so far since the Brexit vote demonstrate that the EU's priority is the cohesion of the 27.» Merkel struck a cautiously hopeful note in Iceland on Tuesday, declaring that the EU was open to «a practical arrangement» on the Irish border issue at a later point. - 'Crowbar politics' - Given the shock and dismay Brexit has sparked in continental Europe, its vocal champion, the flamboyant former London mayor and ex-foreign minister Johnson, is sure to meet political headwinds. German media regularly characterises Johnson as a reckless and unprincipled political showman with Trump-style populist tendencies. Influential news magazine Der Spiegel recently caricatured him as the tooth-gapped cover boy Alfred E. Neuman of the American humour magazine Mad, with the headline «Mad in England». The business daily Handelsblatt wrote that «Johnson is an admirer of Donald Trump's crowbar politics» but also warned that «the Europeans should not underestimate him». «While the prime minister's own government has predicted three months of chaos in case of a no-deal Brexit, the Europeans should not make the mistake of thinking Johnson is bluffing,» it said. «The Brexit supporters have found a leader who is foolhardy enough to plunge the country into chaos.» The conservative newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung recommended that the EU not give in to scare tactics, pointing out that the UK has far more to lose than the bloc does. «When the new prime minister pays visits to Paris and Berlin this week to 'threaten' a hard Brexit once again,» it said, «his opposite numbers should remind him in a friendly yet unmistakeably firm manner of the realities he risks incurring.» © Agence France-Presse

Truth and Reconciliation chair: ‘I hope we can help Seychellois people move forward’

The Truth, Reconciliation and National Unity Commission in Seychelles was set up to provide the public with the opportunity to settle past political divisions and grievances that began with the 1977 coup. Members of the Commission were sworn in earlier thi
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Truth and Reconciliation chair: ‘I hope we can help Seychellois people move forward’

The Truth, Reconciliation and National Unity Commission in Seychelles was set up to provide the public with the opportunity to settle past political divisions and grievances that began with the 1977 coup. Members of the Commission were sworn in earlier this year with Australian lawyer Gabrielle Louise McIntyre serving as the chairperson. This month the seven-member commission started registering complaints and grievances from individuals. SNA met with its chairperson, McIntyre, to talk about the process and the way forward once investigations are completed.   SNA: You have a huge task ahead to help bring about national unity. How confident are you that it is possible for Seychelles? GM: It is difficult to think you can set up an institution that’s going to bring national unity because national unity really relies upon the leadership of a country wanting to bring people together.  There’s been past injustices that have never been addressed and the fact that they haven’t been addressed means that people cannot even begin to come together. So the commission is there to address those past injustices and lay the foundation for national unity. But national unity will be the responsibility of the national leadership of the Seychelles -- the political leaders, civil society. We have tried to emphasise that from the beginning. These transitional justice institutions have great aims, ideals and objectives, but they are just institutions carrying out a process. They cannot achieve anything unless they are embraced by the national leadership and promoted. So it’s not just the work of the commission but more broadly, the spirit of cooperation, tolerance, mutual respect -- all of those things are necessary.   SNA: Would you say the commission is a platform that is righting a wrong? GM: Yes, because a lot of people don’t know what happened. So the commission is to find out the truth on what actually happened. As part of finding out what happened, the commission will no doubt find out what were the motivations that drove people to do certain things. When people know what happened then it’s easier for them to begin a process of putting that to one side and bring closure. To help them put it to one side, we have the power to make recommendations for compensations or rehabilitation. So I think we can help people individually to bring closure and to reconcile. But whether through that process of helping an individual we can impact on the whole country -- that is where I think we will need the help of national leaders.   SNA: Most of these injustices date back to 40 years ago. So how can a person have closure when you cannot face the perpetrator? GM: I think sometimes knowing what happened can help a lot. If there is responsibility, not just with the perpetrator but elsewhere, and having that acknowledged and having an apology, this might go a long way. For example, we have been looking at some of the unlawful detention cases and there was a presidential decree that allowed people to be detained because the president thought they were a security threat. But there was no real basis that we have seen yet. So a recognition that that was wrong will go a long way. It’s like people haven’t received any recognition that what happened to them was wrong. So just to get that recognition would be a major step forward.   SNA: You have carried out the same processes in other big countries. Seychelles is a small nation. How would the commission ensure that the process is a healing one and not further aggravate the situation? GM: It is sensitive but our goal is to try and make it a positive experience for everybody. We are not judging people. We are trying to get those that committed crimes and human rights violations to take responsibility for what they did and to apologise for it. I think it’s quite empowering when you make a mistake to have the courage to take responsibility. Anyone who does that in a sense, they’re free. They are not going to be prosecuted or face any civil proceedings because none of our evidence is admissible in any other proceedings. So I think there is something positive there for them. For complainants, they have to accept that this is about forgiveness and reconciliation. And that we are not prosecuting people and we are not going after people. For that, we hope to give them the truth and the ability to have closure and compensation where necessary. We are trying to balance everybody’s interest and needs in this very delicate, sensitive process. If somebody comes through the door and said I murdered three people, my first question would be would you like to speak to a counsellor because the counsellor is the only person that will not record what you say.  Then I will have to tell them what their rights are. Because every person has the right not to incriminate himself. It has to be a decision they’ve made. We are not going to cajole our push them to confide in us. It has to come from them and that’s what we are hoping for.   SNA: So the commission is not punitive? GM: It is not punitive because we are not judging anybody. We have empathy for everybody that was involved in the process. That’s our approach.   SNA: What will happen with all the evidence that you gather then? GM: We are going to have a very good filing system so that once our task is completed, we can have a platform where people can easily access the public part of our works. Some of it may be confidential and that is because some people want their privacy respected. They might feel the process will be harmful to them if we make it all public. If they want to keep it private, we have to respect that. This will happen only if we find that it is not in the interest of justice or they’ll be harmed or the possibility of them reconciling with someone would be disturbed, by making it public. We have a very strong preference for public hearings but if somebody comes to us obviously distressed then we cannot tell them to appear in a public hearing because we will not be looking after them. We cannot harm people during this process and we cannot force people into situations that are going to make things worse for them. If they don’t want to go public with their evidence, my next question would be, can we hold a hearing in relation to your case and can the fact of your case, be made public? Also, can these other witnesses be heard in public?   SNA: Won’t this affect the transparency process as some people might see it as hiding information? GM: Let’s say we have somebody who comes in and says my brother disappeared and I don’t want to talk about this in public. We will take the basic information on what the person knows about the disappearance. From there, we will find out through the person if anybody else was aware of this incident. Maybe some might agree to speak in public. We can take hearsay evidence so they could tell us the story. We can say the complainant does not wish to put his/her case publicly but we can say what the case is about. So this witness will speak in relation to that. So we’ll try to get transparency that way without putting somebody who doesn’t want to be in the spotlight under the spotlight.   SNA: The truth, reconciliation and National Committee of the National Assembly has done some work so far and over 300 files were recently handed over to the Commission. What exactly is the process happening right now? GM: We don’t have the capacity under the Act to just receive these files and start working on them. So we’ve put the message out there that if you’ve made a complaint before the National Assembly committee and you want the commission to take it up, then you must tell us. The files from the National Assembly were recently handed over to the Commission. (Thomas Meriton) Photo License: CC-BY  So people have been coming in to tell us they want to proceed. We have been locating their files from the National Assembly Committee and we have interviewed them on the particular case. Sometimes the complaint they made in the National Assembly doesn’t give a lot of details so our staff have been taking more details from them to be able to allow the commissioners to make the admissibility determination and see if the complaint falls within the mandate of the commission. To be inadmissible it has to be manifestly outside the scope of our mandate. We have people coming in ready to give their sworn statement and we have explained to them that the admissibility determination has not been made yet but they still want to give their sworn statement. So we make sure they are aware of their rights and that they’re also aware of the consequences of giving false or misleading testimony. We are planning to hold our first hearing September the 9th at National House. So we need to make these now as we need to decide which witnesses we want to call because we need to give people notice and see whether they want to give the testimony in public or closed session.   SNA: The scope of the Commission’s mandate is quite large. How would you decide which case is admissible or not? GM: Let’s say it’s a case that happened last year where you were arrested and you don’t think there was a good cause for it. How is that related to the coup d’etat of 1977? You will have to convince the commission that it was because over all those years you’ve been targeted because you were somebody who was against the coup. It might look like something that goes to the human rights commission and not us. The primary period for us is 1977 to 1993 when there was the introduction of the multiparty democracy. We will look at events prior to that day and after that date to satisfy ourselves that it is related to the coup d’etat. So maybe some of these complaints about never being able to get a job in the public service and things like that, maybe they can relate them but that is something we have to be satisfied with. It is a difficult determination to make but if we determine your case is inadmissible you have fourteen days to ask us to reconsider that decision and to give us additional information.   SNA: Over fifty percent of people who presented their cases to the National Assembly committed opted for compensation. Will the commission be setting a threshold for compensation? GM: We can recommend compensation under our act. We thought a lot about it. It is difficult because a lot of these violations happened a long time ago and people today may feel they’re not responsible for things that happened in the past and will always have that stance that it wasn’t me and it’s always the taxpayers that end up paying. We have decided that in the initial stages we are going to take a case by case approach. What is the suffering of the victim and how can we compensate that financially. Is financial compensation what they want or what they need and what is a fair burden to be placed on the taxpayers? So we will try to balance those two. We are also looking at cases of compensation from the Supreme Court, Land Acquisition cases from the court and the Lands tribunal, to get an idea about compensation. We are looking at what they’re doing too cause we need to be consistent. We know that a lot of people, in fact, 58 percent of the people before the National Assembly committee wanted compensation, but others want other forms of recognition. 50 percent of the people who presented their cases presented to the National Assembly committee want compensation. (Thomas Meriton) Photo License: CC-BY    SNA:  So can a person who has lodged a complaint before the Lands tribunal be allowed to file a similar case before the Commission? GM: We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with them where we have agreed to cooperate on cases and refer cases to each other when we feel it best falls under the other’s mandate.   SNA: Is a person allowed to pursue legal action in court using the file from the Commission once the process is completed? GM:  Nothing before us is admissible in any criminal or civil proceedings. So if you want to pursue something in court after us, none of the evidence before us or anything you found out or anything you could use would be inadmissible. So a person will have to start again from the beginning.   SNA: When you were appointed there was talk that being a foreigner you will not understand the political history, the people and culture and the impact the 1977 coup. What do you think of these comments? GM: I have to respect people’s opinion. I totally agree that this should be a national event process. But if you look at the Act, I chair meetings so the majority of the commissioners are the national commissioners. I don’t take a single decision without consulting the other commissioners. I am not running my own show. It is very much their show and the national commissioners, in their majority, are the ones that are guarding the work of this commission. But I can see what I can offer this commission. Because I have a lot of experience in transitional justice mechanisms and in court proceedings, I can see the procedures and rules we need to put in place. I understand the protection of rights and they have very different backgrounds which is very diverse. This will only work if it’s a national process. It cannot be imposed on you by a foreigner and I know that. I am here to help because I have capacity but it’s their legacy. I am leaving and they’ll be left with the burden of this process. So we’ve got to do it right.   SNA:  You have been given three years to complete the process. Do you think it’s enough considering the amount of work that has to be done? GM: It is a lot of work. We have to function like a machine but a ‘feeling’ machine. So we have standard operating procedures which tell us exactly what we have to do. Having those in place means we save a lot of time.  We’ll assess it in six months and if we see that we’ve done only three cases then we have to relook at our resources. If the country is not willing to give us the resources, we have to reach out to the commonwealth and others to help us get this process moving, because we are committed to seeing this through. Nobody wants this to drag on forever. It is about closure, bringing people together.    SNA: What is your appeal to Seychellois people? GM: I hope the Seychelles people embrace this process and come and see what the commission is all about and trust in the commission, trust in its intention. And the intentions are for everybody. To respect the dignity of everybody - suspects, perpetrators, complainants, victims. To try and help them move forward and feel better about what happened in the past, to let it go and move on. I hope we have a really positive impact on the lives of individuals. 

Italy's kingmaker Mattarella holds talks after PM Conte resigns

Italian President Sergio Mattarella begins talks with key players on Wednesday in a bid to end Italy's political limbo the day after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned. The usually mild-mannered Conte handed in his resignation after lashing out at far-ri
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Italy's kingmaker Mattarella holds talks after PM Conte resigns

Italian President Sergio Mattarella begins talks with key players on Wednesday in a bid to end Italy's political limbo the day after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned. The usually mild-mannered Conte handed in his resignation after lashing out at far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini for pursuing his own interests by pulling the plug on the ruling coalition with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S). The move left the eurozone's third largest economy in a political vacuum until Mattarella decides whether to form a new coalition or call an election after talks with parties in the coming days. Meanwhile Mattarella charged Conte with heading a caretaker administration, pending consultations on a new government which are set to begin at 1400 GMT. Italy's constitution says that Mattarella should first consult former presidents, meaning Senator Giorgio Napolitano, 94, who was in the job from 2006-2015. Those talks will be by telephone as Napolitano is not in Rome, and will be followed by talks with house speakers and the leaders of political groups. «It is irresponsible to initiate a government crisis,» Conte told the Senate on Tuesday after Salvini tried to bring down the government in the hope of snap elections that could make him premier. Salvini plunged Italy into crisis with the shock announcement on August 8 that his anti-migrant League party was pulling out of the 14-month coalition government with the M5S. The League and M5S agreed for Conte to be premier after lengthy talks before forming a government in June last year. - Snap election? - A range of options are now open to Mattarella, with a new government possible as soon as Friday. A snap election, the forming of a new coalition without holding a new vote, and -- although unlikely -- the continuation of the current government will all be considered. «Making citizens vote is the essence of democracy, asking them to vote every year is irresponsible,» Conte said as League senators booed and hissed. The political crisis has raised concerns about the Italian economy, whose debt ratio at 132 percent of gross domestic product is the second-biggest in the eurozone after Greece. Since the unwieldy government was formed, uncertainty under the coalition has cost the country an extra five billion euros ($5.54 billion) in interest on its debt. Salvini's plan for a snap election -- more than three years early -- had envisioned a vote in October followed by him being crowned as prime minister. According to opinion polls, the League could form a coalition with the anti-immigration, anti-LGBT Brothers of Italy, and possibly Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right Forza Italia. But a bid by his rivals to put aside their differences and forge an alliance could derail Salvini's plan, with a coalition between M5S and the opposition centre-left Democratic Party (PD) being discussed. While there is bad blood between the two parties, M5S is languishing in the polls and wants to avoid an early election. Former PD premier Matteo Renzi on Tuesday said that he «would not be part» of a PD-M5S alliance, as many in the anti-establishment party resent him as part of the old elite. According to some analysts, Conte could also stay on as premier while trying to form an alliance with PD. © Agence France-Presse

Seychelles to host competition for young sailors; competitors coming from across Africa and Indian Ocean

Seychelles will host the 2019 optimist African championship for the first time in the last week of August. Organised by the Seychelles Yachting Association under the International Optimist Dinghy Association, the competition will take place from August 26 
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Seychelles to host competition for young sailors; competitors coming from across Africa and Indian Ocean

Seychelles will host the 2019 optimist African championship for the first time in the last week of August. Organised by the Seychelles Yachting Association under the International Optimist Dinghy Association, the competition will take place from August 26 to September 1 in the Perseverance area. Alain Alcindor, the chairperson of the Seychelles Yachting Association, told SNA that the Perseverance area was chosen because “it was not easy to get enough space to hold the race so we had to move more to the north where there is open sea." The championship is open to competitors sailing on boats of the optimist class that fulfil the eligibility requirements. The optimist is a small, single-handed sailing dinghy intended for use by children up to the age of 15. The boats are usually made of fibreglass and competitions are recognized by the International Sailing Association. Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, has to date registered eight local competitors. “I have to work with sailors who are active and in training already because if the wind becomes stronger it will be difficult for sailors who are not training to cope,” said Alcindor. Countries from Africa which have confirmed their participation include Angola, Tunisia, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya. From the Indian Ocean, there will be Reunion island, an overseas French department, and Mauritius. Alcindor said that since “we have to have 60 chartered boats at sea, we have opened the competition to Asian countries which want to send participants.” 

'Good news' as Canary Islands blaze subsides

A wildfire that has raged across vast areas of the Spanish holiday island of Gran Canaria since the weekend has abated as winds have dropped, local officials said Tuesday. «Good news on the blaze of Gran Canaria,» Angel Victor Torres, president o
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'Good news' as Canary Islands blaze subsides

A wildfire that has raged across vast areas of the Spanish holiday island of Gran Canaria since the weekend has abated as winds have dropped, local officials said Tuesday. «Good news on the blaze of Gran Canaria,» Angel Victor Torres, president of the Canary Islands archipelago, tweeted. «After going to the (affected) areas at night, experts tell me the fire is subsiding... and losing strength,» he said. Antonio Morales, a Gran Canaria official, told Spanish radio that «luckily, the wind fell.» «As a result, it went very well last night compared to what we were expecting.» Morales said the impact of the blaze on the island's protected, biodiverse areas had not been as bad as expected. By Monday, the fire had entered the natural park of Tamadaba, a pristine pine forest seen as one of the «green lungs» of the island. But it was less virulent than expected, said Morales. He added the blaze had not reached the Inagua nature reserve, another area of major biodiversity, as initially feared. Thousands of people have been evacuated and Morales said some of them could be allowed to return to their homes unless the weather conditions deteriorate again. On Monday, authorities said the blaze had devoured 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) in the mountainous centre of the island. Some 1,000 firefighters and other ground crew are battling the blaze, as well as around 15 water-dropping helicopters and planes. It is the third blaze in 10 days to hit Gran Canaria, which lies at the heart of the Canary Islands, located in the Atlantic off the coast of northwest Africa. © Agence France-Presse

Ban on sending wild elephants to zoos a step closer

The regulator of global wildlife trade will likely ban sending African elephants captured from the wild to zoos after countries supported the move Sunday, in what conservationists hailed as a «historic win». A large majority of countries voted i
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Ban on sending wild elephants to zoos a step closer

The regulator of global wildlife trade will likely ban sending African elephants captured from the wild to zoos after countries supported the move Sunday, in what conservationists hailed as a «historic win». A large majority of countries voted in Geneva to prohibit the transfer of elephants caught in the wild to so-called captive facilities -- a practice animal protection groups have long described as «cruel». The vote was the first rendered during a 12-day meeting of the parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which kicked off on Saturday with thousands of conservationists and policymakers from more than 180 countries in attendance. With 46 in favour, 18 against and 19 abstaining, the vote cast in one of two committees secured the two-thirds majority needed to pass, but will still needs to be approved by the full conference before the meeting concludes on August 28. «This decision will save countless elephants from being ripped away from their families in the wild and forced to spend their lifetimes imprisoned in substandard conditions at zoos,» Iris Ho, a senior wildlife specialist with Humane Society International (HSI), said in a statement. Specifically, the countries voted to limit trade in live wild African elephants only to conservation in their natural habitats, effectively ending the practice of capturing elephants and sending them to zoos and entertainment venus around the world. While elephants in western, central and eastern Africa have long been listed among the species in need of most protection under CITES, and thus banned from all trade, some trade has been permitted in southern Africa, where elephant populations are healthier. Zimbabwe has for instance captured and exported more than 100 baby elephants to Chinese zoos since 2012, according to HSI. «The preliminary decision is a remarkable recognition that elephants don't belong in the entertainment industry,» Cassandra Koenen, who heads the wildlife division at World Animal Protection, said in a statement. «It's a huge step in the right direction.» © Agence France-Presse

Seychelles, EU open talks on fisheries deal currently worth €30 million

Seychelles and the European Union (EU) on Monday started the first round of negotiations for a new Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement and Protocol. The agreement between the EU and Seychelles entered into force in 2007 and lasts until November. Th
Seychelles News Agency

Seychelles, EU open talks on fisheries deal currently worth €30 million

Seychelles and the European Union (EU) on Monday started the first round of negotiations for a new Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement and Protocol. The agreement between the EU and Seychelles entered into force in 2007 and lasts until November. The current six-year protocol to the agreement will expire next year on January 17. Leading the Seychelles’ delegation at the negotiation which is taking place in the island nation is Charles Bastienne, Minister for Fisheries and Agriculture. The EU delegation is headed by Emmanuel Berck, Deputy Head for Trade Negotiations and Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements of the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. The negotiation is taking place in Seychelles until Wednesday, August 21. (Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture) Photo License: CC-BY The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement is a longstanding cooperation agreement between Seychelles and the EU which enables EU vessels to fish in the waters under the jurisdiction of Seychelles. While under the Fisheries Protocol, the EU provides Seychelles with a total financial contribution of 30 million euros including access fees for its fishing vessels operating in the island nation’s waters. The Protocol also lays down the administrative rules and procedures for the implementation of the agreement including financial support to the sustainable development of fisheries. The current Agreement and Protocol is valued at 30.7 million euros. Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, has had fishing agreements with the European Union, formerly the European Community, since the late 1990s. The Fisheries Protocol together with the Economic Partnership Agreement Seychelles has with the EU has generated throughout the year important economic benefits for the island nation. These two complementary agreements have made Seychelles the second exporter of canned tuna to the EU market. Fisheries is the second top contributor to the island nation. The negotiations for a new Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement and Protocol will take place until Wednesday, August 21.

Concerns raised over beach access, road diversion for planned hotel in Seychelles

The existing moratorium on large hotels and beach access were some issues raised by Seychelles’ civil society concerning a planned mixed-use project at Anse La Mouche in the west of Mahe, the main island. Members of the Citizen Engagement Platform Seychell
Seychelles News Agency

Concerns raised over beach access, road diversion for planned hotel in Seychelles

The existing moratorium on large hotels and beach access were some issues raised by Seychelles’ civil society concerning a planned mixed-use project at Anse La Mouche in the west of Mahe, the main island. Members of the Citizen Engagement Platform Seychelles (CEPS) expressed their concerns on Friday during a scoping meeting for the project titled ‘Anse la Mouche’. The mix-use project, a first for the western coast of Mahe, will comprise of an area for tourism, retail, residential and entertainment. The first phase will include the construction of a 120-room four-star hotel, road diversion, public amenities on the beach, as well as accommodation for hotel staff among other facilities. The project is owned by the Anse La Mouche Development Company Seychelles (ALDMC) and will be developed by the Royal Development Company. “There is a moratorium in place on the building of large hotels. Rooms cannot be carried over and a moratorium should apply to all of these. We do not need large hotels in the country as the majority of these big hotels along the west coast are never full,” said Marie-Therese Purvis, a member of Sustainability 4 Seychelles (S4S). In the western coast of Mahe, the largest tourism establishments are Kempinski Seychelles Resort, Four Seasons Resort Seychelles and Constance Ephelia. Tourism is the top contributor to the economy of Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean. The tourism minister, Didier Dogley, told SNA on Monday that when the moratorium came into force in 2015, hotels that had already been approved by the government had been exempted.  The area where the project will be developed which will include a road diversion. (Salifa Karapetyan, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY “Since last year, the ministry has started an exercise where developers of approved hotel concepts are being informed that they have a year to submit their plans and other documents. Should they fail to do so, the allocated number of rooms will be given to new investors who are ready to invest in building the number of rooms,” he said.      Phase one of the project will cost the developers over $75 million and construction is expected to start in 2020. Purvis further told SNA on Friday that the project has not been very well thought through. “It will divide the community of Anse La Mouche with the diversion of the road. The additional 700 metres is going to add to people's lives through the burning of fuel for people who have cars,” said Purvis. The chief operating officer of the Royal Development Company, Andreas Braeuer, said that “the retail, together with two restaurants that will be developed there, will be the new heart of the community and will create a lot of convenience for the people living at Anse La Mouche.” Braeuer added that “the area is sitting in an already residential community and some of the points raised by previous studies were the lack of convenience retails. There are small shops but there isn't any retail in the form of a supermarket, and the studies also informed that basic community services are lacking such as doctor’s or nurse's office, pharmacy among other things.” Members of other non-government organisations present also expressed concerns that once the hotel is built the public might not get access to the beach and the ecosystem of the existing marsh in the area will be disturbed. According to plans of the development, the current road will be closed off to traffic and converted into a beach promenade. The public will have two parking pockets on each end of the promenade where there will also be public beach amenities and reunion parks. The planned development is currently in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) stage, where consultation with the public is being conducted. On Saturday, August 24, a consultative meeting will be held at the Anse Boileau community centre, starting at 2 p.m. 

Urgent action plan needed for Africa’s oceans, Seychelles’ president tells continent’s leaders

The Seychelles’ president, Danny Faure, urged African leaders to adopt a more proactive and collective strategy to address the rising maritime security challenges at the summit for southern African heads of state.   State House said that Faure made the s
Seychelles News Agency

Urgent action plan needed for Africa’s oceans, Seychelles’ president tells continent’s leaders

The Seychelles’ president, Danny Faure, urged African leaders to adopt a more proactive and collective strategy to address the rising maritime security challenges at the summit for southern African heads of state.   State House said that Faure made the statement on Saturday at the 39th summit of heads of the state of the Southern African Development Community which took place in Dar es Salaam Tanzania during the weekend. “Our challenge today is not only to look at security challenges on the continent but the maritime space that we share. As an oceanic state, economic activities in our EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) and in the international waters around us, relating mostly to transportation, fisheries and tourism, contribute towards 44 percent of our GDP,” said Faure. He highlighted how the scourge of piracy has for the past years affected and threatened the livelihoods and economic activities of countries in this region and why further collective commitment and immediate action is critical. “It was thanks to a regional and global effort, that we were able to raise awareness and develop a strategy that could control the growth and spread of piracy in our region. Today, Seychelles and her neighbours, including many of you here, continue to invest millions in order to protect our territorial waters and the economic livelihood of our countries,” Faure said. He pointed, however, that as one crisis is put under control others continue to emerge. “There is a growing number of other illicit activities such as drug and human trafficking in our EEZ, illegal unreported and unregulated fishing; and the poaching of our marine resources including fish and other sea products and greater conditions for terrorist activities to manifest.  For these, we need to find common solutions,” added Faure. The head of state of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, commended neighbouring country Mauritius and the SADC secretariat for the recent initiatives related to reducing maritime security threats. He also called for an urgent gathering of member states to discuss sensitive security issues, threatening the region. The two-day summit was under the theme: “A Conducive Business Environment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development, Increased Intra-Regional Trade and Job Creation. (State House/Facebook) Photo License: CC-BY “The message today is that we need an urgent strategy and action plan in order to secure our region from these scourges. Our Blue Economy agenda will remain an agenda if we fail to secure the very environment it needs to grow,” warned Faure. The summit of SADC heads of state opened officially on Saturday morning at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Discussions in the two-day meeting focused on ways of advancing integration and sustainable development in the region guided by the banner theme for this year “A Conducive Business Environment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development, Increased Intra-Regional Trade and Job Creation.” At the closed session in the afternoon, President Faure thanked Tanzania for choosing a theme that depicts the continuity and progress of the journey together as the SADC family. “This year’s theme could not have been more apt for the trajectory ahead of us. We have to find new ways and means of creating a conducive environment, which will cater to the needs and aspirations of our young people. We need therefore to use our resources with prudence and find innovative ways to protect our environment and heritage for generations to come,” he said. President Faure met with his counterpart from Tanzania in bilateral discussions on Sunday.  (State House/Facebook) Photo License: CC-BY On the sidelines of the summit on Sunday, Faure met with his Tanzanian counterpart John Pompe Joseph Magufuli. The two leaders discussed the reinforcement of existing cooperation and exploring potential areas for future collaboration. Faure expressed Seychelles’ desire to deepen collaboration with Tanzania through exchanges particularly in areas such as maritime security, fisheries, food security, the Blue Economy, and investments and trade. On his part, Magufuli echoed his government’s commitment to enhance relations with Seychelles in the areas highlighted by President Faure and translate them into concrete actions for the mutual benefit of both peoples. Seychelles and Tanzania established diplomatic relations in November 1986.

Iceland commemorates first glacier lost to climate change

Iceland on Sunday honoured the passing of Okjokull, its first glacier lost to climate change, as scientists warn that some 400 others on the subarctic island risk the same fate. As the world recently marked the warmest July ever on record, a bronze plaque wa
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Iceland commemorates first glacier lost to climate change

Iceland on Sunday honoured the passing of Okjokull, its first glacier lost to climate change, as scientists warn that some 400 others on the subarctic island risk the same fate. As the world recently marked the warmest July ever on record, a bronze plaque was mounted on a bare rock in a ceremony on the former glacier in western Iceland, attended by local researchers and their peers at Rice University in the United States who initiated the project. Iceland's Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson also attended the event, as well as hundreds of scientists, journalists and members of the public who trekked to the site. «I hope this ceremony will be an inspiration not only to us here in Iceland but also for the rest of the world, because what we are seeing here is just one face of the climate crisis,» Jakobsdottir told AFP. The plaque bears the inscription «A letter to the future», and is intended to raise awareness about the decline of glaciers and the effects of climate change. «In the next 200 years all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it,» the plaque reads. It is also labelled «415 ppm CO2», referring to the record level of carbon dioxide measured in the atmosphere last May. The plaque is «the first monument to a glacier lost to climate change anywhere in the world», Cymene Howe, associate professor of anthropology at Rice University, said in July. «Memorials everywhere stand for either human accomplishments, like the deeds of historic figures, or the losses and deaths we recognise as important,» she said. «By memorialising a fallen glacier, we want to emphasise what is being lost -- or dying -- the world over, and also draw attention to the fact that this is something that humans have 'accomplished', although it is not something we should be proud of.» Howe noted that the conversation about climate change can be abstract, with many dire statistics and sophisticated scientific models that can feel incomprehensible. «Perhaps a monument to a lost glacier is a better way to fully grasp what we now face,» she said, highlighting «the power of symbols and ceremony to provoke feelings». - 'Pretty visual' - Julien Weiss, an aerodynamics professor at the University of Berlin who attended Sunday's ceremony with his wife and seven-year-old daughter, was one of those moved by seeing the ex-glacier Sunday. «Seeing a glacier disappear is something you can feel, you can understand it and it's pretty visual,» he told AFP. «You don't feel climate change daily, it's something that happens very slowly on a human scale, but very quickly on a geological scale.» Iceland loses about 11 billion tonnes of ice per year, and scientists fear all of the island's 400-plus glaciers will be gone by 2200, according to Howe. Glaciers cover about 11 percent of the country's surface. «A big part of our renewable energy is produced in the glacial rivers.... The disappearance of the glaciers will affect our energy system,» Prime Minister Jakobsdottir said. - Stripped in 2014 - Glaciologists stripped Okjokull of its glacier status in 2014, a first for Iceland. In 1890, the glacier ice covered 16 square kilometres (6.2 square miles) but by 2012, it measured just 0.7 square kilometres, according to a report from the University of Iceland from 2017. In 2014, «we made the decision that this was no longer a living glacier, it was only dead ice, it was not moving,» Oddur Sigurdsson, a glaciologist with the Icelandic Meteorological Office, told AFP. To have the status of a glacier, the mass of ice and snow must be thick enough to move by its own weight. For that to happen the mass must be approximately 40 to 50 metres (130 to 165 feet) thick, he said. According to a study published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)in April, nearly half of the world's heritage sites could lose their glaciers by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate. © Agence France-Presse

Unveiling of Sudan's sovereign council delayed

Sudan was expected to form its sovereign council Sunday, the first step after the landmark adoption of a transitional constitution, but the day closed with no announcement. More celebrations were held on the streets of Khartoum Sunday, a day after rare scene
Seychelles News Agency

Unveiling of Sudan's sovereign council delayed

Sudan was expected to form its sovereign council Sunday, the first step after the landmark adoption of a transitional constitution, but the day closed with no announcement. More celebrations were held on the streets of Khartoum Sunday, a day after rare scenes of jubilation filled the streets of the capital to hail the signing by generals and opposition leaders of the documents that will govern Sudan's three-year transition to civilian rule. The ceremony in a hall by the Nile river was attended by several high-ranking foreign officials, the biggest such event in years to be held in the once-pariah state. Worldwide congratulations poured in after the signing, which revellers and officials alike hailed as the beginning of a «new Sudan» after 30 years of rule by the now-detained Islamist general Omar al-Bashir. «I welcome this historic moment for Sudan. This agreement responds to the demands of the Sudanese people who have tirelessly called for change and a better future,» said Britain's Minister for Africa Andrew Stephenson. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed his country would support the establishment of «a government that protects the rights of all Sudanese citizens and leads to free and fair elections». According to the green book of documents signed on Saturday, several key steps will be taken before embarking on the long and obstacle littered road to 2022 polls. - New institutions - The ruling sovereign council is to be comprised of six civilians and five military nominees. Opposition sources told AFP that five names had so far been chosen, including only one woman, but the six other names had still not been revealed by the close of day. It was unclear what was holding up the announcement of the council's full line-up, which was now expected on Monday. The body, which will replace the Transitional Military Council, will be headed by a general for the first 21 months, and a civilian for the last 18 months of the transitional period. Abdalla Hamdok, a former UN economist who was on Thursday picked by the protest camp to be prime minister, is due to be formally appointed on Tuesday. A cabinet is then to be formed before Sudan's new institutions can tackle the main challenges that lie ahead, first among them measures to rescue a moribund economy. Making the most of a new freedom acquired during eight months of protests -- and clashes with men in uniform that left at least 250 dead -- Sudanese families took to the streets for wild celebrations Saturday night. Youths spilling out of honking cars drag-raced down the main Nile-side road deep into the night, while groups sang and danced -- the same two words echoing across the entire city: «Madaniya, Madaniya». It loosely translates as «civilian rule» and one would be hard-pressed to find somebody on the streets of Khartoum publicly opposing that goal. Some members of the opposition alliance that organised the protests however fear that the euphoria could be short-lived. Deep distrust remains between the incoming sovereign council's main players. - Short-lived euphoria? - While the power-sharing compromise reached earlier this month was widely hailed as the best Sudan could hope for, some members of the protest camp feel it short-changed their revolution. The omnipresence in the transition of General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo -- a paramilitary commander who was one of the signatories of the documents on Saturday -- is one of the main causes of unease. His forces are blamed for the deadly repression of the protests and many suspect the man best known by his nickname «Hemeti» is simply biding his time to pounce on power and nip democracy in the bud. Sudanese analyst Abdel Latif al-Buni stressed however that one of the most immediate perils facing the transition was a desire for vengeance. «A spirit of revenge against the former regime is dangerous,» he said. «It will lead to a clash between the former regime and the new rulers.» Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on genocide charges for crimes committed in the Darfur region, faces trial on corruption charges but his fate remains unclear. © Agence France-Presse

Winner of Miss Bikini bodybuilding competition in Seychelles encourages more women to lift weights

Jade Simeon is the winner of Miss Bikini, a competition organised late last month as part of the Seychelles' first Regis Delorie Classic bodybuilding competition. The competition was a chance for athletes who train at the Animal Kingdom Gym to show off thei
Seychelles News Agency

Winner of Miss Bikini bodybuilding competition in Seychelles encourages more women to lift weights

Jade Simeon is the winner of Miss Bikini, a competition organised late last month as part of the Seychelles' first Regis Delorie Classic bodybuilding competition. The competition was a chance for athletes who train at the Animal Kingdom Gym to show off their ability. This was Simeon's third competition. She participated in her first local competition in 2016 and two weeks later competed on a regional level in the Eric Favre bodybuilding competition. Simeon hopes to inspire other women to venture into the sport despite its reputation of being just for men.  SNA met with the 24-year-old sales and administration supervisor to learn more about her experience in the competition and as a female bodybuilder.   SNA: What is it like to own the Regis Delorie classic bodybuilding ‘Miss Bikini’ title? JS: It is a great achievement for me as I have worked really hard and have really pushed my limits. I wear the title with grace and honour but I realise that behind the title is great discipline, hard work, mental and emotional focus and support from loved ones and the Animal Kingdom team. As a woman, I hope to inspire other women to be the best versions of themselves both internally, as working out definitely has positive effects on one’s health, mental health and happiness, as well as physically. It is equally important for people to understand that it is okay for their bodies to progress differently than others, as long as they are comfortable with their progress. Simeon won the  Miss Bikini in the first Regis Delorie Classic bodybuilding competition. (Jade Simeon/Instagram) Photo License: CC-BY   SNA: How long have you been training for the Regis Delorie classic bodybuilding competition? JS: After the competition in 2016, there was sadly no competition held for a good two years. Despite that, I kept on training as it had already become a lifestyle. In 2019, Mr Regis Delorie held his first-ever competition and I decided to take part. We had at least 12 weeks to get in shape. I was offseason and was not really eating clean so I really had to work extra hard especially when it came to adjusting my diet in order to lose weight for the competition.   SNA: Leading up to the competition what was your exercise and diet schedule like? JS: I trained every day except for Saturdays. My workout schedule consisted of lightweight and higher reps and I increased my cardio to a minimum of 30 minutes to one hour. As for dieting we had to cut out sugar, dairy, oil, sauce and processed foods. The hardest part was the last week before the competition where we had to completely remove salt from our diet in order to lose water weight or water retention.  For dieting, Simeon had to cut out sugar, dairy, oil, sauce and processed foods. (Jade Simeon) Photo License: CC-BY   SNA: When and how did you get into bodybuilding? How did you become a bikini model? JS: I started working out during my last year of nursing school in 2015. At that time, I was more or less clueless about everything to do with bodybuilding. I knew I wanted abs and a toned physique but it was not something that I was completely devoted to. I went to school and then would work out at least three to four times a week. I established a routine and before I knew it, I started to see results. In 2016 my friends at the Animal Kingdom gym convinced me to take part in the first-ever Miss Bikini competition held in Seychelles. I was reluctant at first as I never saw myself taking part in a bodybuilding competition but with much convincing, I signed up for it and under the guidance of Mr Regis Delorie I started to train and diet for the competition. It was then that I began to understand the fitness life and fell in love with it.   SNA: What’s your favourite muscle group to train? JS: I enjoy training all body parts as they are equally important. But my favourites are legs, abs and glutes.   SNA: What supplements do you take? JS: I do not take supplements every day and sometimes I will take a break especially if I have been using them for a while. BCAA’s (Branched Chain Amino Acids) are my go-to supplements as they trigger muscle protein synthesis and prevent the breakdown of muscles. I love having my BCAA or Amino acid on hand intra and post-workout to increase energy productivity and to boost my metabolism. I drink whey protein post-workout to promote muscle growth and also as a meal if I’m hungry. I also take multivitamins and fish oil.   SNA: Why do you think not many women practice bodybuilding? JS: I feel that perhaps many have the wrong perspective of the sport. Perhaps they think that they will end up looking like men, as I have had people judge me before for looking too muscular. On the other hand, from personal experience, some women are unable to commit to a regular schedule due to personal reasons. For example, working mums, career-driven women who work long hours. Lack of affordable childcare coupled with lack of finances to be able to afford a babysitter and gym membership at the same time. There may be various reasons that are not really intrinsic preventing girls or women from joining the gym world. Lastly, I believe that a lot of girls are interested but the Miss Bikini category has only been introduced recently. I am sure that more girls will join soon enough. Simeon said women think they will end up looking like men if they practice bodybuilding. (Jade Simeon/Instagram) Photo License: CC-BY   SNA: How would you encourage more women to join the sport? JS: I would love to see more girls participate in the future. My advice is not to expect results right away, it's going to take time and consistency allow yourself to be a beginner as no one is born looking fit. A little workout a day adds up to the process. Be patient and keep going. Enjoy the experience and the journey and it is always handy to find a good support group!   SNA: What are people’s reactions when you tell them you’re a bikini model? JS: Most people are supportive and happy for me. I am forever grateful to those people.   SNA: What are your plans for the future? JS: I would love to represent Seychelles and compete internationally and hopefully one day earn my pro card. But more importantly, I would also love to get in a position where I can inspire, help and educate more people on healthy choices and keeping a good body image. 

Global meet to mull trade rules to protect endangered species

Specialists will meet in Geneva from Saturday to try to tighten rules on trade in elephant ivory, rhino horns and other endangered animal and plant species amid growing alarm over accelerating extinctions. Thousands of conservationists and policymakers from
Seychelles News Agency

Global meet to mull trade rules to protect endangered species

Specialists will meet in Geneva from Saturday to try to tighten rules on trade in elephant ivory, rhino horns and other endangered animal and plant species amid growing alarm over accelerating extinctions. Thousands of conservationists and policymakers from more than 180 countries will meet for 12 days to evaluate changes to regulations and species protection listings under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The treaty, created more than four decades ago, regulates trade in over 35,000 species of plants and animals and contains mechanisms to help crack down on illegal trade and sanction countries that break the rules. CITES Secretary General Ivonne Higuero said the conference would «focus on strengthening existing rules and standards while extending the benefits of the CITES regime to additional plants and animals threatened by human activity.» The meeting follows warnings about rapid species decline, with a UN report in May indicating that one million species are being pushed to the brink of extinction. - Poaching crisis - The devastation caused to many species by poaching and booming illegal wildlife trade will be in the spotlight during the meeting, as will new challenges arising as the illicit commerce increasingly moves online. As is often the case, the plight of African elephants is expected to dominate the discussions. Global trade in elephant ivory has largely been outlawed since 1989 after their numbers plunged from millions in the mid-20th century. The African Elephant Database estimates that by 2015, fewer than 415,000 of the giant mammal remained on the continent. The CITES meeting, which is held every three years, will consider three competing elephant proposals. Two proposals from countries in southern Africa, where elephant populations have more protection and are healthier, urge the resumption of ivory stockpile sales. They argue this could satisfy the demand, especially from Asia, that is fuelling illegal poaching and would provide funds for conservation programmes. Animal protection activists counter that previous experiments with stockpile sales actually boosted demand for tusks, and more poaching, since it is hard to distinguish between legal and illegal ivory. «We should not be repeating this again when the poaching crisis is still so severe,» Matthew Collis, policy chief at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), told AFP. Several countries in western, eastern and central Africa meanwhile want all elephant populations, including healthier southern ones, to be placed in the most-protected category, effectively barring all ivory sales. None of the proposals are expected to be voted through however. - Mammoth ivory - Collis said attention should focus on legal and illegal ivory markets that are driving demand, to shut down «avenues for criminals to launder their ivory.» One of 56 proposals on the meeting's agenda aims to prevent traffickers from passing off illegal elephant ivory as coming from mammoths, by listing the long-extinct mammals as a threatened species and thus subject to regulated trade. CITES scientific chief Tom De Meulenaer said the idea raises interesting philosophical questions about the boundaries of the treaty, but noted that the practice did not seem to be taking place on a large scale. - Rhino horn trade? - Southern white rhinos that have been heavily poached in recent years will also figure on the agenda, with Swaziland seeking to sell its existing rhino horn stock. Collis termed such an idea «disastrous», and «deeply flawed» as there is currently no legal market for rhino horn. Giraffes are on the agenda for the first time, with a number of African countries calling for a so-called Appendix II listing that would require tracking and regulation of trade in giraffe parts. The African giraffe population is considered threatened after shrinking by an estimated 40 percent over the past three decades. But the CITES secretariat voiced scepticism that trade was a major factor behind the decline, which has largely been linked to habitat loss. Collis questioned this, pointing to US data indicating that in the decade prior to 2015, around 40,000 giraffe parts, mainly bones, had been traded. Finally, three proposals for Appendix II listings of 18 heavily fished shark and ray species have been sponsored by dozens of countries, indicating strong support. © Agence France-Presse

Museum in Germany permanently displaying 6 pieces by Seychellois artist

Renowned Seychellois artist Nigel Henri now has six permanent art pieces being exhibited in the Museum Zündorfer Wehrturm in Cologne, Germany.  The pieces were part of his exhibition held there from June 16 to July 14 this year. “I am proud of this
Seychelles News Agency

Museum in Germany permanently displaying 6 pieces by Seychellois artist

Renowned Seychellois artist Nigel Henri now has six permanent art pieces being exhibited in the Museum Zündorfer Wehrturm in Cologne, Germany.  The pieces were part of his exhibition held there from June 16 to July 14 this year. “I am proud of this. My artwork will be permanently displayed at this museum where many will visit, and my hope is that this will inspire younger artists in Seychelles,” said Henri. He told SNA that despite Seychelles being a small island nation, such an achievement goes to show that the country has already made it into the international art circle. During the four-week-long exhibition, visitors got to see 43 paintings by Henri. Inspired from an early age by his environment and experiences, Henri’s eye for colour and form captures and conveys the richness of specific aspects of Creole culture and island life. Henri was informed five years ago by the museum that he had been chosen to exhibit there and that the theme of his work would be ‘Underwater’. This came after his artwork had been studied closely and it was deciding that this is the area in which he excels. Visitors got to see 43 paintings by Henri conveying specific aspects of island life and Creole culture. (Nigel Henri) Photo License: All Rights Reserved The artist chose to show an array of styles which show his development as an artist during the over 40 years he has been painting. Walking through the exhibition, visitors had the chance to see the vibrant colours of the market place in Victoria, the capital, and the diversity of the Seychellois people. He expressed that exhibiting in such a museum feels like taking part in the Olympics for an artist. “Being invited to a museum is not an everyday thing. It means that you have a certain reputation and it means that there is a certain level that you have reached to be able to exhibit with such a museum,” said Henri. He feels that having exhibited in over 45 international solo and collective exhibition and countless local ones paved his way to where he is today. Internationally, his work has been displayed in many African, Asian and European countries and locally, his painting hangs in the arrival lounge of the airport, in banks and in hotels. Speaking about the exhibition at the Zündorfer Wehrturm museum Henri said that such exposure was not just for him but for Seychelles as a whole. “It is not about Nigel Henri, it is about my country. It will help with the marketing of Seychelles as a tourist destination, and as we know, the German market is very good here.” He wishes to see other artists follow in his footstep, getting recognition on the international platform and making the archipelago proud. 

Seychelles’ plan for clean-beach ‘White Flag’ designation interrupted by fraud allegations

The Seychelles government has cancelled plans to have 40 more of its beaches recognised with the White Flag certification for being clean and plastic-free. The announcement was made on Wednesday by the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate change afte
Seychelles News Agency

Seychelles’ plan for clean-beach ‘White Flag’ designation interrupted by fraud allegations

The Seychelles government has cancelled plans to have 40 more of its beaches recognised with the White Flag certification for being clean and plastic-free. The announcement was made on Wednesday by the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate change after it learned of allegations against the president of the organisation that hands out the designation.  The organisation is the Ocean Alliance Conservation Member; its president is  Kristijan Curavic. According to international press reports, Guravic faces fraud allegations and other legal issues in Malta and his native country of Croatia. On Tuesday, Curavic, met with President Danny Faure at State House and later told reporters that “discussions with the president is to certify 40 to 80 beaches in Seychelles. That is the biggest number of beaches committed by any country.”   On Wednesday the ministry said it “has decided to put on hold the White Flag project following certain allegations which surfaced on an independent online news platform.” “The Ministry has been made aware of the articles and the allegations published and has seen it fit to seek further clarifications from the organisation.” In September last year, the island nation’s first White Flag was put on Beau Vallon beach – a popular beach with visitors. (State House) Photo License: CC-BY According to the press release, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Wallace Cosgrow, Minister for Tourism, Didier Dogley and the Minister for Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning, Maurice Lousteau Lalanne met with Curavic on Wednesday afternoon to discuss these allegations. The ministry noted that at this point, the government through the Ministry has only been in consultation with the organisation, for certification of more beaches. “There has been no financial implications or commitments and pointed out that discussions on the White Flag Project will only resume after satisfactory clarifications have been received from the organization,” the communique added. At the time of writing, SNA has been unable to reach Curavic for a comment. Through online research, SNA found several links of different reports regarding the organisation - Ocean Alliance Conservation Member (OACM) and the white flag project. The most recent article was published only three days ago. Several articles on The Shift - a digital newspaper dedicated to investigative journalism based in Malta– reported the allegations against OACM and Curavic. The Croatian is allegedly wanted in his country and has fraud and other legal issues in Malta – where the white flags have been put on seven beaches.  The articles also reported that Curavic is also using logos of supposed partners when in reality there is no partnership. One such is the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. The Shift News also reported that former actress and human rights advocate Bianca Jagger - the founder of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation and a Council of Europe goodwill ambassador — denied claims that she was a Board member of an affiliated organisation put forward by White Flag International. In September last year, the island nation’s first White Flag was put on Beau Vallon beach – a popular beach with visitors - in the north of the main island of Mahe, one of 115 islands of the Seychelles archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.  The White Flag indicates that the zone is among the world’s first Certified Safe Marine Areas. The certification recognises the beach as having been physically cleaned from plastic and other marine debris. 

Golden swimmer Felicity Passon to carry Seychelles’ flag at African Games in Morocco

Swimmer Felicity Passon will be the flag bearer for Seychelles at the opening ceremony of the 12th African Games in Morocco from August 19 to 31. Vice President Vincent Meriton on Wednesday handed the Seychelles’ flag to Passon, who won seven gold med
Seychelles News Agency

Golden swimmer Felicity Passon to carry Seychelles’ flag at African Games in Morocco

Swimmer Felicity Passon will be the flag bearer for Seychelles at the opening ceremony of the 12th African Games in Morocco from August 19 to 31. Vice President Vincent Meriton on Wednesday handed the Seychelles’ flag to Passon, who won seven gold medals in the Indian Ocean Games in Mauritius. Team Seychelles which is made up of 35 athletes and 13 coaches will compete in seven events -- athletics, badminton, boxing, canoeing, swimming, volleyball and weightlifting. The Team got its official send-off on Wednesday by the Designated Minister, Macsuzy Mondon, who also holds the portfolio for sports. In her address, Mondon said, “The government has invested a sum of SCR 4.5 million ($330,000) for the Seychelles’ participation in the Games. I have the pleasure to announce rewards for medals for this competition. A gold medal will receive 60,000 ($4,385), silver medal 30,000 ($2,193) and bronze 15,000 ($1,096). This again is an increase on what was given in 2015.” She wished all athletes success saying “you can do it – believe and succeed.” Team Seychelles for the 12 edition of the African Games in Morocco. (Jude Morel) Photo License: CC-BY The flag bearer of Team Seychelles, Passon, who had a strong performance in the Indian Ocean Island Games, said, “I am going to carry on this momentum for the African Games. Hopefully, all goes well and I will be able to perform well.” The Africa Games, previously called All Africa Games, is a continental multi-sport event held every four years, organised by the African Union with the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa and the Association of African Sports Confederations. All of the competing nations are from the African continent. The 12th edition of the games which will coincide with the commemoration of the Youth Day will serve as a qualifying step for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. At the last Games in Congo Brazzaville, Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, won 12 medals – three gold, four silver and five bronze.  The Seychellois gold medalists were weightlifter Ruby Malvina, high jumper Lissa Labiche and the badminton women's doubles of Juliette Ah-Wan and Alisen Camille. Over 7,000 African athletes are expected to participate in the competition taking place in Morocco for the first time. In the last games in Congo, Brazzaville in 2015, Egypt topped the medal table with 217 medals among which were 85 gold.

UN Security Council to discuss Kashmir behind closed doors: diplomats

The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to hold a rare meeting on Kashmir after India stripped the region of its autonomy, sparking a row with Pakistan, diplomats told AFP Thursday. The meeting will take place behind closed doors on Friday morning,
Seychelles News Agency

UN Security Council to discuss Kashmir behind closed doors: diplomats

The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to hold a rare meeting on Kashmir after India stripped the region of its autonomy, sparking a row with Pakistan, diplomats told AFP Thursday. The meeting will take place behind closed doors on Friday morning, the diplomats said. Poland, which currently holds the council's rotating presidency, has listed the matter for discussion at 10:00 am (1400 GMT), the diplomats added. It is extremely rare for the Security Council to discuss Kashmir, which has been divided between India and Pakistan since independence from Britain in 1947. The last time there was a full Security Council meeting on the Himalayan region was in 1965. Friday's discussion is not considered a full security meeting but rather referred to as closed door consultations, which are becoming increasingly more common, diplomats said. Parts of Kashmir that India controls have been under lockdown since August 4, with freedom of movement restricted and phones and the internet cut. A day later, New Delhi scrapped Article 370 in the Indian constitution that had granted Kashmir special autonomy, splitting the state of Jammu and Kashmir in two and downgrading their status to union territories. In a speech marking Indian Independence Day Thursday Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the decision was one of several «path-breaking» moves by his newly re-elected administration. He said «fresh thinking» was needed after seven decades of failure to ensure harmony in the picturesque but tragic former kingdom, where tens of thousands have died in the past 30 years. Pakistan observed «Black Day» on Thursday to coincide with India's independence day celebrations. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has warned of possible «ethnic cleansing» in Kashmir, replaced his Twitter profile photo with a black circle. Kashmir has been the spark for two major wars and countless clashes between the two nuclear-armed arch-rivals, most recently in February when they conducted tit-for-tat air strikes. © Agence France-Presse

President of Seychelles to attend southern Africa heads of state meeting in Tanzania

The President of Seychelles, Danny Faure, will attend the 39th summit of Heads of State of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, from August 17 to 18. Faure will leave Seychelles on Friday for the summit which is takin
Seychelles News Agency

President of Seychelles to attend southern Africa heads of state meeting in Tanzania

The President of Seychelles, Danny Faure, will attend the 39th summit of Heads of State of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, from August 17 to 18. Faure will leave Seychelles on Friday for the summit which is taking place under the theme ‘A Conducive Business Environment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development.’ The main objectives of SADC are to achieve economic development, peace and security, and growth, alleviate poverty, enhance the standard and quality of life of the peoples of Southern Africa, and support the socially disadvantaged through regional integration. Tanzania which is hosting the summit assumed chairmanship of the SADC Council of Ministers on Tuesday taking over from Namibia. The Council of Ministers meeting which preceded the summit of Heads of State focussed on key issues in the region, such as the state of SADC's finances, as well as reports from the various committees. The head of state of Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, will return on August 19.

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