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Paris's Notre-Dame holds first mass since devastating blaze

The Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris hosted its first mass on Saturday exactly two months after a devastating blaze, with priests and worshippers wearing hard hats to protect themselves against possible falling debris. Dressed in a white robe and helmet, Archbi
Seychelles News Agency

Paris's Notre-Dame holds first mass since devastating blaze

The Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris hosted its first mass on Saturday exactly two months after a devastating blaze, with priests and worshippers wearing hard hats to protect themselves against possible falling debris. Dressed in a white robe and helmet, Archbishop of Paris Michel Aupetit led the service, which was attended by just some 30 people -- half of them clergy. «The fire, which ravaged the building on April 15, has provoked a wave of emotion, not only for the community of believers,» Archbishop Aupetit said in his sermon, broadcast live «This cathedral is a place of worship, that's its true and unique purpose.» The mass started at 6:00 pm (1600 GMT) in the Chapel of the Virgin on the east side of the cathedral, confirmed to be safe. Protective nets have been strung above the nave and choir and rubble still strews the floor but the pews have remained intact. Aupetit was joined by the rector of Notre-Dame, Patrick Chauvet, other clergy, volunteers, people working on the restoration as well a handful of lay worshippers. The date was chosen as it is the anniversary of the consecration of the cathedral's altar, which is celebrated every year on June 16. The date is «highly significant, spiritually,» Chauvet had told AFP ahead of the service, adding he was happy to be able to show that «Notre-Dame is truly alive». - Five-year plan - President Emmanuel Macron has set an ambitious target of five years for restoring Notre-Dame, which was gutted by a fire on April 15 that felled its steeple and consumed the lattice of beams supporting the roof. The diocese is awaiting a response from the French authorities over whether it can re-open the esplanade in front of the cathedral to the public. If the authorities approve the plan, the idea is to celebrate evening prayers there, the diocese said. The church has also floated the idea of erecting a temporary structure in front of the cathedral to welcome worshippers while the building is being repaired. Up to 150 workers have been working at the cathedral daily since the fire, continuing to remove debris and stabilise the structure. Two large white canopies have been put in place to ensure the edifice is protected, including from rain. - 'Inventive' reconstruction - Macron's call for an «inventive» rather than identical reconstruction of the steeple has left some architects up in arms. Meanwhile, legislation over the reconstruction has been blocked in parliament over disagreements between the upper and lower houses and is now only expected to be adopted at the end of July. Pledges of some 850 million euros ($960 million) had been made from prominent French businessmen and ordinary citizens but only around 10 percent of that has been donated so far. France Info public radio said just 80 million euros had been handed over, with businessmen giving the money in tranches and some private individuals renouncing their pledges due to the apparent success of the campaign. Notre-Dame has figured as a central character through the ups and downs of French history since construction began in mid-12th century. During the French Revolution in the 18th century, it was vandalised and plundered but went on to feature as a central character in a Victor Hugo's novel «The Hunchback of Notre-Dame» (1831) which is credited with helping save it. It survived the devastation of two global conflicts in the 20th century and famously rang its bells on August 24, 1944, the day of the Liberation of Paris from German occupation at the end of the World War II. © Agence France-Presse

Seychellois team in UK launches online radio station, sending Creole and island culture worldwide

A team of enthusiastic Seychellois living in the UK recently launched an online radio station aimed at connecting the world to Seychelles by promoting Creole music and having island beats heard around the globe. The idea of setting up ‘Tropikal Soundz Radi
Seychelles News Agency

Seychellois team in UK launches online radio station, sending Creole and island culture worldwide

A team of enthusiastic Seychellois living in the UK recently launched an online radio station aimed at connecting the world to Seychelles by promoting Creole music and having island beats heard around the globe. The idea of setting up ‘Tropikal Soundz Radio’, which went live on April 1, came about when three friends - Rudy Gendron, Marlon Didon and Shaun Prea - were building a studio in the UK earlier this year. “We are living the internet era. Almost the whole world’s population is on some form of social media. By having an online radio, we know we will reach not only the Seychellois community but other cultures will be able to hear and enjoy Creole music in a convenient and accessible way,” said Gendron. The key players entertaining on the new platform are among the founding members, Pierre Labiche and Rudy Gendron, each having a background in entertainment. Labiche has over 30 years of music experience whereas Gendron has worked as a DJ on a number of radio stations. The two DJs entertaining on the platform -- Pierre Labiche and Rudy Gendron. (Salifa Karapetyan) Photo License: CC-BY  The team works closely with Marlon Didon who runs ‘KozKreole’, another online platform promoting the Creole culture and music. Gendron said that Didon knows videography, recording and digital production and has an influential following on YouTube. Gendron explained that the name ‘Tropikal Soundz’ existed already for the DJ partnership between Labiche and himself. “We said why not keep it that way and add the radio bit to it. ‘Tropikal’ represents the tropical islands like Seychelles, Mauritius and Rodrigues. So, it’s the sounds from the islands being brought to the world,” he said. Allowing the radio’s followers the ability to voice their interests, as well as concerns and needs, is of great importance to ‘Tropikal Soundz Radio’. The station gives everyone an opportunity to promote and protect their cultures, traditions and heritages and determine their own development and future. To entice and engage its audience, the team intends to introduce not just new Creole music but other contents as well. “We intend to introduce programmes such as local news and sports updates, interviews with influential people, live shows and events, also announcements on new ventures and hot places to visit in Seychelles, conveyed through advertisement slots,” said Gendron. Starting with music from Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, the team intends to play sounds from neighbouring islands in the Indian Ocean as he venture grows. Aside from a wide selection of Creole music, the non-profit broadcaster website also offers a range of promotional and advertising opportunities for sponsors. Although the radio website will focus on Creole music, English will be the language of use. Gendron explained that “English is the most common language universally used and we want to do our best in reaching every corner of the world and spreading the joys of our culture.” 

Less pain, shorter recovery: Minimally invasive surgical procedures introduced in Seychelles

Less pain, medicine, recovery time, risk of infection and scars are all benefits of newly introduced minimally invasive surgical procedures now being practised at the Seychelles Hospital. Specialists at the hospital are switching to minimally invasive surgic
Seychelles News Agency

Less pain, shorter recovery: Minimally invasive surgical procedures introduced in Seychelles

Less pain, medicine, recovery time, risk of infection and scars are all benefits of newly introduced minimally invasive surgical procedures now being practised at the Seychelles Hospital. Specialists at the hospital are switching to minimally invasive surgical procedures, now that the Ministry of Health has improved them. This new approach will benefit patients requiring surgical interventions to treat appendicitis, slipped discs and hip fractures among others. Minimally invasive surgery approaches the abdomen or the chest through small incisions in the abdominal wall, Danisela Chetty a laparoscopic surgeon at the Seychelles Hospital, told a news conference on Tuesday. Chetty added that instruments are used to diagnose abdominal organs and treat certain diseases without the need for long open surgeries. “This gives patients quite a lot of benefits - less pain, shorter recovery times, shorter time periods before they can resume work and their daily lives, reduced risk of infections and of course this reduces the strain on the hospital and reduce costs,” said Chetty.  A former patient having undergone minimally invasive surgery, Barnsley Albert, told the news conference that “after five to six hours after surgery I was up and walking.” (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY Laparoscopy surgery is done through one or more small incisions, using small tubes and tiny cameras and surgical instruments. A former patient having undergone minimally invasive surgery, Barnsley Albert, told the news conference that “after five to six hours after surgery I was up and walking.” “It was something that I wasn't expecting to be able to do. I had no pain. I had four small incisions, the scars of which are already fading, three weeks following the surgery. I started working five days after the surgery with no complication," said Albert Investments in this type of procedure have been made by the ministry and sponsors over the past two years. Funds were used to obtain new equipment and give training to health professionals, culminating in the introduction of laparoscopy, and other minimally invasive surgeries. Other minimally invasive surgeries being performed at the main public hospital in Seychelles – a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean - include gallbladder surgery, orthopaedic surgery, as well as ear, nose and throat surgery. Since December 2018, over 45 minimally invasive surgeries have been performed at the Seychelles Hospital. The chief executive of the Health Care Agency (HCA), Danny Louange, said that today a patient “with slipped discs can be treated through only a small incision of about 2cm.” “As compared to before, where a large cut would be made, the procedure does not damage the muscles under the skin, as they can be separated until we reach the spine. Once at the spine, the equipment is placed and the exposure is adequate to perform the slipped disc surgery,” said Louange. He added that together with other equipment, surgeons “can access and remove the disc, through the device, and upon removing the device, the muscles go back together and the small incision is sewn.” “This means that patients can be up and mobile on the very same day, and can be discharged fairly quickly, possibly the next day,” concluded Louange. The Minister for Health, Jean-Paul Adam, said that despite challenges being faced by the island nation’s public health sector, the minimally invasive surgeries are another milestone by the Seychelles Hospital. 

Trump blames Iran in tanker blasts, says sea lane not at risk

US President Donald Trump declared Friday that a mysterious attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman had Iran «written all over it,» rejecting Tehran's denial that it had any involvement. As US-Iranian tensions soared, Trump dismissed previo
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Trump blames Iran in tanker blasts, says sea lane not at risk

US President Donald Trump declared Friday that a mysterious attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman had Iran «written all over it,» rejecting Tehran's denial that it had any involvement. As US-Iranian tensions soared, Trump dismissed previous threats by Tehran that in case of conflict it could block the Hormuz Strait -- a narrow seaway vital to the world's oil supplies. Speaking hours after the US military released grainy footage it said showed an Iranian patrol boat removing an «unexploded limpet mine» from one of the tankers, Trump was emphatic. «Iran did do it,» Trump told Fox News. «You know they did it because you saw the boat. I guess one of the mines didn't explode and it's probably got essentially Iran written all over it.» «You saw the boat at night, successfully trying to take the mine off -- and that was exposed,» he added. Iran rejected the US accusations. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that the US had «immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran without a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence.» UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an independent investigation. «It's very important to know the truth. It's very important that responsibilities are clarified,» Guterres told reporters at UN headquarters in New York. «Obviously that can only be done if there is an independent entity that verifies those facts.» Meanwhile, Britain's assessment found that Iran was «almost certainly» behind the attacks, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said. London pinned the blame for Thursday's attack on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard -- a vast and powerful branch of the Iranian military. - Oil exports choke point - Iran has repeatedly warned in the past that it could block the Hormuz Strait in a relatively low-tech, high-impact countermeasure to any attack by the United States. Doing so would disrupt oil tankers traveling out of the Gulf region to the Indian Ocean and global export routes. Trump played down the threat. «It's not going to be closed, it's not going to be closed for long and they know it. They've been told in very strong terms,» Trump said. Oil prices have surged in response to the rising tensions. Saudi Arabia's energy minister Khalid al-Falih said the kingdom was monitoring the situation with «great concern» and called for action to secure maritime traffic, the Saudi SPA news agency said. Saudi Arabia, a close US ally, is a bitter regional rival of Iran. China called for all sides to «resolve the conflict through dialogue,» while the European Union called for «maximum restraint.» Russia, which has close -- if sometimes strained -- links to Iran, warned through its foreign ministry against «hasty conclusions.» - Sailors rescued - The oil tankers were 10 nautical miles apart and headed to Asia when they were struck by explosions early Thursday after passing through the Strait of Hormuz some 25 nautical miles off Iran's southern coast. The Front Altair, owned by the Oslo-listed company Frontline, was carrying naphtha, a refined petroleum product. It was hit by three explosions, according to Norwegian officials. Explosions also struck the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, which was loaded with methanol, but the fire on board was soon extinguished. One crew member suffered minor injuries and the ship was headed Friday toward the UAE port of Khor Fakkan. There was no claim of responsibility for the blasts, which struck both tankers at the waterline. Iran said its navy rescued several dozen crew members from the two vessels, while the US Navy said it had picked up 21 from the Kokuka Courageous. Iran's English-language Press TV aired footage of rescued crewmen from the Front Altair, saying they were all in «full health.» The crew of the Kokuka Courageous saw a «flying object» before a second blast on board, the operator's head said Friday. Washington has dispatched the destroyer USS Mason to the scene «to provide assistance,» CENTCOM said in a statement while Oman said it sent two navy vessels to assist. - Iran or 'proxies?' - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday's tanker explosions were «the latest in a series of attacks» he blamed on Iran or its «proxies,» including Yemeni rebel missile strikes which wounded 26 civilians at a Saudi airport on Wednesday. A Saudi-led coalition which is fighting the rebels it accuses of being Iranian proxies said its air defenses had intercepted a new rebel attack on an airport in the Islamic kingdom on Friday. The abortive strike involving five rebel drones targeted the southwestern city of Khamis Mushait, home to a huge airbase which has been the main launchpad of the coalition's more than four-year bombing campaign in Yemen. The United States has also accused Iran over May 12 attacks on four tankers anchored in the Gulf of Oman off the United Arab Emirates port of Fujairah. The preliminary findings of an UAE-led investigation found that a state actor was responsible but stopped short of naming Iran. © Agence France-Presse

UN secretary-general commends Seychelles’ leadership as ocean conservation champion

Seychelles’ leadership on ocean conservation and the Blue Economy were the primary focus of a meeting between President Danny Faure and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, at the UN headquarters in New York on Thursday. Accordi
Seychelles News Agency

UN secretary-general commends Seychelles’ leadership as ocean conservation champion

Seychelles’ leadership on ocean conservation and the Blue Economy were the primary focus of a meeting between President Danny Faure and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, at the UN headquarters in New York on Thursday. According to State House, the Secretary-General commended Seychelles on its leadership as a champion of ocean conservancy and the Blue Economy and expressed his desire that President Faure attends the Climate Action summit. The two men leaders agreed that Seychelles and the United Nations system shared a very strong relationship and discussed the lead up to the much-anticipated Climate Action summit which the Secretary-General will host in New York on September 23. Guterres also expressed great admiration for Seychelles’ leadership in sustainable development and governance, which he said was an example for the region and the world, in the meeting at the UN headquarters in New York, United States. Faure informed Guterres that “Seychelles is well on track to protect 30 per cent of its 1.4 million-square-kilometre maritime territory by February of 2020, thereby achieving the 30x30 target a decade early.” During the meeting, Faure sought the assistance of the UN system in his role as the African Union’s champion for the development of the Blue Economy in Africa. He also expressed the need to couple ocean conservancy and governance with maritime security and commended the assistance of the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in countering drug trafficking in the western Indian Ocean. The Seychelles’ head of the state also presented the UN Secretary-General with a copy of the island nation’s coastal management plan 2019-2024. The plan which was drawn up in partnership with the World Bank addresses climate change effects Seychelles such as coastal erosion and flooding among others. Faure and Guterres also discussed marine pollution especially the scourge of ocean plastic. A complete ban on the manufacture, importation and use of plastic straws came into force on June 1 in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, in the latest effort to advance environmental protection. A ban on the importation of Styrofoam takeaway boxes, and plastic items such as carrier bags, plates, cups and cutlery took effect in January 2017. Guterres also received a coco de mer which is the largest nut in the world and endemic to the Seychelles islands. Faure presented Guterres with one of the Seychelles' endemic coco de mer. (State House) Photo license: CC-BY While in the United States, Faure also met with the chief executive of the World Bank, Kristalina Georgieva, on Thursday at the World Bank headquarters in Washington D.C. Faure expressed his gratitude to the World Bank for its assistance in developing the Blue Bond while Georgieva heralded Seychelles for its leadership in the environment sector and inspiring other countries both in the region and worldwide. The discussions included financing the Seychelles Coastal Management Plan 2019-2024 developed with the World Bank’s support. The plan looks at the necessary actions required to reduce the impact of erosion, flooding and other climate change effects on the country’s coastline.  Other projects and programmes will cost an estimated $13.1 million (SCR180 million) and the World Bank agreed to assist the Seychelles’ government in raising the necessary financing under the institution's climate change mitigation and adaptation portfolios.  While in the United States, Faure also met with the CEO of the World Bank. State House) Photo license: CC-BY Faure also followed up on the issue of marine debris he raised with Georgieva at Canada’s G7 summit in Charlevoix in June last year particularly on how to dispose of the waste cleaned from the beaches and the environment. The World Bank gave its commitment to using its resources to push for ways to deal with plastic consumption and disposal and to identify technologies which will allow Seychelles and other countries to better deal with the waste washing up on their shores. On the Seychelles’ side, the government will continue its efforts to keep the issue on the global agenda and maintain the island nation’s status as a leader on environment conservation and curbing the use of plastic. The World Bank also expressed its desire to help Seychelles lower the climate and environmental impact of electricity generation.  The International Finance Corporation – a subsidiary of the World Bank – is already engaged with the government in exploring the potential use of liquified natural gas (LNG) to produce electricity.

Seychelles-based Chagossians to boycott heritage visits to the islands for 2nd straight year

Chagossians in Seychelles are planning to boycott heritage visits to the islands organised by Great Britain for the second year in a row. A communique from the group states: “We strongly recommend that all Chagossians not take part in the next planned visi
Seychelles News Agency

Seychelles-based Chagossians to boycott heritage visits to the islands for 2nd straight year

Chagossians in Seychelles are planning to boycott heritage visits to the islands organised by Great Britain for the second year in a row. A communique from the group states: “We strongly recommend that all Chagossians not take part in the next planned visit organized by the British Government set for October or November 2019.” Pierre Prosper - chair of the committee – said it is important for the group to maintain its previous position with regards to the visits to the Chagos Islands. “We are also asking that the Chagossians boycott future visits paid for by the support fund allocated to better Chagossian lives,” Prosper said. Prosper added, “We ask the British government not to use the support fund for heritage visits. The visits should be paid for by a separate fund.” In 2016, the British government announced that a package of approximately £40 million (almost $50 million) will be made available for the next ten years to fund improvements to the livelihoods of Chagossian in the communities where they are living. Chagossians in Seychelles are planning to boycott heritage visits to the islands organised by Great Britain for the second year in a row. (Alvin Tirant) Photo License:  All Rights Reserved “The sum will be used for all Chagossians living in Seychelles, Mauritius and the United Kingdom. This amount will also need to cater to all generations of these displaced people and will not go far,” said Prosper. Anne Marie Gendron also feels that the money is not being used for its purpose. “I think it is wrong for the British to give us the money for one purpose and then use it for something else.” Gendron is one of the 2,000 Chagossians who were forced to leave their islands. “There are so many islanders who are still facing challenges, especially the elderly and those with disabilities, who need this money to improve their lives,” said Gendron. Another Chagossian believes visits need to take place, though.  “Visits to our islands are important to us,” said Alvin Tirant, another Chagossian living in Seychelles, a nation of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean. According to Tirant, visits allow them to monitor what is happening on the islands. “As there are still sites important to us, like the cemetery, the chapel, Grann Kaz – we can monitor and look out for these things. But I do feel strongly that finance for these trips should come from another source.” Around 2,000 Chagossians were forcibly evicted from the Chagos archipelago in the central Indian Ocean in 1960 after the UK leased the main island, Diego Garcia, to the United States to use as a military base. More than 200 were deported to Mahé, the main island of Seychelles, between 1967 and 1973, when the country was still a British colony. "Visits to our islands are important to us,” said Alvin Tirant.  (Alvin Tirant) Photo License:  All Rights Reserved The committee is also reiterating their call for a proper needs assessment. “We also ask the British government to carry out an independent needs assessment paid for again by a separate fund in Seychelles and elsewhere where Chagossians reside,” explained Prosper. “The needs assessment will also quantify a realistic number of funds required to cover a broad needs spectrum to better the lives of all Chagossians where-ever they may be,” concluded Prosper. Last month, in an overwhelming vote in favour of the rights Chagossians, the U.N. General Assembly voted 116-6 to condemn Britain's occupation of the Chagos islands, a stinging diplomatic defeat for the U.K.  The vote was in support of a motion setting a six-month deadline for Britain to withdraw from the Chagos island chain and for the islands to be reunified with neighbouring Mauritius, according to the Guardian newspaper. 

UAE says Gulf tanker attacks 'dangerous escalation'

The United Arab Emirates said Friday that twin attacks on tankers in the Sea of Oman just weeks after four ships were damaged off the UAE marked a «dangerous escalation». «The attack against the tankers in the Gulf of Oman is a worrying dev
Seychelles News Agency

UAE says Gulf tanker attacks 'dangerous escalation'

The United Arab Emirates said Friday that twin attacks on tankers in the Sea of Oman just weeks after four ships were damaged off the UAE marked a «dangerous escalation». «The attack against the tankers in the Gulf of Oman is a worrying development and a dangerous escalation,» the UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, tweeted after Thursday's blasts. Gargash also condemned a Yemeni rebel missile attack which wounded 26 civilians at an airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia on Wednesday. He said the «blatant attack on civilians» was only the latest in a spate of rebel assaults «undermining the UN's political work and sending a message of continuing violence and hostility». These developments «must spur the international community to act to maintain peace and security in the region», Gargash said. «The responsibility for avoiding an escalation is collective.» The two tankers, one Norwegian-operated and one Japanese-owned, were set ablaze in the Gulf of Oman off the coast of Iran on Thursday, escalating tensions across the region and sending world oil prices soaring. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there was strong evidence of Iran's culpability, after US Central Command reported seeing an Iranian patrol boat removing an «unexploded limpet mine» from the hull of one of the vessels. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif charged that the US administration had «immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran without a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence». He accused it of seeking to «sabotage diplomacy» as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Tehran in a bid to ease Iran-US tensions. In a subsequent tweet, Gargash said Zarif's «credibility (is) diminishing». «Public relations is no real substitute to constructive policies. De-escalation in (the) current situation requires wise actions not empty words.» Thursday's incidents came a month after four oil tankers -- two Saudi, one Norwegian and one Emirati -- were damaged in still unexplained attacks off the nearby UAE port of Fujairah. © Agence France-Presse

Sudan charges ousted leader Bashir with corruption: state media

Sudan's public prosecutor has charged ousted president Omar al-Bashir of corruption, the official SUNA news agency said on Thursday. The announcement came more than two month after the military ousted Bashir on April 11 following months of nationwide protest
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Sudan charges ousted leader Bashir with corruption: state media

Sudan's public prosecutor has charged ousted president Omar al-Bashir of corruption, the official SUNA news agency said on Thursday. The announcement came more than two month after the military ousted Bashir on April 11 following months of nationwide protests against his 30-year ironfisted rule. «The public prosecutor announces the completion of all investigations in the case brought against the deposed president Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir by anti-corruption prosecutors,» SUNA said. An unnamed official was quoted by the agency as saying that Bashir is facing charges including «possessing foreign funds, acquiring suspected and illegal wealth and ordering (the state of) emergency». In April, Sudan's army ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said that more than 113 million dollars worth of cash in three currencies had been seized from Bashir's residence. He said a team of police, army and security agents found seven million euros ($7.8 million), $350,000 and five billion Sudanese pounds ($105 million) during a search at Bashir's home. Bashir swept to power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989. Sudan suffered high rates of corruption under his rule ranking 172 out of 180 countries in Transparency International's 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index. Last month, Sudan's public prosecutor ordered the questioning of Bashir over money-laundering and «financing terrorism». In an effort to quell protests that erupted against his rule in December, Bashir had imposed a nationwide state of emergency on February 22. In May the prosecutor general said that Bashir had been charged over the killings of protesters during the anti-regime demonstrations that led to the end of his rule. © Agence France-Presse

Civil code revisions being examined in new exercise to inform public ahead of debate on bill

The Seychelles’ Parliament is carrying out a second preliminary exercise to review the country’s Civil Code ahead of a debate on the Bill, which is expected to take place before the end of this term’s sitting. The second review is taking place from Ju
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Civil code revisions being examined in new exercise to inform public ahead of debate on bill

The Seychelles’ Parliament is carrying out a second preliminary exercise to review the country’s Civil Code ahead of a debate on the Bill, which is expected to take place before the end of this term’s sitting. The second review is taking place from June 13 to 17 at the National Assembly’s chamber for the remaining articles of the Code. Members will be able to discuss and seek clarifications on the amendments being proposed. Georges told SNA that this week’s hearing is a continuation of last year’s review ahead of the debate later in the term. “Through this exercise, we want to inform the Parliament and the public of the content of the Civil Code Amendment Bill 2017. We want to have this exercise early in the second term so that we can have the debate during this term as well and vote on the Bill. We want to complete the exercise before 2020 which is an election year,” said Georges. The revision began in 2013 and proceeded with a series of committee meetings which were open to the public. In July last year, the members of the National Assembly reviewed half of the 2,000 articles in the Civil Code. The aim of the revision is to modernise the law to ensure that it reflects the current social circumstances of the island nation, and also the human rights provisions of the Constitution of the third republic adopted in 1993. The proposals for the revised Civil Code are based on the report of a Civil Code revision committee, chaired by the Seychelles’ Chief Justice, Mathilda Twomey and the chairperson of the bill's committee of the National Assembly, Bernard Georges.  Participants in the meeting of stakeholders in May, 2017. (State House) Photo license: CC-BY The Civil Code Amendment Bill 2017 which provides the basic rules of the law for the relationship between people will replace the previous one enacted in 1975. The amendments are aimed at only 10 percent of the Civil Code only. The remaining 90 percent will not be touched. The Civil Code of Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, has more than one thousand pages. One pertinent issue under revision is equalising the rights of all children. The present Civil Code which reflects the 19th-century origins in the French Code still distinguishes illegitimate from legitimate children and restricts the rights of adulterine children. The amendment is proposing to abolish the status of legitimacy and illegitimacy to comply with the equality of rights provisions in the Constitution. Other amendments will include the rights of co-owners, the ability to dispose freely of property on death and land use matters and the sharing of property in out of wedlock relationships. Rivalse Hoareau, 61, the father of two legitimate children and five adopted children, welcomed the amendments. “A couple who is not married but who have lived together for many years and have children should have the same rights as a married couple. I don’t see why we should discriminate on the ground of them not being married,” said Hoareau. He added that the same should apply to children and that “regardless if they are born out of wedlock or not, parents should be responsible towards their children and treat them as equals.” His views were echoed by 30-year-old Travis Julienne, a married father of one. “It is only right. All children should have equal claims to what the parents leave behind,” Julienne. On the issue of sharing of property for out of wedlock relationships, Noella Baker, 36, mother of one living with her partner, said, “After a certain number of years it should automatically be shared.” Winsel Pothin – a 41-year-old mother of two, had an opposing view and said that these amendments will bring confusion and complicate relationships. “Where does one draw the line? How is it going to be confirmed if A is truly B's child as I know so well, in Seychelles, this test is not 100 percent accurate. And also why marry then if both are going to be treated equally?” she told SNA. Georges said although the review committee has already consulted the public the committee is still open for suggestions and public views. “We are broadcasting the sessions live so that those who still want to give their views and suggestions during the three-day exercise, can still do so. We want the public’s participation as we finalise the document. And of course they can also share their views with their representatives in the National Assembly and these will be taken up during our debates,” added Georges. If approved the Civil Code will be consistent with the Supreme Laws of the Constitution.  The exercise is being done with the help of Jean Rosario Domingue, the chief executive of the Mauritius Law Reform Commission and Anthony Angelo, currently a professor of law at Victoria University of Wellington, in New Zealand.

Africa hopes stars can shine in Egypt after officials cause shame

Top African football officials hope the history-making Cup of Nations in Egypt from June 21 can deflect attention away from a string of embarrassing incidents involving them. In recent weeks, CAF president Ahmad Ahmad and senior vice-president Amaju Pinnick
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Africa hopes stars can shine in Egypt after officials cause shame

Top African football officials hope the history-making Cup of Nations in Egypt from June 21 can deflect attention away from a string of embarrassing incidents involving them. In recent weeks, CAF president Ahmad Ahmad and senior vice-president Amaju Pinnick and VAR have been dominating the headline space usually reserved for stars like Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. Malagasy Ahmad was questioned by French authorities last week during a probe into corruption, breach of trust and forgery amid reports that CAF illegally changed kit suppliers. Former CAF secretary general Amr Fahmy from Egypt was sacked recently after making various serious accusations against Ahmad. These include corruption, sexual harassment, nepotism and a disregard for CAF statutes by an official who succeeded long-serving Issa Hayatou two years ago on an anti-graft ticket. While Ahmad being questioned in France caused huge embarrassment, the first Cup of Nations with 24 teams and the first to be staged in June and July was receiving lesser prominence. Meanwhile, the Nigerian High Court has ordered Pinnick and four other football officials to stand trial for allegedly stealing millions of dollars intended for football development. And if the image of CAF was not tainted enough, there was a farcical scene in the second leg of the Champions League final with Wydad Casablanca walking off over a disallowed goal. The Moroccan club wanted the goal referred to VAR only to discover that the system malfunctioned before the match began and could not be used. Ahmad and his executives later ruled that the second leg against Esperance Tunis, who were leading 2-1 overall when the second leg was abandoned, must be replayed. There have been numerous VAR controversies since its introduction in Africa last year and it is due to be used during the Cup of Nations, reportedly for the knockout stages. The 2019 Cup of Nations has had its share of drama too as Egypt were named hosts only this January to replace Cameroon, who had fallen behind with preparations. Then, the dates were changed as Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia said players needed more time to recover from Ramadan, when Muslims abstain from food and drink between sunrise and sunset. Tunisia also wanted certain kick-off times altered, saying the temperatures during afternoon fixtures could exceed 40 degrees celsius (104 fahrenheit), particularly in Cairo. - Egypt slight favourites - Mediterranean city Alexandria, Ismailia and Suez are the other venues for the tournament with hosts Egypt slight favourites to become champions a record-extending eighth time. There have been four Cup of Nations tournaments in Egypt with the home team winning three while finishing third in the other. The Pharaohs will rely heavily on serial scorer Salah, whose penalty set up Liverpool to win the UEFA Champions League final against Tottenham Hotspur this month. Another star who helped Liverpool conquer Europe was Mane, the stand-out performer in a Senegal side aiming to lift the trophy for the first time after finishing 2002 runners-up. Egypt and Senegal are among the six top seeds with defending champions Cameroon, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia. Were the finals staged anywhere except Egypt, Morocco would probably be favourites to succeed again 43 years after their lone success. Their French coach, Herve Renard, is the only one to win the tournament with different countries, guiding no-hopers Zambia to glory in 2012 and repeating the feat with Ivory Coast three years later. The Moroccan stars include winger Hakim Ziyech, part of the Ajax side that stunned Real Madrid and Juventus in the Champions League before a dramatic loss to Tottenham. Nigeria will hope for goals from Arsenal attacker Alex Iwobi while teamwork is the mantra of Tunisia, coached by star 1980s France midfielder Alain Giresse. Cameroon have won three of the last 10 Cup of Nations tournaments and Indomitable Lions legend Roger Milla says «there is no reason why they cannot retain the trophy in Egypt». Among the second seeds, Ghana, Algeria and the Ivory Coast could go far while the Democratic Republic of Congo and third seeds South Africa are highly unpredictable. © Agence France-Presse

China extradition clashes plunge Hong Kong into historic violence

Hong Kong was rocked Wednesday by the worst political unrest since its handover to China, as police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters who tried to storm parliament and blocked roads in the financial hub. The violent demonstrations wer
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China extradition clashes plunge Hong Kong into historic violence

Hong Kong was rocked Wednesday by the worst political unrest since its handover to China, as police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters who tried to storm parliament and blocked roads in the financial hub. The violent demonstrations were the latest expression of widespread public anger over the government's controversial Beijing-backed plan to allow extraditions to China. Clashes broke out hours after tens of thousands of people seized key arteries in the morning rush hour and surrounded the city's parliament, forcing lawmakers to postpone a debate on the proposed law. Health authorities said more than 70 people were injured, local broadcaster RTHK reported. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who is championing the law's passage, described the protests as «organised riots» and called for calm to be restored. «The rioting actions that damage peaceful society, ignoring law and discipline is unacceptable for any civilised societies,» she said in a video statement. International concern grew with the European Union saying that Hong Kong rights «need to be respected,» while US President Donald Trump said he hoped the protesters can «work it out» with Beijing. Police earlier used tear gas, rubber bullets and batons to battle crowds of black-clad demonstrators -- most of them young people and students -- demanding authorities scrap the Beijing-backed law. The scenes echoed the pro-democracy «Umbrella Movement» of 2014 where protesters calling for greater democratic rights shut down swathes of the city for two months and battled police, but won no concessions from Beijing. This time police appeared determined not to let protesters hold any ground while the young demonstrators responded in kind, hurling projectiles including metal poles, bottles and bricks. Tear gas sent the crowds scattering, but riot police continued to fight cat and mouse battles with their opponents into the evening, pushing them down towards the city's commercial centre and bringing it to a standstill. Wounded police and protesters were seen being carried away and Hong Kong's stock market was also hurt, closing down 1.7 percent Wednesday. - Fears for unique freedoms - Hong Kong has been convulsed by political unrest in recent years as fears surge that Beijing is trying to stamp on the city's unique freedoms and culture. But Wednesday's violence was an unprecedented escalation of the conflict. «In terms of the level of violence, today has been the most serious since the 1997 handover,» political analyst Dixon Sing told AFP, citing the sustained use of tear gas, rubber bullets and bean bag rounds, as well as the willingness of protesters to take on the police. «Today's events reflect a huge gap in the confidence Hong Kong people have towards the government. They increasingly believe the Hong Kong government are a bunch of puppets serving the interests of Beijing,» he added. The proposed law would allow Hong Kong to send suspects to other jurisdictions around the world -- including China. Hong Kong's leaders say it is needed to plug loopholes and to stop the city being a sanctuary for fugitives. They say safeguards are in place to ensure that political critics of Beijing will not be targeted. But it is deeply unpopular, with fears people will become entangled in the mainland's opaque courts, leaving them vulnerable to a justice system seen as acting at the behest of the Chinese Communist Party. Opposition to the bill has united an unusually wide cross-section of the city, from influential businessmen and lawyers, to religious groups, student unions and workers. On Sunday record crowds of around one million marched against the law but failed to move pro-Beijing Lam. «The protest today took place solely because Carrie Lam ignored the voice of 1.03 million people, and refused to withdraw the Extradition Bill,» the Civil Human Rights Front protest group said late Wednesday, accusing the police of being overly aggressive. Police chief Stephen Lo defended his officers, saying they had shown restraint until «mobsters» tried to storm parliament. «These violent protesters kept charging at our line of defence, and used very dangerous weapons, including... throwing metal barricades at us and throwing bricks,» he said. But Amnesty International said police «took advantage of the violent acts of a small minority as a pretext to use excessive force against the vast majority of peaceful protesters.» Authorities are determined to have the law on the books as soon as possible but protesters have vowed to keep hitting the streets until the bill is shelved. «The only responsible thing to do now is for Carrie Lam to withdraw the evil bill, or at least to shelve it in order to solve the crisis,» said pro-democracy lawmaker Fernando Cheung. «I will keep fighting,» protester Kevin Leung, 20, told AFP late Wednesday. «Until our goal is achieved, we will keep going.» Speaking to reporters in Washington, Trump said, «I understand the reason for the demonstration,» and expressed hope «it all works out for China and for Hong Kong.» The EU's external affairs arm said Hong Kong's people have been exercising «their fundamental right to assemble and express themselves freely and peacefully. These rights need to be respected.» Under the handover agreement with Britain, China allowed Hong Kong to retain the freedoms and an independent judiciary that were integral to its economic success for 50 years. But there are fears China is reneging on that deal, a slide that critics say has worsened since President Xi Jinping ushered in an era of more authoritarian rule on the mainland. © Agence France-Presse

4 winners from Seychelles that help the island nation’s tourism star shine

Award-winning travel brands in Africa and the Indian Ocean were announced on June 1 at a star-studded gala in Mauritius. The World Travel Awards support, promote and develop the global travel and tourism industry by identifying and rewarding excellence an
Seychelles News Agency

4 winners from Seychelles that help the island nation’s tourism star shine

Award-winning travel brands in Africa and the Indian Ocean were announced on June 1 at a star-studded gala in Mauritius. The World Travel Awards support, promote and develop the global travel and tourism industry by identifying and rewarding excellence and inspiring higher standards. SNA presents winners from Seychelles in the regional category.   Seychelles -- Indian Ocean’s Leading Sustainable Tourism Destination 2019 The Seychelles’ continuous efforts to protect its environment and natural resources have once again been recognised. The island nation in the western Indian Ocean is working hard to ensuring that the economic benefits that tourism brings are put back into protecting the natural beauty that attracts visitors here in the first place. In line with the country’s effort, the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Foundation was founded in 2017. The Foundation is a platform that collects, connects, lobbies and shares information, knowledge and facilitates collaboration between private sectors and organisations to help Seychelles advance towards sustainable tourism.  (Seychelles Tourism Board) Photo license: CC-BY   Port Victoria -- Indian Ocean’s Leading Cruise Port Seychelles’ Port Victoria is still the leading cruise destination in the Indian Ocean for the fifth time. The award underscores the increased cruise ship business in Seychelles after a period of decline during the Somali pirate years. Port Victoria welcomed over 40 cruises during the cruise ship season, which started in mid-October and ended early May. (Patrick Joubert) Photo license: CC-BY   Air Seychelles -- Indian Ocean's Leading Airline - Economy Class 2019 Once again the Seychelles’ national carrier, Air Seychelles, came out as the leading airline in economy class. Established in 1978, the airline offers international flights to Abu Dhabi, Johannesburg, Mauritius and Mumbai. Air Seychelles also operates daily domestic flights and charter services throughout the archipelago. (Air Seychelles) Photo license: CC-BY    Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa -- Indian Ocean's Leading Villa Resort 2019 The resort -- the first one under the Hilton brand to open in Seychelles in 2007 – is located at Glacis on the northern side of the main island of Mahe. The resort surrounded by white-sand beaches, tropical gardens and crystal waters, is a true escape. The villas are perched on stilts, providing gorgeous views and plenty of privacy. (Seychelles Nation) Photo license: CC-BY 

Feted in Washington, Presidents of Seychelles -- Faure and Michel -- honoured by National Geographic Society for planetary leadership

The President of Seychelles, Danny Faure, and former President James Michel received the Planetary and Leadership Award on Wednesday at the National Geographic Awards ceremony at the George Washington University, in Washington D.C. The Planetary and Leader
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Feted in Washington, Presidents of Seychelles -- Faure and Michel -- honoured by National Geographic Society for planetary leadership

The President of Seychelles, Danny Faure, and former President James Michel received the Planetary and Leadership Award on Wednesday at the National Geographic Awards ceremony at the George Washington University, in Washington D.C. The Planetary and Leadership award recognises a world leader who has successfully established globally significant protected areas, such as national parks, wilderness areas, or marine reserves, that are fully shielded from exploitation. Faure dedicated the award to the people of Seychelles, State House said. He said that Seychellois citizens have a strong connection with nature and remain committed to successfully protecting and preserving the environment. “With this award, the National Geographic Society is acknowledging the work we have done, and it is a powerful, emotional recognition of the longstanding vision of Seychelles and our journey so far, for me to be on this stage today,” he said. The Seychelles’ head of state said the island nation is a champion of environmental conservation “because we believe in it. Since 1977, we have been convinced that protecting our environment is not just the right thing to do, but the necessary thing to do.” Faure advised people and countries around the world to do the same. On his side, former President James Michel thanked National Geographic for the award, saying that this was evidence and recognition of the society’s support in what Seychelles is doing. He also reiterated that there is one direction ahead. “There is only one message of healing, conservation and sustainability. Our shared future is blue. The award that I am receiving today signals your own commitment. It will give heart to many people around the world who believe the same. Your foresight is deeply valued. I accept my award with pride and humility,” said Michel. Other award recipients at the ceremony included groundbreaking leaders in the fields of exploration, science, technology, storytelling and conservation. Two new awards for exceptional achievement in education and philanthropic endeavours were also presented. Faure and Michel were received as honoured guests at a reception by the Society on Tuesday. (State House) Photo license: CC-BY A day before the ceremony, Faure and Michel were received as honoured guests at a reception hosted by the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. The event was hosted by the President and chief executive of the society, Tracy Wolstencroft, who congratulated Seychelles for being at the forefront in the plight against climate change as well as for being advocates of a sustainable blue economy. The achievements of the Seychelles’ current and former presidents over time in marine conservation were highlighted by speakers at the event. This included the expansion of the marine protection to 26 percent of the island nation’s Exclusive Economic Zone. While in Washington D.C, the head of state of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, met with Mathew Brown, the regional director of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) on Wednesday. Faure also met with TNC chief executive to discuss the way forward. (State House) Photo license: CC-BY The discussion focused on TNC's continued engagement with Seychelles and the way forward for the island nation’s debt swap.  The Nature Conservancy negotiated a deal that converts a portion of the Seychelles’ foreign debt into a $22-million investment in expanded marine conservation. The deal will allow the island nation to swap millions of dollars in sovereign debt for protecting nearly one third of its ocean area. The Nature Conservancy -- one of the world's largest environmental non-governmental organisations -- provided technical and financial support to the debt swap to protect 30 percent of Seychelles' ocean territory. Faure also called on the chief executive of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Philippe Le Houerou where the Corporation's potential involvement in the greening of the Seychelles economy was looked at. Possible areas for the IFC’s possible involvement are renewable energy and energy savings, tackling climate change, protecting the environment and boosting the islands' eco-tourism credentials. 

One Seychelles, le dernier parti politique, à s'enregistrer auprès de la Commission électorale des Seychelles

One Seychelles - dirigé par l’ancien ministre du Tourisme des Seychelles, Alain St Ange, a remis mercredi les documents officiels pour l’enregistrement de son parti à la Commission électorale. «Aujourd'hui, c’est un moment important pour les Seyche
Seychelles News Agency

One Seychelles, le dernier parti politique, à s'enregistrer auprès de la Commission électorale des Seychelles

One Seychelles - dirigé par l’ancien ministre du Tourisme des Seychelles, Alain St Ange, a remis mercredi les documents officiels pour l’enregistrement de son parti à la Commission électorale. «Aujourd'hui, c’est un moment important pour les Seychelles, car un nouveau parti politique a remis les documents nécessaires à la commission électorale. En tant que groupe de personnes, nous avons adopté l'article 23 de notre Constitution qui confère à chaque Seychellois, le droit d’être affilié à un parti politique. Nous voulons donner le choix à chaque Seychellois », a déclaré St Ange. Le président de la Commission électoral, Danny Lucas, a déclaré aux journalistes que la Commission devra examiner les documents et les certifier. «Si nous trouvons que tout est en ordre, nous leur donnerons une date pour enregistrer officiellement le parti», a déclaré Lucas. Il a ajouté qu'habituellement, la Commission dispose d'un délai d'un mois pour fixer la date d'enregistrement d'un parti politique. St Ange a dit que son parti prendra part à toutes les élections, qui seront organisées, et notamment à l’élection présidentielle. (One Seychelles) Photo License: CC-BY Lors du lancement officiel du parti en avril, St Ange a déclaré que One Seychelles disposait d'un plan d'action en cinq points qui visait à relancer l'économie de l'île, à créer des emplois et à transformer la vie de la population. St Ange a dit que son parti prendra part à toutes les élections, qui seront organisées, et notamment à l’élection présidentielle. « Je ne sais pas qui sera notre candidat, car c’est le parti qui décidera » a précisé St Ange à la SNA. Du côté de l’opposition seychelloise, Wavel Ramkalawan, de Linyon Demokratik Seselwa, LDS, a déjà fait savoir qu’il soumettra sa candidature lors du prochain congrès de son parti. Le président Danny Faure a également soumis sa candidature à son parti le United Seychelles. La Commission électorale des Seychelles est l'organe qui organise, supervise et réglemente les élections dans la nation insulaire. Il est également responsable de l'enregistrement des partis politiques aux Seychelles, un groupe de 115 îles de l'Océan Indien occidental. À ce jour, il y a 11 partis politiques enregistrés, selon la Commission électorale. L’élection présidentielle et législative aux Seychelles ont lieu tous les cinq ans. La prochaine élection présidentielle est prévue pour 2020. La dernière élection présidentielle s'est tenue en décembre 2015 et le candidat du parti au pouvoir, Lepep - James Michel - a remporté le vote avec 50,15% des voix.

Uganda confirms Ebola case as virus spreads from DRCongo

A five-year-old boy is being treated for Ebola in Uganda, the first case since a deadly outbreak in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo 10 months ago, Health Minister Ruth Aceng said Tuesday. Uganda has been on high alert since the outbreak across a po
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Uganda confirms Ebola case as virus spreads from DRCongo

A five-year-old boy is being treated for Ebola in Uganda, the first case since a deadly outbreak in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo 10 months ago, Health Minister Ruth Aceng said Tuesday. Uganda has been on high alert since the outbreak across a porous border in the eastern DRC, where more than 2,000 cases of the highly contagious virus have been recorded, two-thirds of which have been fatal. «An Ebola case has been confirmed positive,» Aceng told AFP. She said the patient was a boy who had travelled with his family from the western Ugandan town of Kasese to the Democratic Republic of Congo for a funeral, and fell sick upon his return. «The boy has been taken into isolation unit as have other family members for monitoring. He is receiving treatment,» she said. The World Health Organisation confirmed the highly contagious virus had spread to Uganda, in its second-worst outbreak ever. «The Ministry of Health and WHO have dispatched a Rapid Response Team to Kasese to identify other people who may be at risk, and ensure they are monitored and provided with care if they also become ill,» the WHO said in a statement. According to the WHO, Uganda vaccinated nearly 4,700 health workers in 165 facilities with an experimental drug designed to protect them against the virus. Uganda has experienced several outbreaks in the past, most recently in 2012, while in 2000 more than 200 people died in an outbreak in the north of the country. - Battle against virus - The DRC has struggled to contain the outbreak which was first recorded in North Kivu province on August 1 and then spread to neighbouring Ituri and has left over 1,300 dead. Efforts to tackle the crisis have been hampered both by militia attacks on treatment centres and by the hostility of some local people to the medical teams. Five workers have been killed, according to an AFP tally, and important preventative work, such as vaccination programmes and burials of Ebola victims, has been delayed. The outbreak is the 10th in Democratic Republic of Congo since the disease was identified in 1976. It is the worst on record after an epidemic that struck Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone between 2014-2016, leaving more than 11,300 people dead. «It is clear the current response to tackle Ebola isn’t working. No matter how effective treatment is, if people don't trust or understand it, they will not use it,» Oxfam's director for the DRC, Corinne N'Daw, said last week. «Our teams are still meeting people on a daily basis who don’t believe Ebola is real... many cases are going unnoticed because people with symptoms have been avoiding treatment.» Ebola is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads among humans though close contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected person. Chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines can also become infected, and humans who kill and eat these animals can catch the virus through them. Symptoms include high fever, intense muscle and joint pain, headaches and a sore throat which are often followed by vomiting and diarrhoea, skin eruptions, kidney and liver failure, internal and external bleeding. At present there is no licenced drug to prevent or treat Ebola although a range of experimental drugs are in development and thousands have been vaccinated in the DRC and some neighbouring countries. The average fatality rate from Ebola is around 50 percent, varying from 25 to 90 percent, according to the WHO. © Agence France-Presse

One Seychelles, island nation's newest political party, files registration papers with Electoral Commission

A new political party -- One Seychelles -- headed by Seychelles’ former tourism minister, Alain St Ange, presented documents of registration to the Electoral Commission Wednesday. The electoral commissioner, Danny Lucas, told reporters that the Commissio
Seychelles News Agency

One Seychelles, island nation's newest political party, files registration papers with Electoral Commission

A new political party -- One Seychelles -- headed by Seychelles’ former tourism minister, Alain St Ange, presented documents of registration to the Electoral Commission Wednesday. The electoral commissioner, Danny Lucas, told reporters that the Commission will have to go over the documents and certify them. “If we find that all is in order, we will give a date to formally register the party. But if some documents are not in order we will contact the party leader to see if they can be put into order according to the requirements needed to register a political party,” said Lucas. He added that usually, the Commission has within one month to give a date to register any political party. For the party to be registered some documents such as the logo, colour of the party, a manifesto, and at least 100 signatures from eligible voters endorsing the party need to be in order. The Electoral Commission of Seychelles is the body that organises, oversees and regulates political elections in the island nation. It is also in charge of registering political parties in Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean. To date, there are 11 registered political parties, according to the Electoral Commission.   “Today is an important moment for Seychelles as a new political party has handed over its necessary documents to the Electoral Commission. As a group of people, we have taken article 23 of our Constitution that gives the right to every Seychellois to be affiliated with any political party. We want to give a choice to every Seychellois,” said St Ange. One Seychelles was launched in April. (One Seychelles) Photo License: CC-BY He added that the Party will present its programme on what it has to offer to the people of Seychelles. St Ange said that he has been asked what immediate thing the party will bring to the island nation and his respond is that it will focus on the welfare of the Seychellois people. In the official launching of the party in April, St Ange said One Seychelles has a five-point action plan which focuses on reviving the island’s economy, help create job opportunities and transform the lives of the people. Presidential and legislative elections in Seychelles are held every five years. The next presidential election is due in 2020. The last presidential election was held in December 2015 and the candidate of the ruling Parti Lepep -- James Michel -- won with 50.15 percent of the vote. 

With eye on its most important market, tourism leaders in Seychelles study European standards, expectations

Tourism partners in Seychelles learned more about European standards, expectations and laws in a workshop Tuesday that focused on the island nation's most important market of sunshine-seeking holiday-makers. The ‘European Laws and Expectation Workshop
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With eye on its most important market, tourism leaders in Seychelles study European standards, expectations

Tourism partners in Seychelles learned more about European standards, expectations and laws in a workshop Tuesday that focused on the island nation's most important market of sunshine-seeking holiday-makers. The ‘European Laws and Expectation Workshop’ was organised by the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) in partnership with SeyVillas at Eden Bleu. As an online tour operator in the European market since 2011, SeyVillas shared details aimed at keeping tourism professional abreast of new practices within the European market. Representatives of tourism establishments and Destination Management Companies (DMCs) were guided on how to improve quality standards, the expectation of European clients, how to avoid complaints and handle unsatisfied clients. Cancellation policy, complaints and construction work, double bookings, changes of conditions after a booking and data privacy were some of the European regulations touched upon.  “The workshop covered a topic of demand within the industry and which has important elements that people within our industry need to be aware of. Nowadays, ignorance of the law is not an excuse when something happens,” said Sherin Francis, STB’s chief executive. During the workshop, the managing director of SeyVillas, Julian Grupp, explained that though Seychelles is not part of the European jurisdiction, European laws impact the island nation indirectly through tour operators. Participants were guided on how to improve quality standards, the expectation of European clients, how to avoid complaints and handle unsatisfied clients. (Joena Meme) Photo License: CC-BY He said most clients hailing from Europe make their booking through tour operators, and with this in mind, “the tour operations in the contracts with the properties are regulating this kind of condition.” “In terms of warranty and liability, they refer to this regulation when it comes to working together,” said Grupp. The workshop comprised of an educational part about the new provisions within European travel law and the importance of managing expectations and complaints of clients. “We felt that it is important for the people within the industry to understand the changes that have taken place and the implications. This has to do greatly with complaints being brought forward by clients, to know and understand what they can and cannot claim,” said Francis. She added that it is also important for establishments to have a system in place that deals with knowing and managing expectations of their clients while making reservations. It was also outlined that there must also be a system in place to deal with complaints and feedback of clients even before they leave an establishment. Nicole St. Ange, the Public Relations manager at Mason’s Travel, a local Destination Management Company, said that changes made last year within the European law reflect on local tour operators. “It is quite concerning because there are so many things that are out of your control. Prevention is key, but the number one step is being informed about it and this is a great platform that STB and SeyVillas have organised because it allows everyone to know exactly where they stand,” said St. Ange. A workshop session for trade partners on Praslin and La Digue – the second and third most populated islands of Seychelles, respectively - will be held on June 13 on Praslin. After the sessions are complete, information from the workshops will be available on the STB website. Tourism is the top contributor to the economy of Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.

An a-c-h-i-e-v-e-m-e-n-t for a Seychellois student that the dictionary says is “worthy of respect”

It was a ‘considerable’ achievement for 10-year-old Anand Pandian.  Anand won the second edition of the Spelling Bee Competition organised in Seychelles on Sunday by spelling the 12-letter word that means “rather large or great in size, distance; wo
Seychelles News Agency

An a-c-h-i-e-v-e-m-e-n-t for a Seychellois student that the dictionary says is “worthy of respect”

It was a ‘considerable’ achievement for 10-year-old Anand Pandian.  Anand won the second edition of the Spelling Bee Competition organised in Seychelles on Sunday by spelling the 12-letter word that means “rather large or great in size, distance; worthy of respect extent, etc.: It cost a considerable amount of skill.” In the spelling bee competition, contestants were asked to spell a broad selection of words, usually with a varying degree of difficulty. Its purpose is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabulary, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage. Anand, a pupil of Mont Fleuri Primary School, won $109, a tablet and a certificate. The same prize went to the first runner up, Gabriella Havelock of Perseverance Primary. The same prize went to the first runner up, Gabriella Havelock of Perseverance Primary. (Thomas Meriton) Photo License: CC-BY Aimed at encouraging students to explore and study the English language and its roots, the national competition was organised by the Seychelles Centennial Women Lions Club in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development. “This year the standard is higher than that of last year as the competition was tougher. Pupils were better prepared as compared to last year when we first hosted the competition. Pupils were not sure of what to expect,” said Brigitte Labonte, the event coordinator. A total of 52 contestants between nine to eleven years from all state schools across the country, including Independent and International School participated this year. Labonte said that for this edition, the pupils worked closely with their teachers and parents. The competition also lasted longer as pupils spelt more words than last year. Schools in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, are encouraged to hold their own spelling bee competition, from which the two best candidates are entered as contestants for the national contest. Labonte said that the national competition is based on the Scripps Spelling Bee, a competition organised in the United States since 1925. “The words being spelt in the US are much more advanced than what we in Seychelles are spelling. Each country organising a spelling bee has its own rules and ways of doing things, and base the spelling bee on the level of the pupils,” explained Labonte. She added that “there is a possibility that the two best candidates of the national competition in Seychelles can participate on an international level. For this to happen, we will need to do some networking with holders of competitions internationally.” The competition in Seychelles is expected to take place on a yearly basis. The organisers also hope to bring the spelling bee to secondary schools.

Botswana scraps anti-gay laws in landmark decision

Botswana's High Court ruled Tuesday in favour of decriminalising homosexuality, handing down a landmark verdict greeted with joy by gay rights campaigners. Under the country's 1965 penal code, homosexuality is punishable by a jail term of up to seven years.
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Botswana scraps anti-gay laws in landmark decision

Botswana's High Court ruled Tuesday in favour of decriminalising homosexuality, handing down a landmark verdict greeted with joy by gay rights campaigners. Under the country's 1965 penal code, homosexuality is punishable by a jail term of up to seven years. But Judge Michael Elburu declared it was time to «set aside» the «provisions of a Victorian era» and ordered the laws be amended. In a courtroom packed with activists, the judge declared that the current laws oppressed a minority of the population. «There's nothing reasonable in discriminating,» he said. «We say the time has come that private, same sexuality must be decriminalised.» «It is a variety of human sexuality,» he said. Jubilation erupted in the courtroom as the decision was announced, with some campaigners kissing, while others applauded or waved the rainbow flag -- a symbol of gay rights. «We are making history so that people may know who they are and express their feelings, express love because God talks about love,» an ecstatic Thabo Otukile told AFP outside the court. In Geneva, the UN agency UNAIDS added to the applause. «This is a historic ruling for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Botswana,» Gunilla Carlsson, UNAIDS' executive director, said in a statement. «It restores privacy, respect and dignity to the country's LGBT people, and it is a day to celebrate pride, compassion and love.» - 'Groundbreaking' ruling - Activists had launched the legal battle after the Home Affairs ministry rejected an application to register the Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) organisation. The main applicant, identified only by initials LM for security reasons, challenged sections 164 and 167 of the penal code. LEGABIBO chief Anna Mmolai-Chalmers was overwhelmed by the outcome saying it was the culmination of «twenty years hard work» and signalled «the end of the exclusion». «For a lot of us it has not sunk in,» she said. In March, the court postponed a ruling on the issue, sparking fears that the much-awaited decision could be delayed indefinitely. But on Tuesday, Judge Elburu stressed that the country's highest judicial body took the matter seriously. «Sexual orientation is human, it's not a question of fashion,» he said. «The question of private morality should not be the concerns of the law.» Anneke Meerkotter, of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), described the judgement as «groundbreaking», adding that it allows LGBT rights to be protected under the charter. «Culture cannot be excused to violate constitutional rights. The judgment showed the world how it can be done,» she said. But for president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Botswana, Jobe Koosimile, the ruling was an «unfortunate» one because «the bible says homosexuality is sin.» «There is a decline of morals, this is not only about bedroom life because it affects the whole behaviour of a human being, our values and morals as Botswana.» - International resonance - Last month, Kenya's High Court upheld laws against same-sex relations, dealing a blow to activists campaigning to roll back anti-gay laws and stigma which are widespread in Africa. Many Kenyans hailed the Botswana decision on social media saying it gave them hope for their country. «As a queer activist in Kenya, after the disappointment of #Repeal162 ruling, the #Repeal164 ruling is the turbo charge my engine needed to continue the fight. Congratulations to all LGBTI in Botswana, in Africa,» Kenyan activist Gigi Louisa tweeted. At present 28 out of 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Botswana, have laws penalising same-sex relationships, according to Human Rights Watch. The death penalty is on the books, under sharia, in Mauritania, Sudan and northern Nigeria, although there have been no known executions in recent times. In southern Somalia, gay men are believed to have been put to death in territory ruled by the Al Shabaab jihadist group. However, Angola, Mozambique and Seychelles have scrapped anti-gay laws in recent years. Rights groups say many laws punishing homosexuality in Africa date from the colonial area. Even in countries where they are not implemented, their existence on the statute books entrenches discrimination and encourages harassment. - AIDS fight - UNAIDS said decriminalisation would help the fight against AIDS. The large southern African country has a population of only 2.3 million, but is struggling with one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world. According to UNAIDS figures, 22.8 percent of adults aged between 15 and 49 in Botswana are living with the AIDS virus. Outreach worker Thato Game Tsie said scrapping the anti-gay laws would help the community access health care and treatment more easily. «There are many services we require as gay men that some nurses are not aware of, and if we go to a government hospital there will be those negative comments said to you,» Game Tsie told AFP. «So we just want to be free to access these services.» Legal and political steps in favour of liberalisation had come before Tuesday's historic decision. In 2016 the country's appeals court ruled that the government was wrong to refuse to register an organisation representing homosexuals and other minority sexual groups. Last December, President Mokgweetsi Masisi addressed a meeting on gender-based violence, saying there are «many people of same sex relationships in this country who have been violated and have also suffered in silence». «Just like other citizens, they deserve to have their rights protected,» he said. © Agence France-Presse

Canada to ban single-use plastics from 2021

Canada will ban single-use plastics from 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday, declaring it a «global challenge» to phase out the plastic bags, straws and cutlery clogging the world's oceans. «I am very pleased to announce t
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Canada to ban single-use plastics from 2021

Canada will ban single-use plastics from 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday, declaring it a «global challenge» to phase out the plastic bags, straws and cutlery clogging the world's oceans. «I am very pleased to announce that as early as 2021, Canada will ban harmful, single-use plastics from coast to coast,» Trudeau said, arguing Canada has a unique chance to lead the fight against plastic pollution as the country with the world's longest coastlines. Less than 10 percent of plastics used in Canada are currently recycled, he said. Each year, a million birds and more than 100,000 marine mammals worldwide are injured or killed by becoming entangled in plastic or ingesting it through the food chain. Single-use items represent about 70 percent of the plastic waste littering the marine environment. Straws, plastic bags, cutlery, plates and stir sticks would be among the items banned, a government statement said. The list will be refined based on further scientific research between now and 2021. Trudeau said it is «tough» trying to explain the problem to his own children. «How do you explain dead whales washing up on beaches around the world, their stomachs jam-packed with plastic bags?» he said. The environmental group Greenpeace called the government's announcement «the first step» but said ultimately Canada needs to move towards phasing out a wider array of «all non-essential plastics.» It called for quick action «so this announcement isn't a single-use election promise.» The environment is shaping up as an issue in Canadian legislative elections set for October. Trudeau's chief rival, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, dismissed the government measure as «another gesture without a plan, without any kind of specifics on how this would be implemented, or any kind of study on the impact on prices for consumers, on jobs, on how this would affect the small businesses.» If he wins the election, Scheer vows to roll back environmental protections, including a federal carbon tax and a tanker traffic ban along a pristine part of the Pacific coast. - 'The entire life-cycle' - In Canada's largest city, Toronto, many residents endorsed the government's move. «I think it's stupid to have a straw for five minutes for a latte or whatever and then it goes in the ocean. I mean come on, give me a break. This is not necessary,» a man who gave his name as John said. «If it is banned, we are going to learn» how to deal with it, «for future generations,» said Evelyn, another resident. Trudeau said producers of other plastics -- such as bottles or food packaging -- will be held responsible for «the entire life-cycle» of their products. Both plastic manufacturers and the companies using their products, as in packing materials, will have to provide recycling plans. Canada, France, Germany, Britain and Italy, along with the European Union, subscribed at last year's G7 summit in Quebec to a new charter against pollution in the world's oceans. The United States and Japan did not join the pact. The non-binding Ocean Plastics Charter called on participating countries and the EU to commit to making all plastics reusable, recyclable or recovered by 2030. A total of 21 governments have by now taken that pledge, Trudeau said. In addition, the EU earlier this year passed legislation to ban single-use plastic products starting in 2021. - 'A national solution' - Several Canadian cities already ban the use of plastic bags and some provinces have banned other products. But Trudeau said a «national solution» was needed. «Every year, Canadians throw away over three million tons of plastic waste,» he said in a statement. «This represents up to $8 billion per year in lost value and wastes valuable resources and energy.» Recycling would not only cut down on pollution but would help produce 42,000 jobs in the recycling and recovery businesses, the prime minister said. While Trudeau has declared it a top priority, a recent parliamentary report concluded Canada is doing too little to combat climate change, even as government scientists warned the country was warming at twice the global rate. © Agence France-Presse

Seychelles Postal Services unveils new customer care service, SMS booking service and souvenir shop

The Seychelles Postal Services has launched new services in line with its modernization programme to keep up with customer demands. The post office on Saturday opened its new Customer Care Centre for comments and suggestions, and a Philatelic Souvenir &
Seychelles News Agency

Seychelles Postal Services unveils new customer care service, SMS booking service and souvenir shop

The Seychelles Postal Services has launched new services in line with its modernization programme to keep up with customer demands. The post office on Saturday opened its new Customer Care Centre for comments and suggestions, and a Philatelic Souvenir & Gift Shop. And to better manage the increasing amount of parcels and packages that the Seychelles Postal Services deal with, a new SMS booking service for the collection of parcels was launched. “The new developments at the Seychelles Postal Services and those to come later will ensure continuity to improve the delivery of services to the public. For the past months the post office had to deal with many complaints from the public regarding delays in receiving their items,” said the chief executive of the services, Errol Dias. The post office on Saturday opened its new Customer Care Centre for comments and suggestions, and a Philatelic Souvenir & Gift Shop. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY Alex Etienne, the Deputy Chief Executive, explained the changes happening will benefit both clients and staff of Seychelles Postal Services. “For instance, the Customer Service Centre will give us the opportunity to better understand the expectation of clients and thus help us to deliver a better service. Etienne added that with an advanced digital and technical world, expectations grow and the post office has to adapt itself to meet those expectations. “We will be offering a parcel management system where clients will get updated track details of their incoming parcels. This system will work parallel with a new booking system, with number 9646 via the SMS, for clients to collect their parcels,” explained Etienne. This will help to reduce the amount of time people have to wait in long queues for their small packets and parcels. Available for purchase in the new shop is a wide variety of artefacts made in Seychelles (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY The Philatelic Souvenir & Gift Shop is located in an area which is more spacious and now offers a wider range of items for sale. The opening of the shop is in preparation for the revamping of the website, where through its e-commerce service, clients will be able to purchase products from the gift shop online. Available for purchase in the new shop is a wide variety of artefacts made in Seychelles – 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean - including paintings by local artists, postcards, Orizinal Kreol branded goods as well as the endemic coco de mer. During Saturday’s event, the newly recruited community representatives were introduced. They will be assisting the Seychelles Postal Services to deliver mails within their communities. “I work half day with the district authority and I saw the opportunity as part-time with the post office as the chance to earn additional income,” Anne Henriette told SNA. Henriette – a resident of the southern district of Port Glaud – added ‘’that this is another way to keep fit,” as the former sportswoman is no longer actively engaged in sports. The community representative from the eastern district of Roche Caiman, Carol Dubel, said that she decided to join the post office as she knows her community. “Staff of the post office often comes to the district administration office to get directions. And most of the time I get to deliver letters that the postal workers do not know where the recipients live.  So now it is a matter of formalizing what I was already doing,” said Dubel. 

Iran warns over 'economic war' waged through US sanctions

Iran's foreign minister warned Monday of the consequences of waging «economic war» against the Islamic republic through US sanctions, saying those conducting and supporting it could not expect to «remain safe». «One cannot expec
Seychelles News Agency

Iran warns over 'economic war' waged through US sanctions

Iran's foreign minister warned Monday of the consequences of waging «economic war» against the Islamic republic through US sanctions, saying those conducting and supporting it could not expect to «remain safe». «One cannot expect an economic war to continue against the Iranian people and that those waging this war and those supporting it remain safe,» Mohammad Javad Zarif said at a joint news conference in Tehran with his German counterpart Heiko Maas. «The only way to decrease tensions in the region is to stop the economic war,» he added, noting Germany and the European Union could have an «important role» to play in defusing the situation. Iran signed a landmark nuclear accord with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States in 2015, leading to sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme. But the US administration of President Donald Trump has imposed sweeping sanctions on Iran and, according to Tehran, waged an «economic war» against it after walking away from the deal. Germany's visiting foreign minister said his country would do its utmost to ensure tensions do not escalate. «There is war in Syria and in Yemen, fortunately not here,» Maas said. «We want to do everything we can to keep it that way» for Iran. «Nevertheless, the tensions here in the region are worrying, and we fear that single events can trigger developments that end in violence, and we want to prevent this under all circumstances.» Maas met Zarif in Tehran, and both said they discussed the future of the nuclear pact and regional issues, although their news conference appeared tense and they appeared to agree on little. «We had a serious, frank and rather long discussion,» Zarif said. Ahead of their meeting, Maas acknowledged the economic benefits Tehran hoped for from the deal were now «more difficult to obtain» but urged Iran to fully respect the it. Iran's President Hassan Rouhani also met Maas and called on the Europeans to «undertake concrete and serious actions» to «safeguard» the agreement, according to a statement from his office. - 'We aren't impressed' - The US sanctions reimposed last year targeted crucial parts of Iran's economy, especially the oil and banking sectors. Even as Trump says he is open to talks, his administration ramped up pressure further last week by targeting Iran's petrochemical industry. Reacting to Zarif's remarks, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said: «We aren't impressed.» «Making threats using nuclear blackmail and terrorizing other nations is typical behavior for the revolutionary regime in Tehran,» she told reporters in Washington. «Iran faces a simple choice. It can either behave like a normal country or watch its economy crumble,» she said. Maas said the nuclear deal was «extraordinarily important» for Europe's security but acknowledged limited options to support it. «We will not work miracles. But we are doing all we can to prevent a failure,» Maas said. «The summary of Maas' remarks: we are nothing without America and are not capable of doing anything, do not expect much from us,» Abdollah Ganji, the managing director of ultra-conservative Javan daily, wrote mockingly on Telegram after the ministers' meeting. The oil embargo has hurt Iran's main supply of foreign revenues, while the banking sanctions have scared away foreign investors and made money transfers through official channels nearly impossible for businesses. Europe tried to respond to the US withdrawal by setting up a special trade mechanism called INSTEX that would allow legitimate trade with Iran to continue without falling foul of US sanctions, but it has yet to become operational. Iran has given Europe, China and Russia until July «to make their commitments operational». Otherwise Tehran said it would stop complying with the nuclear deal's uranium enrichment restrictions and resume building a heavy-water reactor at Arak that was shut down as part of the deal. - Rising tensions - The Gulf has been tense for weeks over increased strain between Iran and the United States on one hand, and the Islamic republic and US allies like Saudi Arabia on the other. The tensions worsened after the US military announced it was dispatching reinforcements to the Middle East in response to alleged «Iranian threats» as well as the sabotage of four ships at the entrance to the Gulf on May 12. Washington and Riyadh have accused Tehran of being behind those attacks, a charge it has dismissed as «laughable». An international investigation found a «state actor» was likely to have been responsible for the attacks. The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday it was «worried about increasing tensions» over Iran's nuclear programme. IAEA chief Yukiya Amano also said Iran's «production rate (of uranium) is increasing», although he was unable to give an exact figure. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the IAEA's assessment in a statement later, saying his country «will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons that threaten our existence and endanger the entire world». © Agence France-Presse

Training session shows artists how to make what tourists in Seychelles like to buy

Straw hats, beachwear and jewellery are some of the items artisans in Seychelles learned to make from scratch in a four-day workshop organised in the island nation last week. The aim of the workshop held from 28-31 May at the Seychelles Distance and Open Lea
Seychelles News Agency

Training session shows artists how to make what tourists in Seychelles like to buy

Straw hats, beachwear and jewellery are some of the items artisans in Seychelles learned to make from scratch in a four-day workshop organised in the island nation last week. The aim of the workshop held from 28-31 May at the Seychelles Distance and Open Learning Centre was to show artisans how to make use of raw materials to produce resort wear that appeals to tourists. Around 10 local artisans learned production techniques such as sewing, tailoring, and dyeing cloth to make finished products in the craft segment of the workshop organised by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the international brand Phemke. Speaking at the workshop, the founder and director of Phemke, Femke Speelman, said that there is a big need in terms of resources and hospitality in Seychelles. “Yet there are numerous skills and art forms here in Seychelles that can be tapped into. Visitors want products that are made locally, and I gave a platform for artisans to show what they can do,” she added. Director of Phemke, Femke Speelman (centre) with the participants of the workshop. (Marivel Media) Photo License: CC-BY The event was made possible through the coordination of the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Foundation (SSTF), a non-governmental organisation promoting sustainable practices through culture, environment protection, and tourism best practice. “We ensured there was a space for the workshop to be held, reached out to our tourism partners and artisans, and brought some of the materials being used, such as cloth, straw, string, and others,” said the organisation’s project coordinator, Rossetta Alcindor. The products made will be displayed and on sale at hotel boutiques and in other tourism establishments to help boost the local economy and support traditional craftsmanship. One of the workshop participants, Gemma Dubel, owns her own store and has some experience in retail but was excited for the opportunity of creating her own products and tap into a larger market. “It’s challenging for us as artisans to get raw materials to work with or to know where to sell. Femke is showing us also how to market our products and she will be helping us in the sales too. I am happy for the opportunity to be able to reach a wider audience,” said Dubel. Dubel was excited for the opportunity of creating her own products and tap into a larger market. (Marivel Media) Photo License: CC-BY  Speelman said she will be creating the link between hotel managers and boutique owners and the artisans. She will also be tapping into her already existing network that Phemke has on the international scene to assist the artisans in their product sales. “Once artisans have developed enough products to be sold, either I or one of my team members will return to Seychelles to discuss a way forward for sales of items, quality control, and pricing,” she said.   Details such as branding, logistics, demand and supply, and style will be determined as well. The key is for the supply of products to the tourism market to create fair wages for women making these retail products. The training of local artisans is to help reduce the dependence on tourism by promoting the development of small scale manufacturing. Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, relies on tourism which is the top contributor to its economy. The long term goals of this initiative is preserving traditional craftsmanship, involving communities, empowering local women in supporting gender equality and having a sustainable retail offer which reduces the contribution to landfill. Phemke has successfully worked with women in countries like Madagascar, the UAE, Maldives, and Oman to create elegant resort wear that supports women artisans through training and fair wages for their products. 

World Oceans Day: Seychellois women encouraged to dive deeper into sea work

Seychellois women are being encouraged to take a more active role in the ownership of oceans this June 8, World Oceans Day, which this year carries with it a gender-equality dimension. Some in the island nation feel that women are not taking up opportunitie
Seychelles News Agency

World Oceans Day: Seychellois women encouraged to dive deeper into sea work

Seychellois women are being encouraged to take a more active role in the ownership of oceans this June 8, World Oceans Day, which this year carries with it a gender-equality dimension. Some in the island nation feel that women are not taking up opportunities that exist with such innovations as blue bonds and blue grants. “There are not a lot of women in the blue economy. We need to develop a programme to generate interest and startups with monetary initiatives such as seed capital, targeting only women, but specifically identifying areas interesting to women,” said Marie Celine Zialor - the head of the Entrepreneurship Centre at the Guy Morel Institute. Zialor suggested that an incubation programme and additional education for women could help more females enter the sector.  World Oceans Day this year is seen as an opportunity to explore the gender dimension of humankind’s relationship with the ocean. The traditionally male-dominated fisheries industry holds great potential for women. (SOCOMEP) Photo License: All Rights Reserved According to the United Nation’s website, “this year, we strive to build greater ocean and gender literacy, and to discover possible ways to promote gender equality in ocean-related activities such as marine scientific research, fisheries, labour at sea, migration by sea and human trafficking, as well as policy-making and management.” “The importance of gender equality — in particular for the effective conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources — is increasingly recognised. The empowerment of women and girls is still needed in all ocean-related sectors to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 5.” Whilst Seychellois women are yet to be equal partners as drivers of the blue economy, they are very active in the protection and conservation of the ocean. Earlier this year environmental volunteers collected approximately 25 tonnes of waste that washed ashore on nine remote islands where the first-ever-large-scale clean-up took place. The Ocean Project Seychelles, a not for profit organization, was involved in this initiative headed by Karine Rassool,  a senior economist with the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA). Information provided by the SFA shows that only a handful of Seychellois women are currently involved in fisheries. Twenty-four women are registered as boat owners, whilst five are involved in fishing commercially. Isabella Houareau, the managing director of SOCOMEP, has fully taken the opportunity the sector has to offer. “In the past 10 years at SOCOMEP, I have developed a particular interest in encouraging the participation of women in this sector. I believe that gender equality is of vital importance to the healthy productivity of a business,” said Houareau. Isabella Houareau, the managing director of SOCOMEP, has fully taken the opportunity the sector has to offer. (Isabella Houareau) Photo License: All Rights Reserved SOCOMEP’s growth in recent years is an example of the raising participation of women in the sector. “In 2008, the workforce comprised of 15 employees, with only one woman in the administrative field.  Today, SOCOMEP employs 96 staff, of which 50 percent are women - spread across all areas of the company,” further explained Houareau. SOCOMEP provides quality and quantity control services for the tuna purse seiner fleet and reefer vessels discharging in Port Victoria, Seychelles – 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean - as well as other regional ports. The company also operates a laboratory for the analysis of tuna. “The traditionally male-dominated fisheries industry holds great potential for women. This is a fast-growing industry and one which brings many challenges and opportunities for growth. The industry controls the economic health of our country and the participation of women in maritime activity is critical in harnessing the full potential of the blue economy,” concluded Houareau. 

World must make collective effort to protect oceans, President of Seychelles says in Ireland

Protecting the ocean and marine life is a collective world effort and everyone has a role to play, said the President of Seychelles, Danny Faure, at Ireland’s largest maritime festival -- SeaFest -- State House said on Sunday. At the invitation of the Iris
Seychelles News Agency

World must make collective effort to protect oceans, President of Seychelles says in Ireland

Protecting the ocean and marine life is a collective world effort and everyone has a role to play, said the President of Seychelles, Danny Faure, at Ireland’s largest maritime festival -- SeaFest -- State House said on Sunday. At the invitation of the Irish government, Faure delivered his address at the Wild Atlantic theatre in Cork city quay to representatives from other small island states like the Pacific, the Caribbean and Africa, Irish ministers and locals. “Safeguarding the oceans and marine life from climate change, acidification, overfishing, deep-sea mining, plastic pollution and other threats is a global responsibility. Much of the world’s food and half of the oxygen we breathe comes from ocean waters,” said Faure. The head of state of Seychelles added that the ocean is also the largest active carbon sink on earth, absorbing more than 25 percent of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Faure highlighted the actions Seychelles is taking to protect its marine resources through the Blue Economy roadmap. The island nation has committed 30 percent of its waters to marine protection by the end of next year. To date, Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has designated 26 percent of its territorial waters as marine protection areas under the debt for conservation finance deal with The Nature Conservancy. However, he said that more is required and that “with the right support and partners, we can do more to sustainably harness the vast ocean resources that surround us to grow our economies, and secure and improve the welfare of our people.” In presentations and a panel discussion, Faure responded to questions such as how Seychelles managed to successfully develop the 'blue bond' model and what level of education is needed to obtain public buy-in on the ocean and marine protection.    Prior to the panel discussions, the President of Seychelles and his delegation made a tour of Cork city quay with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed. This included visits on several ships including one which is part of the Irish naval force and the projects denoting innovative ways Ireland is trying to harness the ocean’s wealth. President Faure and his delegation made a tour of Cork city quay which included a visit on several ships. (State House) Photo License: CC-BY Earlier in the day, Faure attended a working lunch hosted by the Irish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tánaiste Simon Coveney, in which opportunities for greater collaboration were discussed alongside exchanges of best practices in maritime management and tackling climate change. On the first day of his visit to Ireland, Faure paid a courtesy call on the Irish President Michael D.Higgins at the Presidential Palace in Dublin. In thanking his Irish counterpart, Faure reiterated his invitation to President Higgins to visit the Seychelles. A key highlight for the Seychelles’ President was a meeting with Seychellois students who are studying at the Shannon College of Hotel Management in Ireland during a reception hosted by the Deputy Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brendan Rogers. Faure thanked the students for their presence and took the opportunity to highlight the strong ties that exist between Seychelles and Ireland which can be further cemented, for example in the field of education. Discussions on potential areas for further bilateral cooperation between Seychelles and Ireland continued over a dinner hosted by the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan.

Thousands march in Port-au-Prince to demand president's resignation

Several thousand demonstrators marched through Port-au-Prince on Sunday to demand the resignation of Haitian President Jovenel Moise over allegations of embezzlement. Led by dozens of protesters on motorcycles, the mostly youthful demonstrators filled city c
Seychelles News Agency

Thousands march in Port-au-Prince to demand president's resignation

Several thousand demonstrators marched through Port-au-Prince on Sunday to demand the resignation of Haitian President Jovenel Moise over allegations of embezzlement. Led by dozens of protesters on motorcycles, the mostly youthful demonstrators filled city center streets in a rally organized by opposition parties and civil society groups. Amid a heavy police presence, the marchers erected barricades of burning tires, and at least two buildings near the departmental police headquarters caught fire. There were also clashes near the presidential palace, but no immediate reports of injuries. «We demand that all those squandering (public) funds be tried and punished, their assets seized and turned over to the state for serious development projects, and that the president resign and turn himself in,» said Velina Charlier, a protest leader. The judges of the High Court of Auditors said in a voluminous report last week that Moise was at the center of an «embezzlement scheme» that had siphoned off Venezuelan aid money intended for road repairs. Venezuela's Petrocaribe aid program has been plagued by allegations of corruption since its establishment in 2008. The judges' report laid out a litany of examples of corruption and mismanagement. The magistrates discovered, for example, that in 2014 Haitian authorities signed contracts with two different companies -- Agritrans and Betexs -- for the same road-repair project. The two turned out to have the same tax registration number and the same personnel. Moise, before he came to power in 2017, headed Agritrans, which received more than 33 million gourdes ($700,000 at the time) to do the road work, though the company in principle did nothing but grow bananas. The Petrocaribe scandal gave rise to parliamentary inquiries in 2016 and 2017, and public protests goaded the High Court of Auditors to examine how the $1.6 billion in Venezuelan funds were spent by succeeding Haitian administrations. Opposition parties, who contested Moise's 2017 election, urged their supporters on Sunday to demonstrate peacefully. At least seven Haitians died during violent protests in February that led to the fall of the government. But no new cabinet has been appointed, no budget has been approved, and there is no certainty when legislative elections will be held. This comes amid a continuing economic crisis, with an inflation rate above 17 percent, the country's currency devalued, and many Haitians lacking basic necessities. © Agence France-Presse

A mother bird with a helper lives longer, according to study of Seychelles warblers

Female Seychelles warblers have been found to age slower and live longer when they have help raising offspring, new research conducted on Cousin Island Special Reserve shows. This finding was made during a study carried out by researchers at the University o
Seychelles News Agency

A mother bird with a helper lives longer, according to study of Seychelles warblers

Female Seychelles warblers have been found to age slower and live longer when they have help raising offspring, new research conducted on Cousin Island Special Reserve shows. This finding was made during a study carried out by researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, in collaboration with the universities of Leeds, Sheffield and Wageningen, and Nature Seychelles. The study focused on the relationship between ageing and offspring-rearing patterns in the Seychelles warbler, who have the scientific name acrocephalus sechellensis. Results show that females of the species that had assistance from other female helpers lived a longer and healthier life. The Seychelles warbler, a small greenish-brown bird with long legs and a long slender bill, was close to extinction in the 1960s due to the introduction of predators such as rats and cats and other adverse effects of human habitation. When Cousin was turned into a nature reserve in 1968, the island became the bird’s last remaining refuge. Like other warblers, these birds feed on insects. They are territorial but grown chicks often stay with their parents to help raise subsequent broods. A professor from UEA’s School of Biological Sciences, David Richardson, said that among the Seychelles warbler the majority of helpers are female. “They assist with incubating the eggs and providing food for the chicks. This means that the parents don’t need to do as much work when they have help. We found that older dominant females really benefit from having female helpers – they lose less of their telomeres and are less likely to die in the near future,” said Richardson. He added that “this shows they are ageing slower than females without helpers. Interestingly, these older female mothers were also more likely to have female helpers.” The survival of older birds who were not assisted by helpers declined rapidly with age. Most females have one helper with very few having two or three. Data collected over 15 years on the breeding patterns of Seychelles warblers was used during the study.  “Our results suggest that for the older mothers, there are real benefits to cooperative breeding. Biologically speaking they stay ‘younger’ for longer, and they are more likely to live longer,” said Martijn Hammers, from the University of Groningen. He added that these findings may help to explain why social species that live in groups and cooperate to raise offspring, such as human, often have longer lifespans. “What we don’t know yet is why some older individuals have helpers, which enable them to live longer, and some don’t despite the obvious benefits. Further research is needed to confirm the causality of the associations we have found,” said Hammers. The Seychelles warbler now has a population of over 320 birds on Cousin, and they have since been introduced to Cousine, Aride, and Denis islands by Nature Seychelles and partnering universities. The total world population of the bird is around 2,500. 

India spends big on Maldives security

Indian leader Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated a coastal radar system and military training centre in the Maldives on Saturday, as New Delhi seeks to fend off Chinese influence in the strategically-placed nation. The Maldives, a low-lying archipelago o
Seychelles News Agency

India spends big on Maldives security

Indian leader Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated a coastal radar system and military training centre in the Maldives on Saturday, as New Delhi seeks to fend off Chinese influence in the strategically-placed nation. The Maldives, a low-lying archipelago of more than a thousand tiny coral islands south of the Indian subcontinent, straddles the world's busiest east-west maritime route. India, the country's traditional ally, had watched former strongman leader Abdulla Yameen's growing political and financial reliance on Beijing with unease. But Yameen's election loss last September has seen the new administration under President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih gravitate back to the nation's traditional benefactors in New Delhi. Modi and Solih inaugurated the training facility on Saturday, officials said, adding that both projects cost New Delhi $26 million. A joint statement said the two sides discussed the need to maintain peace and security in the Indian Ocean region. The leaders pledged to combat piracy, terrorism, organised crime and trafficking through «coordinated patrolling and aerial surveillance, exchange of information, and capacity building,» the statement said. Modi is making his second trip to the Maldives in less than seven months. The two-day visit is also Modi's first foreign visit since taking the oath of office for his second term after an emphatic election win in May. Under Modi's leadership, India earlier this year granted a $800 million line of credit to the Maldives, which remains heavily indebted to Beijing. The Indian premier next travels to neighbouring Sri Lanka, where he will hold talks with political leaders during a brief stopover. © Agence France-Presse

Seychelles government must pay to repatriate body of sailor to Iran, court rules

The government of Seychelles will bear the cost to repatriate the body of an Iranian sailor after post-mortem and embalming, the Supreme Court ruled earlier this week.   The case relates to Abed Raz, an Iranian national who died at the Seychelles Hospital
Seychelles News Agency

Seychelles government must pay to repatriate body of sailor to Iran, court rules

The government of Seychelles will bear the cost to repatriate the body of an Iranian sailor after post-mortem and embalming, the Supreme Court ruled earlier this week.   The case relates to Abed Raz, an Iranian national who died at the Seychelles Hospital on March 5h from injuries sustained when the vessel he was on, MUBARAK, caught fire and sunk in the Seychelles’ waters. The incident happened when the boat was being escorted to Port Victoria on February 17, after it had been arrested in an operation by the local police, coast guard and the Anti-Narcotics Bureau. Twelve other crew members who were not injured in the incident were deported to Iran without any charges filed against them. The case against the government was brought by Malekmohammad Balouchzheni, a businessman who is the owner of the vessel that sunk. The hearing started on May 22. The plaintiff’s counsel, Clifford Andre, told SNA they had requested that the body be repatriated to Iran for burial and that the government bear all the costs of the repatriation. This is because it was the local authorities who intercepted the vessel in international waters and escorted them to Seychelles.   Andre argued that the boat caught fire and sunk while in the custody of the defendants. In his ruling on Monday, Supreme Court Judge Gustave Dodin supported Andre’s argument and found the defendants responsible for the repatriation of Abed Raz’ body. “I, therefore, find the defendants jointly responsible for the repatriation of the body of the deceased Abed Raz to Iran and meet all the costs and logistical arrangements necessary for the repatriation,” said Justice Dodin. His ruling was welcomed by Andre who confirmed on Friday that the Seychelles Police were in the process of carrying out the court’s order. Apart from the repatriation claim, which Andre said was more pressing as the family wanted to bury their dead, he has also filed three other cases against the local authorities on behalf of his client Malekmohammad Balouchzheni. In two of the cases before the Supreme Court, he is seeking damages worth 2.3 million Seychelles rupees for the loss of life of the Iranian sailor and 1.5 million US dollars for the vessel that sunk, which he said has led to a loss of revenue for his client. The hearing started on Friday and the main witness is the Captain of the vessel, MUBARAK, Ismael Balou, who gave evidence in the matter before Judge Dodin. Andre has also filed a case before the Constitutional Court against the government for its failure to respect the men’s rights guaranteed under the law, upon their arrest. “First of all they were not taken to court and released with no charges, which is a breach of their rights to liberty. They were not informed on why they were arrested in a language they could understand which is another violation of their right”, added Andre. He added that Seychelles’ authorities did not only breach Seychellois law but that of UNCLOS (United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea) to which Seychelles is a party. The Constitutional case will start on Tuesday, June 11. The Iranian dhow was intercepted on suspicion of being involved in illegal activities.  

115 million men and boys married as children: UNICEF

An estimated 115 million boys and men worldwide were married as children, 23 million of them before the age of 15, the UN children's agency said Friday in the first ever in-depth study of child grooms. The Central African Republic has the highest prevalence
Seychelles News Agency

115 million men and boys married as children: UNICEF

An estimated 115 million boys and men worldwide were married as children, 23 million of them before the age of 15, the UN children's agency said Friday in the first ever in-depth study of child grooms. The Central African Republic has the highest prevalence of child marriage among males, at 28 percent, followed by Nicaragua at 19 percent and Madagascar at 13 percent. Data from 82 countries showed that boys are being married at high rates around the world, from sub-Saharan Africa to Latin America, South Asia and East Asia, and the Pacific. «Child grooms are forced to take on adult responsibilities for which they may not be ready, said UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore. »Early marriage brings early fatherhood, and with it added pressure to provide for a family, cutting short education and job opportunities." Worldwide, child marriage disproportionately affects girls over boys. One in five young women between the ages of 20 and 24 was married before her 18th birthday, compared to one in 30 young men. UNICEF estimates at 765 million the number of child brides and child grooms worldwide. © Agence France-Presse

Top chefs from Britain offer gastronomical treasures at Hilton properties in Seychelles

Three top chefs from London are participating in an initiative of Hilton Seychelles in which the history of the island nation is being explored through a gastronomic event called ‘A Treasure Trail of Taste’. To kick off the event - and to commemorate Lev
Seychelles News Agency

Top chefs from Britain offer gastronomical treasures at Hilton properties in Seychelles

Three top chefs from London are participating in an initiative of Hilton Seychelles in which the history of the island nation is being explored through a gastronomic event called ‘A Treasure Trail of Taste’. To kick off the event - and to commemorate Levasseur originally sailing under the British flag with fellow pirates -- Hilton Seychelles welcomed the British chefs, the Selby brothers -- Luke, Theodore and Nathaniel Selby on Wednesday. Speaking at the launch, Luke Selby said, “Nathaniel, Theo and I are greatly looking forward to our time at Hilton Seychelles and are very excited to be the first international chefs to take part in the event. We look forward to discovering what looks to be a magical place, and hoping our food and menus will sprinkle even more magical dust over these incredible properties.” The three chefs are offering five epicurean evenings at Hilton Northolme on the main island of Mahe, and at Hilton Labriz on Silhouette, the third biggest island, from June 5 to 19. The brothers will be creating five unique dining experiences for hotel guests and locals. Luke, who will be the main chef throughout the different events, is the winner of both National Chef of the Year and the Roux Scholarship in 2017 and even more recently was one of the winning competitors on BBC 2’s Great British Menu. Hilton Seychelles welcomed the British chefs, the Selby brothers -- Luke, Theodore and Nathaniel Selby on Wednesday. (Hilton Seychelles) Photo License: CC-BY Explaining the theme of the event -- ‘A Treasure Tale of Taste’ -- the general manager of Seychelles Hilton Northolme, Daniel Fabri, said that it is closely linked with the famous pirate Olivier Levasseur. Born in Calais, France in the 1690s, Levasseur also known as ‘The Buzzard or 'La Buse’ in French is said to have a fabulous treasure lies buried worth around £150 million somewhere along the north-eastern coast of Mahe. Seychelles is seen as the logical choice because it was out of the way and made up of over a hundred islands, among which the pirates could lose themselves and where countless, treacherous reefs would confound any pursuing warships. Fabri said that in the case of the initiative “the greatest treasure will be the different spices and cuisine of the Seychelles that should be explored further. There still a lot to learn in Creole cuisine.” Hilton Seychelles is partnering with the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB). The chief executive of STB, Sherin Francis, said that the project reverberates with Seychelles commitment to add value to visitor’s experience by the Seychelles rich history through cultural heritage and its cuisine.   “At the eve of the 250-year celebrations of the Settlement of Seychelles, what better way to celebrate than going back to the history of our country. It is most inspiring to have three young and prominent chefs visiting the Seychelles and bringing their savoir-faire to our aspiring Seychellois Chefs,” said Francis. A selected group from the Seychelles Tourism Academy will be shadowing the three Selby brothers. One of the top students has been chosen to work alongside Luke in the kitchen, to help prepare the final dinner at Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa on June 19. Francis hopes that the chefs “leave Seychelles with a memorable souvenir of their stay that will bring sunshine to the dishes they will be creating after this experience with us.” Hilton Seychelles has also partnered with Levasseur Rum to offer the local, artisanal spirit throughout ‘A Treasure Trail of Taste’. The local distillery creates a unique and rare blend. The collaboration between Hilton Seychelles and the Selby brothers is just the first in a series of chef collaborations for both five-star hotels. Hilton Seychelles has carefully selected and invited chefs from along Levasseur’s sailing routes across Britain, the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean, for the culinary experiences over the coming months. 

President of Seychelles to deliver keynote speech at summit on oceans in Ireland

The President of Seychelles will join other world leaders in Cork, Ireland for ‘Our Ocean Wealth Summit’ and the SeaFest -- the country’s largest maritime festival -- this weekend, State House said on Thursday. President Danny Faure will be a keynot
Seychelles News Agency

President of Seychelles to deliver keynote speech at summit on oceans in Ireland

The President of Seychelles will join other world leaders in Cork, Ireland for ‘Our Ocean Wealth Summit’ and the SeaFest -- the country’s largest maritime festival -- this weekend, State House said on Thursday. President Danny Faure will be a keynote speaker at the summit, which will take place from June 9-10. ‘Our Ocean Wealth Summit’ is Ireland’s flagship event for the marine sector and will bring together Irish and international organisations working to create innovative, sustainable solutions with global impact that drive the blue economy. This year’s summit is acknowledging the role of islands under the theme ‘Shared Voices from Small Island Nations.’ Ireland’s SeaFest, which is also taking place in Cork this weekend, is a culmination of a weeklong celebration of Ireland's rich maritime heritage. The head of state of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, will meet with the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, during his visit. From Ireland, Faure will travel to Washington D.C. in the United States to accept the National Geographic Society’s prestigious ‘Planetary Leadership Award.’ The Seychelles’ President together with former President James Michel have been nominated for the award which recognises world leaders who have successfully established globally significant protected areas. During his visit to Washington D.C. Faure will also meet with high-level officials at the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation. Faure will then proceed to New York, where he will meet the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres. Faure will be back in the office on Monday, June 17. 

Hosts France to set ball rolling against Korea as World Cup kicks off

The pressure is on France to live up to their status as one of the favourites as the host nation kick off their World Cup on Friday when they take on South Korea in the opening game before a sell-out crowd in Paris. The spotlight is shining on women's footba
Seychelles News Agency

Hosts France to set ball rolling against Korea as World Cup kicks off

The pressure is on France to live up to their status as one of the favourites as the host nation kick off their World Cup on Friday when they take on South Korea in the opening game before a sell-out crowd in Paris. The spotlight is shining on women's football as never before heading into the month-long tournament, with crowds on the up around the world and interest increasing all the time while the contenders to lift the trophy in Lyon on July 7 are plentiful. The French, captained by Lyon star Amandine Henry, will get the chance to showcase their credentials when they run out before 47,000 fans at the Parc des Princes to face the Koreans at 1900 GMT in the first match in Group A, which also contains Norway and Nigeria. Les Bleues are ranked fourth in the world and are seen as the second favourites after the holders, the United States. The country is home to Europe's leading club side, with Lyon last month winning a fourth consecutive Champions League, but the national team lost in the quarter-finals of the last World Cup, the last European Championship and the 2016 Olympics. Despite that, the president of the French Football Federation, Noel Le Graet, has set the team the objective of going all the way to the final. «That is what he said and that is what I am paid to do. If I don't fulfil that objective I will have to stand aside,» coach Corinne Diacre told sports daily L'Equipe. «We would have been disappointed if the objective was smaller. It proves that he has confidence in us. It means we are capable of doing it,» added Diacre, a former French international who previously coached Clermont in the men's second division. France's women are dreaming of matching the men, who are the reigning world champions and also won the World Cup as hosts in 1998. «I am from that 1998 generation. We want to experience the same emotions,» said Henry, one of seven Lyon players in the French squad. South Korea lost 3-0 to France in the last 16 at the 2015 World Cup in Canada and would love to reach the knockout phase again. Their star player is the midfielder Ji So-yun of Chelsea. «We need to build experience. We will try to win the game but we will have to accept the result whatever happens,» their coach, Yoon Deok-yeo, said modestly. It will be an intriguing opening game for the 24-team tournament, which will be played in nine cities across the country, with the semi-finals and final -- all sell-outs -- being played at the 58,000-seat home of Lyon. Much has been made of the fact that Lyon's Norwegian striker, Ada Hegerberg, will not be here. The inaugural women's Ballon d'Or winner, who scored a hat-trick for her club in last month's Champions League final, is at odds with her national federation and will be missed. - USA target fourth title - Nevertheless, despite that undoubted blow, organisers were pleased to announce on Thursday that more than 950,000 tickets had now been sold for the tournament, as the United States aim to lift the trophy for the fourth time. They have made headlines in the run-up to the finals due to a legal dispute with their federation as they fight for equal pay. For while their male counterparts remain also-rans internationally, the popularity of the US has been the financial motor that has driven the women's game. Their squad in France includes superstars like Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan. They begin their campaign against unfancied Thailand in Reims, in Champagne country, next Tuesday. Among the other contenders are England, who begin their bid for a first major trophy against old rivals Scotland in Nice on Sunday. Germany are also serious contenders and they open their campaign on Saturday when they play China in Rennes in Group B. Spain play South Africa later in Le Havre in the same group before Norway and Nigeria clash in Reims. © Agence France-Presse

Norway honours Seychelles’ honorary consul for work on marine security, relations

King Harald of Norway has bestowed the title of the Order of Merit to Seychellois Chrystold Chetty, the honorary consul, in recognition of the work done to further relations between Seychelles and the northern European country. According to a press statemen
Seychelles News Agency

Norway honours Seychelles’ honorary consul for work on marine security, relations

King Harald of Norway has bestowed the title of the Order of Merit to Seychellois Chrystold Chetty, the honorary consul, in recognition of the work done to further relations between Seychelles and the northern European country. According to a press statement from the Norwegian Consulate on Tuesday, the Knight Cross was presented to Chetty on Monday by the ambassador of Norway to the Seychelles, Elin Bergithe Rognlie, at the office of the Consulate in Seychelles. At the presentation ceremony, Rognlie said, “Her Majesty the King has expressed deep recognition for the work of Mr Chetty in the furtherance of the good relations and cooperation between Norway and Seychelles, especially in the area of marine security, environment and business development since 2010.” The Norwegian Order of Merit was founded by King Olav V in 1985 and is conferred on foreigners and nationals as a reward for their outstanding service in the interest of Norway. “It is really fabulous to receive the order, and I feel contented,” Chetty told SNA via email on Thursday. Chetty added that “As stated in the press release, the Royal Norwegian Government has recognised the professionalism with which I have contributed for the furtherance of cooperation between the Seychelles and Norway.” Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, established diplomatic ties in March 1983. Rognlie also noted with admiration the achievement of Chetty in humanitarian work with the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. “I have been the chairman of the Finance Commission and member of the governing board of the International Federation of the Red Cross Red Crescent for 12 years,” Chetty told SNA. The other Seychellois who received a similar Order 18 years ago is Chetty’s brother, Arnold Chetty, who was honorary consul from 1992 to 2009. The Standing Commission acts as the trustee of the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, which is the highest deliberative body of the Movement, meeting every four years. Between Conferences, the Standing Commission provides strategic guidance in the interest of all components of the Movement. 

President of Seychelles speaks on overseas voting, salary increase, politics

The President of Seychelles, Danny Faure, gave his second live press conference of the year at State House on Thursday. SNA presents an overview of the issues raised. The President’s connection with the United Seychelles Party and candidacy for the next e
Seychelles News Agency

President of Seychelles speaks on overseas voting, salary increase, politics

The President of Seychelles, Danny Faure, gave his second live press conference of the year at State House on Thursday. SNA presents an overview of the issues raised. The President’s connection with the United Seychelles Party and candidacy for the next election Faure’s response was that he had never said that he is not a member of the party. In May 2017, Faure had said that as the President of Seychelles, he will not be at the head of the Parti Lepep -- the former name of United Seychelles party. “I remain a member of the party. I am loyal to the principles of the party. I have dedicated my energy to work for the people of Seychelles,” he said. Faure added that: “I have chosen to inform the people on my stance to vie for president in the next coming election. I am waiting for the party’s congress to decide on my candidacy. I am confident. It is the people of Seychelles who are going to judge my performance and decide who is better to run the country.” Salary increase and economic performance of the country Earlier this year the government presented a five percent salary increase for public service employees before the Seychelles National Assembly to a point that the matter reached a stalemate and has been referred to the court. Faure said that the money was budgeted already and had the opposition coalition -- Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) -- understood the rationale behind the decision, the workers who qualified would have already gotten their increment. “The government has made a commitment and as soon as this matter is resolved the workers will get their increment. I don’t want to say much as the matter is now in the hands of the court,” said Faure. With regards to the economic performance, Faure said that year on year inflation has remained at two percent. “We have the Central Bank to regulate things. I can say the country’s budget and expenses are on the right track. The Seychelles’ economy is performing very well. Tourist arrival is on the increase. However Seychelles remains vulnerable to international shocks, but we can manoeuvre,” he said. Issuing of Seychellois citizenship Faure said that the National Assembly has the power to initiate legislation and change anything with regards to that. “If they want to change anything with regards to the way citizenship is being handled, the responsibility is not for the government only, any member of the National Assembly can do so,” said Faure.   He added that “we were a bit late with the revision of the Constitution. There are experts who have arrived in the country and revision of the Constitution is being done. There will be a component in the law that will allow citizenship to be revoked if someone is found to be in misconduct and putting the reputation of the country at stake.” A referendum on the voting of non-residents Faure said he has followed the different views on this subject and has decided to present it as law before the National Assembly.   “It is my wish that it is not me who takes the final decision on this matter neither the members of the National Assembly. The law that will pass will have a popular voice as it will have the direct participation of the public. It does not mean that we don’t have direction on this matter, but we want to approach things in a dynamic way,” said Faure. Future of Air Seychelles On the recent announcement of Air Mauritius flying back to Seychelles, Faure said that this has always been possible given the bilateral agreement between the two countries. “We can’t tell Air Mauritius not to fly to Seychelles. They had stopped, but now they want to come back as they feel that this is the appropriate time. However our national career airline will keep a close eye on this development,” he said Military presence on Assumption Island Commenting on the latest development with regards to the Assumption island, Faure said that what is going around this subject is just rumours. “All that is being said in terms of a military base being built on the island so far are just rumours. We only have two soldiers on the island. If there is any development on the island we will be the first to tell the people,” said Faure. On the question on holding a referendum for people to decide on this issues, the President said since there will be no military base there is no need for a referendum. Appointment on the Truth, Reconciliation and National Unity Commission Asked why a non-Seychellois has been appointed as the head of the Commission Faure said that he has been taken to court for that matter. “I don’t want to enter much into this subject, I wanted to let the court decide.  I wanted to say that this is the first committee of this sort. It will be dealing with sensitive issues. We are a small country. We all know each other. It is in my judgment that if we want to do it well, we need to do it that way. But the court will decide,” said Faure.  The presidential visit to Saudi Arabia His visit was condemned by the local Association of Media practitioners (AMPS) following the death of Saudi Arabian Journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. Faure said he an official invitation from the king. “On my visit, we discussed cooperation and relationship with a small country like Seychelles. Saudi Arabia has helped Seychelles in many aspects. They have loaned Seychelles money to build schools. It is a country that has helped many countries. I do not enter into any country’s internal affairs,” he said. 

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