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African Union regrets 'external interference' in Libya

The African Union's High Level Committee on Libya has expressed concern at «outside interference» in the besieged country and proposed the creation of a special joint UN and AU envoy. «The Committee expressed its deep concern over continue

Nelson Mandela statue unveiled in Seychelles’ Peace Park on South African icon’s birthday

A three-metre bronze statue of Nelson Mandela was unveiled at the Seychelles’ Peace Park in Victoria on Thursday in honour of the universally beloved South African president. “Nelson Mandela is an iconic figure in the world, with values, way of living, a
Seychelles News Agency

Nelson Mandela statue unveiled in Seychelles’ Peace Park on South African icon’s birthday

A three-metre bronze statue of Nelson Mandela was unveiled at the Seychelles’ Peace Park in Victoria on Thursday in honour of the universally beloved South African president. “Nelson Mandela is an iconic figure in the world, with values, way of living, and ideals that he wanted the world to follow such as peace and reconciliation. Due to this, we found it fitting to have his statue in our peace park,” said Cecile Kalebi, the principal secretary for culture. The statue was unveiled by Seychelles’ president, Danny Faure, and the daughter of Nelson Mandela, Zenani Mandela Dlamini, on July 18, coinciding with the anniversary of the birth of the former and late South African President. “This is a special and momentous occasion. Today the people of this beautiful island nation join all South Africans and the rest of the world in commemorating Nelson Mandela International Day,” said Zenani Mandela at the unveiling ceremony. “South Africans believe that we are blessed to have an icon like Mandela. The whole world is blessed to share Mandela with us. Let’s continue to preserve the name of Nelson Mandela and his legacy. Let his legacy live-on for thousands of years to come,” she added. The statue was unveiled by President Danny Faure, and the daughter of Nelson Mandela, Zenani Mandela Dlamini, on July 18, coinciding with the anniversary of the birth of the former and late South African President. (State House/Facebook) Photo License: CC-BY Made by one of South Africa’s leading sculptors, Jane Doyle, the statue was fully funded by Eden Island at a cost of $110,000. Doyle was the same artist who crafted the statue of Seychelles’ late former president, James Mancham, unveiled at the Peace Park in May. Since 2010, July 18 is celebrated as the United Nations Mandela Day. The day remembers Mandela’s achievements in working towards conflict resolution, democracy, human rights, peace, and reconciliation. Kalebi said that Mandela can be looked upon by the youth of Seychelles as a model and for inspiration. The statue also represents the good friendship that exists between Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, and South Africa. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established 25 years ago. Mandela is one of the most well-known anti-apartheid activists in South Africa. He was jailed in 1963 for leading the liberation movement against apartheid and for his stance on the human right to live in freedom. He became the first democratically elected President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. Nelson Mandela founded three organisations -- the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation in 2004. “He was very concerned for the well-being of children and youth, very concerned for dialogue and reconciliation and very concerned for the development of excellent African leaders,” said Shaun Johnson, the executive director of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation. The Mandela Rhodes Foundation is regarded as the most prestigious and competitive postgraduate scholarship program on the African continent. Sheena Talma was the first Seychellois to be awarded a scholarship by the Mandela Rhodes Foundation. The next statue to be unveiled is expected to be that of Seychelles’ late president, France Albert Rene, in November.

Seychelles’ court sends Comorian national back home after guilty plea for illegal fishing

The Seychelles’ Supreme Court has ordered that a Comorian national who pleaded guilty for illegal fishing in the island nation’s waters be repatriated to his country of origin or residency. Ben Attoomani, 51, was also fined SCR 1,000 ($74) for fishing i
Seychelles News Agency

Seychelles’ court sends Comorian national back home after guilty plea for illegal fishing

The Seychelles’ Supreme Court has ordered that a Comorian national who pleaded guilty for illegal fishing in the island nation’s waters be repatriated to his country of origin or residency. Ben Attoomani, 51, was also fined SCR 1,000 ($74) for fishing in the Seychelles’ waters without a licence. When passing the sentence on Monday, Justice Mathilda Twomey said, “I take into account the plea in mitigation and the remorse shown by the convict. I am also acutely aware of his health issues and the poverty-stricken situation of Comoros.” Attoomani was on the vessel -- Pevoni -- which was intercepted by the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces on March 25 in the vicinity of Assumption Island on suspicion of illegal fishing. In his plea of mitigation, Attoomani claimed that he went fishing on a boat with an engine borrowed from a friend near Assumption Island and was not aware that this was an offence. He also stated that ‘poverty strikes like a whip’ in Comoros and begged for forgiveness and clemency. Attoomani is also ill and once collapsed in pain while in court. Justice Twomey has also ordered that the vessel Pevoni and all fishing gear are forfeited to the Seychelles and since the convict cannot pay the fine that the amount is levied from the sale made on the vessel, fishing gear, equipment and fish found onboard. Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has a vast Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.4 million square kilometres, which presents a challenge when it comes to the monitoring of illegal fishing. This was the first sentencing of a Comorian national for illegal fishing.

Mahrez and Mane duel in rematch for Africa Cup of Nations glory

Riyad Mahrez and Sadio Mane will renew their Premier League rivalry for a second time in Egypt, with Africa Cup of Nations immortality awaiting the victor of Friday's final between Algeria and Senegal. Algerian star Mahrez was part of the Manchester City tea
Seychelles News Agency

Mahrez and Mane duel in rematch for Africa Cup of Nations glory

Riyad Mahrez and Sadio Mane will renew their Premier League rivalry for a second time in Egypt, with Africa Cup of Nations immortality awaiting the victor of Friday's final between Algeria and Senegal. Algerian star Mahrez was part of the Manchester City team that edged out Mane's Liverpool for the English title last season, grabbing a pivotal goal on the final day of the campaign. Liverpool standout Mane, however, is attempting to fulfil his «wildest dream» as one of just a handful of Africans to win both the UEFA Champions League and Cup of Nations. For the marquee name in a Senegalese side ranked top of the continent, and a surprising 46 places above Algeria, the ride to the final for Mane and the Teranga Lions has encountered its share of roadbumps. Two missed Mane spot-kicks, a group stage loss to Algeria, and the loss of goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to a broken finger have tested Senegal's resolve in their quest for the Holy Grail of African football. Coach Aliou Cisse is on a mission for personal redemption. He was the skipper of the side beaten on penalties in the 2002 final, with his missed kick handing the title to Cameroon. «Having lost that final, I still have it on my mind,» said former Paris Saint-Germain and Birmingham City midfielder Cisse. «What motivated me to become a coach was to be able to take Senegal to the final. My players told me they would do better than my generation.» A maiden Cup of Nations for his country is a prize for which Mane readily admitted he would trade in last month's Champions League title. «I'm ready to even swap a Champions League for a Cup of Nations. Going to Dakar with the trophy would be extraordinary. It would be my wildest dream,» Mane told France Football ahead of the competition. Standing in the way, however, is an Algerian outfit that has undergone a remarkable transformation since the arrival of Djamel Belmadi as coach a year ago. The Desert Foxes failed miserably in World Cup qualifying, but the steely Belmadi has healed divisions in the squad to lead them to the brink of a first Cup of Nations triumph since 1990. - 'I'm not a miracle worker' - «To the Algerian people, I want to say I'm not a politician, not a miracle worker or a wizard, but that we will fight like we have fought to this point,» Belmadi said after the semi-final win over Nigeria. Algeria are the leading scorers in Egypt with 12 goals, including Mahrez's spectacular last-gasp free-kick against Nigeria, and haven't trailed at all in the tournament. «Algeria are so well organised, so compact, so 'Guardiolaesque' in the way they recover the ball,» opined experienced international coach Claude Le Roy. «Perhaps it is the influence of Mahrez.» The Algeria captain has been in fine form for his country here, brimming with confidence after helping City to the domestic treble. «We are very happy to be in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations because it is something very special,» said Mahrez. «It was our goal to do it for the people and for our families. We know they are behind us all the way. It's my dream to win the Cup of Nations.» «It's going to be another battle against Senegal,» he added. «We've been very good in this competition. The (Nigeria) match has given us more confidence for the final and we're capable of winning it.» Their hopes will boosted by the absence of Senegal's defensive rock Kalidou Koulibaly, whose yellow card in the semi-final victory over Tunisia cruelly ruled the Napoli star out of the final. «It hurts to not be able to play. But I will be beside my brothers to write history,» tweeted Koulibaly, the cornerstone of a defence breached just once so far. © Agence France-Presse

4 things you didn’t know about the Indian Ocean Island Games

The Indian Ocean Island Games (IOIG) or the Jeux des îles de l'océan Indien, is a multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from Indian Ocean island nations. This year, the 10th edition in Mauritius will see the participation of Seych
Seychelles News Agency

4 things you didn’t know about the Indian Ocean Island Games

The Indian Ocean Island Games (IOIG) or the Jeux des îles de l'océan Indien, is a multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from Indian Ocean island nations. This year, the 10th edition in Mauritius will see the participation of Seychelles, Comoros, Madagascar, Mayotte, Réunion, and the Maldives.  As athletes and supporters converge on Mauritius for the July 19-28 games, SNA brings you 4 facts about the IOIG.   History From 1947 until 1963, a precursor to the current games called the Indian Ocean Games Triangulaire was organized between Madagascar, Mauritius, and Reunion – a French department in the Indian Ocean. Five countries participated in the creation of the current Games: Sri Lanka, Seychelles, Mauritius, Comoros, and Reunion. They drafted the Charter of the Games and it was adopted by the Indian Ocean Commission in 1976. The objectives of the games are to contribute to regional cooperation through the development of sport in the region and to build friendship and mutual understanding between the peoples of the islands of the Indian Ocean, in the spirit of Olympism.     (Wikipedia/The World Factbook) Photo License: Photo License: CC0   Seychelles as host Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, has hosted the IOIG games twice – in 1993 and 2011. As it was the first time for the island nation to host the games in 1993, major sports infrastructure was needed. This saw the development of the Roche Caiman sports complex on the outskirts of the capital city of Victoria. This included the construction of a 25-metre swimming pool, a dojo, the Palais des Sports for volleyball and basketball and a new stadium: Stad Linite.   (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY   The sporting events During its history, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Reunion have participated in all editions of the games, whilst Comoros and Madagascar have each missed one edition. Mayotte – another French-administered department, is competing for the fifth time. Athletes compete for gold, silver and bronze medals in over 15 sporting events including football, athletics, weightlifting, and rugby. After its ninth edition in 2015, Reunion is leading the table of medals with 1579. Seychelles is fourth with 655 medals and Maldives is at the bottom with 19 medals.   ( Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY   Youth Component The Indian Ocean Islands Games also has a youth component for young people 14 to 17 from all the seven island nations. The programme, though not competitive, provides young people with the opportunity to meet, network and demonstrate their artistic talents at the same time learning about each other’s cultures. The exchanges though the arts, conferencing, offers them the chance to create a link with the other countries. The volet jeunesse starts on July 21.  (Statehouse/Facebook) Photo License: CC-BY  

DR Congo Ebola outbreak an emergency of global concern: WHO

The World Health Organization on Wednesday declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo a «public health emergency of international concern,» a rare designation only used for the gravest epidemics. The year-old Ebola epidemic i
Seychelles News Agency

DR Congo Ebola outbreak an emergency of global concern: WHO

The World Health Organization on Wednesday declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo a «public health emergency of international concern,» a rare designation only used for the gravest epidemics. The year-old Ebola epidemic in eastern DR Congo, the second deadliest on record, has largely been contained to remote areas, but this week saw a patient diagnosed with the virus in provincial capital Goma, the first case in a major urban hub. «It is time for the world to take notice,» WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement, as he accepted the advice of his advisory board to invoke the emergency provision, activated by the UN health agency only four times previously. Those included the H1N1, or swine flu, pandemic of 2009, the spread of poliovirus in 2014, the Ebola epidemic that devastated parts of West Africa from 2014 to 2016 and the surge of the Zika virus in 2016. The Ebola virus is highly contagious and has an average fatality rate of around 50 percent. It is transmitted to humans from wild animals and spreads among people through close contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected person. Responders had hoped that this Ebola outbreak would be easier to control, thanks in part to a new vaccine. While more than 160,000 people in the affected provinces of North Kivu and Ituri have been vaccinated, containment efforts have been hampered by chronic unrest in the region and a lack of trust in communities for health workers. A panel of top WHO officials that met in Geneva on Wednesday to issue the emergency call expressed «disappointment about delays in funding which have constrained the response.» A fresh UN funding appeal for $700 million to cover the ensuing six months is expected in the coming days. Reacting to the emergency declaration, the president of Doctors Without Borders, Joanne Liu, called for «a change of gear» in the response to the outbreak. «We need to take stock of what is working and what is not working,» she said. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies welcomed the decision, voicing hope that the emergency call «will bring the international attention that this crisis deserves.» - Goma case 'game-changer' - Since August last year, the DRC Ebola outbreak has killed more than 1,600 people out of more than 2,500 cases. WHO has held off on making the emergency declaration on three previous occasions, but the confirmation of a case in North Kivu's capital Goma escalated the crisis. Tedros this week called the Goma patient a «potential game-changer,» because the city is a «gateway» to Africa's Great Lakes region and the wider world. The Goma patient has been described as an evangelical preacher who travelled to Goma from Butembo, one of the towns hardest hit by Ebola. He had reportedly touched several Ebola patients in Butembo and concealed his identity in order to evade health screenings while en route to Goma. The emergency committee cited the patient, who has died, as a «specific cause for concern». Even if the risk of global spread is «still low», the Goma case posed «worrying signs of possible extension of the epidemic,» the committee said. A city of about one million people, Goma sits on the northern shore of Lake Kivu, adjacent to Rwanda's town of Gisenyi. It has a port that links to DRC city Bukavu and the South Kivu province as well as an airport with flights to the capital Kinshasa, Uganda's Entebbe and Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. - Checking temperatures at borders - At the Goma-Gisenyi crossing on Wednesday, megaphone announcements instructed all travellers to wash their hands «to prevent Ebola sickness virus,» using basins of water with added bleach. Health workers wearing yellow high-visibility jackets took the temperature of people crossing the border, in both directions. WHO's announcement provoked a mixed response from DR Congo's Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga, who has been critical of the motive of some non-governmental organisations in raising donations for the crisis. He said that while he «accepts» WHO's decision, he hoped it was not «the result of pressure from different groups... who want to use the statement as an opportunity to raise funds for humanitarian actors». «We hope there will be greater transparency and accountability by humanitarian actors in how they use their funds to respond to this Ebola outbreak,» he said in a statement. The WHO's international health regulations, drafted in 2005, say that the emergency label should apply to a situation that is «an extraordinary event that poses a public health risk to other countries through international spread and that potentially requires a coordinated international response.» Some fear that making the emergency call could trigger border closures, which the head of the WHO emergency panel, Robert Steffen, strongly urged against. © Agence France-Presse

Sudan protesters, army rulers ink power sharing deal

Sudan's protesters and ruling generals Wednesday inked a deal that aims to install a civilian administration, a key demand of demonstrators since president Omar al-Bashir was deposed in a coup three months ago. The move loosens a deadlock that has gripped th
Seychelles News Agency

Sudan protesters, army rulers ink power sharing deal

Sudan's protesters and ruling generals Wednesday inked a deal that aims to install a civilian administration, a key demand of demonstrators since president Omar al-Bashir was deposed in a coup three months ago. The move loosens a deadlock that has gripped the country, following nationwide mass protests that began against Bashir in December but then continued after a military council ousted him on April 11. The deputy chief of the military council General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo -- who initialled the deal on behalf of the generals on Wednesday -- told AFP the agreement was a «historic moment» for Sudan. It has «opened a new and promising era of partnership between the armed forces, RSF (Rapid Support Forces) and leaders of the glorious Sudanese revolution,» Dagalo said after he had put pen to paper. Dagalo also heads the RSF, a feared paramilitary organisation that has its origins in the Janjaweed militias unleashed against African rebels during the early 2000's in Darfur. Ibrahim al-Amin, a key protest leader, confirmed «today, we completed the political declaration.» Intense talks took place through the night over details of the political declaration at a luxury hotel on the bank of the Nile river in the capital, an AFP correspondent reported. As the generals stepped out of the hall after the inking of the deal, a small crowd -- including women waving the national flag -- chanted «civilian rule, civilian rule.» The landmark power sharing deal, which was agreed in principle on July 5, has been brokered by African Union and Ethiopian mediators after weeks of stop-start negotiations between the protest umbrella group and ruling generals. «The Transitional Military Council and the Alliance for Freedom and Change have reached a very important agreement that constitutes a crucial step towards a comprehensive reconciliation,» said African Union mediator Mohamed El Hacen Lebatt. - Immunity for generals? - The accord stipulates that a new transitional civilian-military ruling body be established, in a bid to end the country's months-long political crisis. This governing body will be comprised of six civilians and five military representatives. The civilian representation will include five from the Alliance for Freedom and Change, according to the declaration. A general will head the ruling body during the first 21 months of a transition, followed by a civilian for the remaining 18 months, according to the framework agreement. The governing council is to oversee the formation of a transitional civilian administration that will operate for just over three years, after which elections would be held. Amin said Wednesday that wider power sharing details would be fleshed out in a «constitutional document» and that talks would «resume... on Friday». These talks are expected to address whether to grant «absolute immunity» to generals for violence against protesters. Prior to entering the latest talks on Tuesday evening, protest leaders had rejected any such offer of immunity to the generals. «We totally reject it,» protest leader Ahmed al-Rabie, who initialled Wednesday's accord along with Dagalo, told AFP on Tuesday. But military council spokesman General Shamseddine Kabbashi sought to talk down any friction over proposed immunity. «There is no dispute about immunity,» he told AFP on Wednesday. Other issues still to be ironed out include the creation of a transitional parliament and a potential RSF withdrawal from Khartoum -- the latter an increasingly vocal demand of citizens on the streets. Tensions climaxed on June 3 when armed men in military fatigues stormed a longstanding protest camp in Khartoum, shooting and beating crowds of demonstrators in a pre-dawn raid. Dozens were killed and hundreds wounded, triggering international outrage -- and allegations that the RSF was behind the killings -- although the generals insisted they did not order the violent dispersal of protesters. The RSF has faced further fury after the protest movement accused its members of being responsible for the deaths of six civilians since Saturday, including one allegedly shot dead and another who was allegedly tortured. Dagalo has insisted that accusations against his paramilitary force represent an attempt to distort its image. Talks to progress the details of the overall power sharing deal had been postponed several times since July 5 at the request of protest leaders. © Agence France-Presse

2 «Global Shapers» in Seychelles examining how to equip youth with skills

The transformative role that Seychellois members of the Global Shapers are playing in society was showcased in a presentation at a recent regional conference in Kenya. Seychelles was represented at the conference under the theme ‘Africa’s Youth: Survive
Seychelles News Agency

2 «Global Shapers» in Seychelles examining how to equip youth with skills

The transformative role that Seychellois members of the Global Shapers are playing in society was showcased in a presentation at a recent regional conference in Kenya. Seychelles was represented at the conference under the theme ‘Africa’s Youth: Survive, Scale and Celebrate’ by Craig Francourt and Jeremy Raguain who are members of the Victoria Hub -- the local branch of the Global Shapers. Born out of the World Economic Forum, the Global Shapers Community is a network created in 2011 of inspiring young people under the age of 30 working together to address local, regional and global challenges. The network has currently more than 7,000 members and spans 369 city-based hubs in 171 countries. Francourt and Raguain who like many of their colleagues within the network are involved in a number of voluntary opportunities outside of Global Shapers, presented the outcomes of the Aldabra Clean-Up Project in which they were both involved. The presentation showed the transformative role that the members are playing in society, both through hub projects and through collaboration on other notable causes in Seychelles. Speaking to local reporters, Francourt said that attending the conference “has allowed me to start thinking about what the future landscape of work in the Seychelles will look like, where the deficits lie in terms of soft and hard skills for our young people, and how within GSVH (Global Shapers Victoria Hub) we can mount projects to help build their capacities.” Francourt in his presentation at the conference that has allowed him to start thinking about what the future landscape of work in Seychelles will look like. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY  Francourt said that the theme of the event aligned perfectly with the work that local hub has been conducting this past year on education and social inclusion. “As we think about the opportunities and challenges presented by a growing youth population in the Seychelles, we need to ensure that our young people are equipped with the knowledge and skills to thrive and embrace this new age,” said Francourt. He added that innovative technologies and sectors will ultimately shift the job market and move Seychelles forward so the future workforce needs to be ready for this revolution. “As a starting point, however, we need to ensure that our young people are emotionally resilient, empowered and focused in school settings. We also need to ensure as a society that we do not leave marginalised groups behind and that the opportunities that open through new technologies and sectors are inclusive and accessible to all,” he said. On his side, Raguain said, “This was the first time that I truly appreciated the global network of people I was connected to through Global Shapers. That realisation was as empowering as it was instructive. I got the chance to engage with and learn from trailblazers across the continent and the rest of the world. Discussing the future of work and education in Africa was particularly apt, given the theme of this conference. With a median age of 19, Africa needs its youth to seize opportunities to better its lot.” Raguain had the chance to engage and learn with trailblazers from Africa. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY    The event which was attended by 127 Shapers from over 40 countries worldwide, focused specifically on whether Africa’s growing youth population provides a dividend of opportunity or a bulge of challenges on existing infrastructure and resources. The participation of Raguain and Francourt were partly funded by the British High Commission in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean. The British High Commissioner, Caron Röhsler, said, “The British High Commission was happy to help Global Shapers with funding so they could focus their efforts on doing what they were set up to do, rather than spending valuable time raising money to do it! We want to help the youth of Seychelles fulfil their potential, whatever they aspire to, and to be in a position to shape their world.” Abdullahi Alim, who is community manager at the World Economic Forum based in Geneva, told SNA that “the Victoria Hub is one of more than 400 hubs worldwide that carry out grassroots initiatives to tackle some of the most pressing problems in their communities.” He added that “our team at the Forum consider the Victoria Hub as the frontline leaders in helping create truly inclusive and thriving communities in the city and we are eager to see them form even greater coalitions in order to bring unprecedented inclusive growth to the country at large.” Francourt and Raguain said after participating in the regional conference, they are now better equipped to bolster and scale the work that the Global Shapers Victoria Hub.

Commonwealth assisting Seychelles to strengthen its schools councils

The commonwealth is providing Seychelles with technical support to strengthen and build the capacity of the island nation’s school councils to ensure better management and accountability of state schools. A top official from the Ministry of Education and H
Seychelles News Agency

Commonwealth assisting Seychelles to strengthen its schools councils

The commonwealth is providing Seychelles with technical support to strengthen and build the capacity of the island nation’s school councils to ensure better management and accountability of state schools. A top official from the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development said that this will allow the ministry to review the current work pertaining to school councils which were established a decade ago through a regulation. “We needed to identify key challenges and gaps in knowledge that would form the basis for training and capacity development of school council members,” explained Odile Decomarmond, the Principal Secretary for Early Childhood, Primary and Secondary Education. An advisor in the Commonwealth Secretariat who is working with the ministry, Amina Osman, said “the Commonwealth Secretariat already has a programme on school leadership and management. What we are currently doing fits perfectly under that programme.” Osman added that what is being done in Seychelles --115 islands in the western Indian Ocean -- can be then shared with other member states.   “Whatever is being done here in terms of training, tools and capacity building will benefit the broader secretariat. It is also important for us to get governance right, as governance, accountability, transparency, and partnership are key for the Commonwealth,” added Osman. The Commonwealth of Nations, normally known as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 53 member states, nearly all of them former territories of the British Empire. The purpose of the voluntary Commonwealth is for international cooperation and to advance economics, social development, and human rights in member countries. The ministry said the process will bring about improvements in the performance of the diversity of learners based at the school and reduced bureaucracy in decision-making and operationalisation in defined areas of school matters. (Joena Meme) Photo License: CC-BY Decomarmond explained that once the process is over, school councils will be expected to play a clearer role in helping schools to achieve results. “This new model of governance of schools in the form of school councils, calls for a greater orientation to a more decentralized operating environment between the ministry headquarters, the school governance, leadership, and management at the school level,’ said the Principal Secretary. According to the ministry, the process will bring about improvements in the performance of the diversity of learners based at the school and reduced bureaucracy in decision-making and operationalisation in defined areas of school matters. Other benefits include a greater sense of ownership and greater involvement of the school-based personnel in school affairs and a higher level of accountability for decisions taken at the school level. Christopher Lespoir, the council chairperson of the Plaisance Secondary school for the past three years, told SNA on Tuesday that “the help from Commonwealth to strengthen School Council is timely. We need to take stock before moving on to the other phase of school governance. We need to make the most of it.” Marc Arrisol headteacher of Mont Fleuri Secondary said that “school council role is crucial to schools’ governance and will need to play an active role in assisting schools better manage their autonomy.” Currently, all 36 state schools have their councils, which comprises of a chair appointed by the minister and five other members namely the headteacher, two other teachers from the school management team, the chair of the Parents Teachers Association and the District Administrator.

Seychelles Tourism Board reports strong growth, but wants to boost slow period in May and June

The Seychelles Tourism Board is calling on hotels and airlines to combine efforts to provide promotional packages for May and June, the island nation's lowest-performing months for tourist arrivals. “If we want to achieve bigger growth in 2020, our strateg
Seychelles News Agency

Seychelles Tourism Board reports strong growth, but wants to boost slow period in May and June

The Seychelles Tourism Board is calling on hotels and airlines to combine efforts to provide promotional packages for May and June, the island nation's lowest-performing months for tourist arrivals. “If we want to achieve bigger growth in 2020, our strategy has to focus on our weakest months of the year. These months remains Seychelles’ weakest months and our marketing activities alone are not enough,” said Sherin Francis, the chief executive of the Board. Francis added that advertising packages with short notice seldom works for Seychelles. She was addressing the annual marketing meeting of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) held at Constance Ephelia Resort on Tuesday. STB’s mid-year marketing meeting allows the Board to directly interact with its local partners and discuss plans for the coming year. It also allows the Department for Tourism to take stock of the status of Seychelles’ tourism industry and reflect on the achievements and challenges faced over the last six months. Francis explained that there is slow growth in bed stock from large hotels. This means that though demand for more beds has grown, the supply side has been slower “with an average growth of only 3.6 percent hotel beds over the 2016 to 2018 period.” Francis said in her address that «if we want to achieve bigger growth in 2020, our strategy has to focus on our weakest months of the year.» (Vanessa Lucas, Seychelles Tourism Board) Photo License: CC-BY “We do not foresee any new supply of rooms until September this year with Club Med on St Anne island with 295 rooms. We have to remain mindful of that when planning for growth as rooms have become an inhibiting factor for growth through a certain period of the year,” said Francis. The last time a medium or large hotel opened was in 2016 with the opening of Carana Beach Hotel. In March 2018, Desroches Hotel re-opened its doors, under the management of Four Seasons, with 71 rooms. Despite this challenge, the tourism minister, Didier Dogley has said that the “industry is doing well.” “Looking forward, we do not foresee any major turbulences but it is not a time for us to rest. We must be mindful that this industry is a very dynamic and fragile one,” said Dogley. The statistics to date for visitors’ arrival show an 8 percent increase in 2019 compared with 2018. Trends over the last decade show steady growth in arrivals from 175,000 visitors in 2010 to an expected 394,000 visitors this year. This will represent a yearly average increase of 12 percent over the 10-year period. For 2020, STB envisaged growth of four percent over 2019 France and Germany have been dominating the visitors’ arrival basket, accounting for almost a third of all the visitors in 2018.  Income from the tourism sector has also seen consistent growth over the last five years, from $392 million in 2015 to $578 million in 2018. This represents a yearly growth rate of 11.8 percent over the last four years.

S.African anti-apartheid singer Johnny Clegg dies aged 66

Legendary South African singer Johnny Clegg, who blended Zulu rhythms with Western styles and defied apartheid segregation laws, died on Tuesday after a long battle with cancer. «Johnny passed away with his family this afternoon,» manager Roddy Q
Seychelles News Agency

S.African anti-apartheid singer Johnny Clegg dies aged 66

Legendary South African singer Johnny Clegg, who blended Zulu rhythms with Western styles and defied apartheid segregation laws, died on Tuesday after a long battle with cancer. «Johnny passed away with his family this afternoon,» manager Roddy Quinn said. «We are devastated.» Clegg succumbed to pancreatic cancer at the age of 66 at his home in Johannesburg, more than four years after he was diagnosed. «Johnny leaves deep footprints in the hearts of every person that considers himself or herself to be an African,» Quinn said. «He showed us what it was to assimilate to and embrace other cultures without losing your identity. »In many of us, he awakened awareness.« Nicknamed the »White Zulu«, Clegg mastered the language, culture and high kicks of Zulu dance, forming multi-racial bands in defiance of the segregationist laws of the apartheid-era government which censored his work. Among his famous tracks was »Asimbonaga«, Zulu for »We have not seen him«, released in 1987 following the declaration of the first state of emergency by the apartheid government. The song paid tribute to Nelson Mandela -- then in jail -- and was outlawed because any reference to the anti-apartheid leader was illegal. It became an international anthem for the struggle against apartheid and for modern South Africa. - 'Torchbearer' of freedom struggle - Clegg was diagnosed with cancer in 2015 but continued to tour and perform around the world. He performed for the last time in October last year in Mauritius. The South African government and fellow musicians paid tribute to Clegg as a musician and an activist. »A towering giant has fallen with the passing of legendary Singer-songwriter & Anthropologist Johnny Clegg,« Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa posted on Twitter. »Our hearts are sore & as he famously sang in Asimbonanga 'oh the sea is cold & the sky is grey' as we contend with the loss of a torchbearer of our struggle for freedom.« The South African government account tweeted that Clegg »has left deep footprints in our hearts«. Veteran singer and old friend Sipho 'Hotstix' Mabuse told SABC that »this is probably one of the most sad days for this country to have lost someone like Johnny Clegg. «Johnny was in the forefront of everything that was going right for this country,» he said. «Johnny could have been one of the most privileged people as most white people were -- but he chose to take a different direction and join in highlighting the atrocities of apartheid through his music and joined with many people involved in liberation struggle. »Johnny took it upon himself to sing and write about Nelson Mandela when not many white people would have done that. «His contribution was immense in profiling South Africa as a pariah state. Today we are a different country because of what people like Johnny have done.» - Apartheid arrests - The Soweto Gospel Choir said it was «devastated at the passing of Johnny Clegg. An music icon and a true South African. We shall miss him with all our hearts». Clegg was born on in 1953 in Lancashire, Britain and moved to Johannesburg with his mother when he was six years old. His exposure to Zulu migrant workers during adolescence introduced him to their culture and music, and his involvement with black musicians often saw him arrested during apartheid. At the age of 17, together with Sipho Mchunu, he formed their first band called Juluka. In 1986 at the height of apartheid he partnered with Dudu Zulu to form his second inter-racial band, Savuka. Clegg also recorded several solo albums and enjoyed huge international success selling out concerts wherever he performed. He is survived by his wife of 31 years, Jenny and their two sons Jesse and Jaron. © Agence France-Presse

President Danny Faure tells his United Seychelles political party he will run in 2020

President Danny Faure is the only candidate to submit an expression of interest to be the United Seychelles party’s presidential candidate for the 2020 elections, the party’s chief executive said on Tuesday. Andy Jean-Louis, who is also the party’s Se
Seychelles News Agency

President Danny Faure tells his United Seychelles political party he will run in 2020

President Danny Faure is the only candidate to submit an expression of interest to be the United Seychelles party’s presidential candidate for the 2020 elections, the party’s chief executive said on Tuesday. Andy Jean-Louis, who is also the party’s Secretary-General, told SNA that Faure submitted his application on Monday through a representative. “The documents were hand-delivered at Maison du Peuple at 11 o’clock just one hour shy of the official deadline of midday. We can confirm that Mr Faure is the only candidate to declare his intention to stand on the party’s ticket, and his application will now be considered under the procedures established by the new Constitution of United Seychelles,” said Jean-Louis. Faure announced his intention to stand as a candidate for United Seychelles in a special address on May 29. He was the running mate of former President James Michel, who resigned less than a year after winning the 2015 election. Faure, previously the Vice President, took over the presidency. United Seychelles started the process to choose a candidate at the end of June and invited all party members who were interested to file an expression of interest. The potential candidates had to be endorsed by at least 100 registered members of the party. Faure was the running mate of former President James Michel, who resigned in 2016. (Mervyn Marie)  Photo License: CC-BY Faure exceeded this number and had 185 endorsements and Jean-Louis said that between now and Friday the signatures will be vetted to ensure they are all legitimate. “Apart from these two documents, Mr Faure also submitted his vision for the country in line with the party’s constitution. All of these, including his declaration of assets and liabilities, will be forwarded to the Ethics Committee on Friday for vetting,” said Jean-Louis. He said the vetting form and declarations of assets and liabilities are very important for United Seychelles because the party wants to put forward a candidate with the highest integrity. “President Faure may be the only party member to have come forward but this process was not about the number of candidates but rather about the standards that the party demands from those aspiring to positions of responsibility and leadership,” he said.   Once vetted and endorsed by the Ethics Committee, Faure’s application will then be brought before the Congress, the supreme organ of the party, next month,  for the final decision. For the first time, the application process was being done using the new constitution which was adopted by the Congress last November. For the post of vice-president, the National Executive committee will set a date for the designated candidate to choose his running mate. The vice president will also go through the same vetting process and endorsement by the committee and the Congress. The candidate does not need the 100 signatures. United Seychelles, previously Parti Lepep, has won all presidential elections since the return of multiparty democracy in 1993. The party lost the legislative elections for the first time in its history in 2016 and for the first time the President of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, is not the leader of the ruling party.  Meanwhile, the main opposition coalition, Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS), which holds a majority in the country’s parliament will be announcing the process it will follow for selecting a candidate for the next year’s election on Saturday.

Le président Danny Faure a déclaré à son parti « United Seychelles » qu'il se présenterait en 2020

Le président Danny Faure est le seul candidat à avoir présenté une déclaration d'intérêt pour être le candidat à la présidence du parti United Seychelles pour les élections de 2020, a déclaré mardi le directeur général du parti. Andy Jean-Loui
Seychelles News Agency

Le président Danny Faure a déclaré à son parti « United Seychelles » qu'il se présenterait en 2020

Le président Danny Faure est le seul candidat à avoir présenté une déclaration d'intérêt pour être le candidat à la présidence du parti United Seychelles pour les élections de 2020, a déclaré mardi le directeur général du parti. Andy Jean-Louis, qui est aussi le secrétaire général du parti, a déclaré à la SNA que M. Faure avait soumis sa candidature lundi par l’intermédiaire d’un représentant. «Les documents ont été livrés en mains propres à Maison du Peuple à 11 heures, une heure du délai officielle de midi. Nous pouvons confirmer que M. Faure est le seul candidat à avoir déclaré son intention de se porter candidat, et que sa candidature sera désormais examinée selon les procédures établies par la nouvelle Constitution de United Seychelles », a déclaré M. Jean-Louis. Dans une allocution spéciale prononcée le 29 mai, M. Faure a annoncé son intention de se porter candidat pour United Seychelles. Il était le candidat à la vice-présidence de l'ancien président James Michel, qui a démissionné moins d'un an après avoir remporté les élections de 2015. M. Faure, précédemment vice-président, a assumé la présidence. United Seychelles a commencé le processus de sélection d'un candidat à la fin du mois de juin et a invité tous les membres du parti qui seraient intéressés à présenter une déclaration d'intérêt. Les candidats potentiels devaient être endossés par au moins 100 membres inscrits du parti.  M. Faure était le vice-président de l'ancien président James Michel, qui a démissionné en 2016 (Mervyn Marie)  Photo License: CC-BY              M. Faure a dépassé ce chiffre et a reçu 185 endossements. M. Jean-Louis a précisé qu'entre maintenant et vendredi, les signatures seront vérifiées afin de s'assurer de leur légitimité.  «Outre ces deux documents, M. Faure a également présenté sa vision du pays conformément à la constitution du parti. Tous ces éléments, y compris sa déclaration d’actif et de passif, seront transmis au Comité d’éthique vendredi pour vérification », a déclaré M. Jean-Louis. Il a déclaré que le formulaire de contrôle et les déclarations d'actif et de passif sont très importants pour United Seychelles, car le parti souhaite présenter un candidat avec la plus grande intégrité. «Le président Faure est peut-être le seul membre du parti à s'être présenté, mais ce processus ne portait pas sur le nombre de candidats mais sur les normes que le parti exige de ceux qui aspirent à des postes de responsabilité et de direction», a-t-il déclaré. Une fois examinée et approuvée par le Comité d'éthique, la candidature de Faure sera ensuite soumise au Congrès, l'organe suprême du parti, le mois prochain, pour décision finale. Pour la première fois, le processus de candidature était effectué en utilisant la nouvelle constitution qui avait été adoptée par le Congrès en novembre dernier. Pour le poste de vice-président, le comité exécutif national fixera une date à laquelle le candidat désigné choisira son vice-président. Le vice-président passera également par le même processus de validation et d’approbation par le comité et le Congrès. Le candidat n'a pas besoin des 100 signatures. United Seychelles, anciennement Parti Lepep, a remporté toutes les élections présidentielles depuis le retour du multipartisme en 1993. Le parti a perdu les élections législatives pour la première fois de son histoire en 2016 et pour la première fois, le président des Seychelles, un archipel de l'océan Indien occidental, n'est pas le chef du parti au pouvoir. Dans le même temps, la principale coalition de l’opposition, Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS), qui détient la majorité au parlement du pays, annoncera le processus qu’il suivra pour sélectionner un candidat à l’élection de l’année prochaine, samedi.  

Monsoon rains wreaking flood havoc across South Asia

Torrential monsoon rains swept away homes and triggered landslides across South Asia, affecting millions of people and claiming at least 180 lives, officials said Tuesday. The monsoon is crucial for irrigation and groundwater supplies in the impoverished reg
Seychelles News Agency

Monsoon rains wreaking flood havoc across South Asia

Torrential monsoon rains swept away homes and triggered landslides across South Asia, affecting millions of people and claiming at least 180 lives, officials said Tuesday. The monsoon is crucial for irrigation and groundwater supplies in the impoverished region -- home to a fifth of the world's population -- and brings relief after the unforgiving summers. But the downpours -- which stretch from June to September -- can turn deadly and have wreaked havoc again this year across India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan-administered Kashmir, with people, dwellings and boats in remote low-lying areas washed away. At least five children drowned in Bangladesh Monday, taking the toll in the country to 34, including 18 hit by lightning and seven who drowned after their boat capsized in choppy waters in the Bay of Bengal. Hundreds of thousands have been marooned by floodwater in the country's north, with one of the major Himalayan rivers, the Brahmaputra, over a metre (40 inches) above the «danger level», officials said. In Nepal, at least 67 people have died although flood waters have started receding. Images showed rescuers using inflatable dinghies to evacuate families trapped in flooded houses. Health experts have warned of possible outbreaks of waterborne diseases and called for international help. Nearly 50 people have been killed in India, with two eastern states -- Assam and Bihar, which borders Nepal -- bearing the brunt of the deluge. Authorities in Assam declared a red alert Monday as the flood situation turned critical, with villages cut off by surging waters and a major highway submerged. Photos showed residents crammed in boats carrying their belongings to safer areas in Morigaon, one of the worst-affected districts, and just the roofs of submerged homes above water. So far 11 people have died in the state and some 83,000 people displaced by flooding. Authorities also scrambled to reach animals marooned by the deluge at the state's World-Heritage listed Kaziranga National Park, which is home to two-thirds of the world's one-horned rhinos. In Bihar, 24 deaths were reported, with 2.5 million residents affected. Among the dead were three children who drowned as they went to check the rising water level in a canal. Two others died while playing near a ditch filled with floodwater, the Press Trust of India reported. Further northwest, in the Pakistan-administered part of the Kashmir region, flash floods killed 23 people and damaged 120 houses, with the water and power supplies crippled. The United Nations said Monday it «stands ready to work with the authorities in the affected countries as they respond to the humanitarian needs resulting from this ongoing monsoon season». © Agence France-Presse

Seychelles hosts eastern African nations to develop quality assurance in technical and vocational training

The Seychelles is hosting other countries from East Africa in a session to develop a framework for quality assurance in Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) qualifications. The three-day session opened on Monday at the Savoy Resort and Spa i
Seychelles News Agency

Seychelles hosts eastern African nations to develop quality assurance in technical and vocational training

The Seychelles is hosting other countries from East Africa in a session to develop a framework for quality assurance in Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) qualifications. The three-day session opened on Monday at the Savoy Resort and Spa in Beau Vallon. It is being organised with the support of UNESCO and is to ensure recognition for TVET qualifications. Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, director and representative of UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa, told the opening session that it is crucial for countries to develop their own local labour skills instead of looking for foreigners. “But at the same time look at how to use technologies to fast track what we want to do and modernise TVET curriculum and programme to make it more attractive for young people,” said Ndong-Jatta. The participants include representatives from the African Union, the International Labour Organisation, as well as from UNESCO-UNEVOC - the International Centre for connecting the UNESCO Member States worldwide to develop and strengthen technical and vocational education and training. “TVET is not an alternative for those who are not performing well. Actually, if we look at it closely, the reason why we have a lot of graduates from the higher education system that cannot be employed is that they do not have competent skills for industry,” said Ndong-Jatta. The regional representative added that “in a lot of instances we tend to look down at TVET and this is wrong and must change.” On her part, Seychelles' Minister for Education and Human Resources Development said that the session is being held at the right time as the island nation is making provisions for quality assurance at various levels of the education system. "This workshop will provide a platform for experts and stakeholders in TVET to deliberate on key elements pertaining to the formulation of a framework for the recognition of TVET qualifications in the region,” said Minister Jeanne Simeon. According to Simeon, this process will eventually contribute towards the establishment of a quality culture across the TVET sector and in the education system. “This will increase the relevance of TVET qualifications and the employability of youth nationally and regionally,” said the minister. All is on track for the island nation’s technical and vocational school scheduled to open on Ile Soleil in 2021. (2020 Development Seychelles Ltd) Photo License: CC-BY  During the coming days, participants will be able to adopt a common understanding of key concepts related to qualifications and quality assurance and propose guidelines for quality assurance of qualifications in the countries of the region. Additionally, they will also discuss strategies and tools on certification and qualifications at the level of TVET institutions that will increase the quality of TVET institutions in delivering certification that will lead to employment. The group will also consider alternative ways to link to the informal sector by proposing shorter quality courses and certification modules that will help solve short term unemployment and training imperatives. The director-general for TVET and Entrepreneurship in the Ministry for Education, Jean Alcindor, said that all is on track for the island nation’s technical and vocational school scheduled to open on Ile Soleil in 2021. “Now with this workshop, we are preparing ourselves so that we can have a framework to standardize our qualifications and change the perceptions and the way we look at vocational and TVET education,” Alcindor said. According to Alcindor, this will make the sector more attractive to young people in Seychelles - a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean - who would now want to join and develop themselves in the field and receive qualifications that will be accepted across eastern Africa.

Sunset cruise? New double-decker catamaran coming to Seychelles can hold 240 people

One of Seychelles’ leading destination management companies expects to double its passenger carrying capacity at sea with a new double level leisure catamaran. Expected to arrive in the country in mid-July, the catamaran will have a capacity to accommodat
Seychelles News Agency

Sunset cruise? New double-decker catamaran coming to Seychelles can hold 240 people

One of Seychelles’ leading destination management companies expects to double its passenger carrying capacity at sea with a new double level leisure catamaran. Expected to arrive in the country in mid-July, the catamaran will have a capacity to accommodate 240 passengers for cocktail style arrangements, said the public relations manager at Mason’s Travel, Nicole St Ange. “This makes for a great option for festive season gatherings and private events. For a while now, Anahita has been our flagship because she takes about 100 passengers and goes out monthly for our sunset cruise, which mainly targets the local crowd,” said St Ange. Dubbed Le Cerf, the catamaran was named after one of the company’s first vessels, which began excursions in 1972 with a reef safari to the Ste Anne Marine Park. Despite not having much resemblance to the old vessel, Le Cerf will be carrying out similar functions as we cater to the many guests visiting Seychelles. “Travellers to Seychelles are always astounded by the different perspective of the islands that can only be experienced from the sea. That same idea holds true 47 years later and we’re delighted that Le Cerf will allow today’s holidaymakers that same special experience with an added level of comfort, service and convenience,” she said. Tourism is the main economic pillar of Seychelles -- a 115-island archipelago in the western Indian Ocean. From the start of the year to June 30, Seychelles has welcomed 187,108 visitors which represents an eight percent increase as compared to the same period last year. The public relations manager told SNA that with the continuously increasing number in tourist arrivals, there is a market for Le Cerf, and the company is doing its best to accommodate for it.  The boat will allow Mason's Travel to cater for larger groups. (Mason's Travel) Photo License: CC-BY  St Ange added that Mason’s Travel handles a lot of cruise ships that dock into Port Victoria and “a boat of this capacity allows us more flexibility in catering for large groups.” The cruise ship season starts in October through to March or April. The cruise ships dock in Seychelles for two or three days and want to have a selection of excursions to offer to their clients. “Although we only cater for a portion of the cruise trip travellers, as many opt to discover the islands on their own, we must be equipped to handle large requests,” said St Ange. The 33.5-metre vessel was built by Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing, a catamaran manufacturer based in South Africa. The Two Oceans 110 Day Charter Catamaran model is the biggest composite and leisure catamaran ever to be launched in South Africa. At the moment, Mason’s Travel has three catamarans in its fleet. “We have Anahita that is based on Mahe that does the reef safari in the marine park and the infamous sunset cruise. Then we have Catalina on Praslin which has a slightly lower capacity catering for excursions such as Cousin, Curieuse, St Pierre. There is also Indiana which has a 30 Pax capacity and it is also based on Mahe and that is mainly for private charters for those seeking a more intimate, tailor-made outing,” said St Ange.

Seychelles signs pledge to protect media freedom at global conference in UK

Seychelles has joined other nations in committing to work to protect media freedom by signing a joint declaration led by the U.K. and Canada on the sidelines of a global conference last week. The Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs, Barry Faure, signed th
Seychelles News Agency

Seychelles signs pledge to protect media freedom at global conference in UK

Seychelles has joined other nations in committing to work to protect media freedom by signing a joint declaration led by the U.K. and Canada on the sidelines of a global conference last week. The Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs, Barry Faure, signed the document last Thursday, on the sidelines of the global conference for media freedom in London from July 10 to 11. “Seychelles recognises the pledge as a commitment made to continuously defend the freedom of the press. As you know this forms part of our culture and it is enshrined in our constitution,” Faure told SNA on Monday.    The conference addressed the rise in attacks on media freedom which are viewed as attacks on the human rights of journalists and those working in media organisations. It is part of an international campaign to shine a global spotlight on media freedom and increase the cost to those that are attempting to restrict it. The Secretary of State told SNA there was a need “to sign the pledge in solidarity with the journalists who have been killed for doing their job. This toll has increased over the years and we are not going in the right direction. This is the time for us to take action.”  Ministers and representatives at the conference agreed that media freedom is the lifeblood of democracy and without it, economic prosperity and development are hindered. Faure said that the government made a commitment to include this pledge in everything it does and this shows that “we are affiliating ourselves to this international movement to protect the interest and defend the freedom of journalists.” The pledge notes that the media is an integral element of global society and prosperity and that people need free media to provide them with accurate information and informed analysis if governments are to be held to account. It also notes that attacks on media freedom are attacks on human rights and pledges to ensure that the people in respective countries can enjoy all of their human rights and the benefits these bring to society. Participants promised to speak out and take action together through a Media Freedom Coalition. Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, is ranked 69 out of 180 countries in the 2019 World Press Freedom rankings, moving up and improving 16 places from last year. “Despite this ranking, there are still a lot of things that we can do to improve especially with regards to some provision in our law,” said Faure. The ranking of Seychelles is attributed to a number of actions taken by the island nation to ensure freedom of the press and this include the Access to Information Act which President Danny Faure assented to in July last year. 

DR Congo urges calm after Ebola case in key city

Authorities in Democratic Republic of Congo have appealed for calm after a preacher fell ill with Ebola in the eastern city of Goma, the first recorded case of the disease in the region's urban hub in a nearly year-old epidemic. Goma, which has a population
Seychelles News Agency

DR Congo urges calm after Ebola case in key city

Authorities in Democratic Republic of Congo have appealed for calm after a preacher fell ill with Ebola in the eastern city of Goma, the first recorded case of the disease in the region's urban hub in a nearly year-old epidemic. Goma, which has a population of around one million, is the capital of North Kivu province, the epicentre of an outbreak that has claimed more than 1,600 lives -- the second highest toll in Ebola's history. In a statement, North Kivu Governor Carly Nzanzu Kasivita stressed the new case «not only was detected at an early stage but also was isolated immediately, avoiding any further contamination.» «I call on the population of the city of Goma and its outskirts to keep calm... (and) cooperate with response teams by observing hygiene and prevention measures and notifying any suspected case of Ebola,» he added. According to the latest health ministry figures, issued on Saturday, 1,655 people have died from the notorious haemorrhagic virus since August 1 last year, when the disease broke out in North Kivu and spread to neighbouring Ituri. Nearly 700 people have been cured, and more than 160,000 been vaccinated. The Goma patient is a Christian pastor who had preached at a church in another town, Butembo, where he would have touched worshippers «including the sick», the health ministry said Sunday. His symptoms first surfaced last Tuesday. The preacher on Friday took a bus from Butembo, one of the towns hardest hit by the outbreak, and arrived two days later in Goma where «the results of the laboratory test confirmed that he was positive for Ebola», the ministry said. «Given that the patient was quickly identified, as well as all the passengers on the bus from Butembo, the risk of the disease spreading in the city of Goma is low,» it added. The pastor was swiftly taken back to Butembo, about 300 kilometres (180 miles) from Goma, the governor added. The other passengers on the bus, 18 in all, and the driver will be vaccinated against Ebola on Monday, said the ministry, urging the population of one of Africa's largest countries to «keep calm». The United Nations was convening a «high-level event» in Geneva on Monday to discuss response and preparedness for the Ebola outbreak. It will be attended by government ministers from the DR Congo and Britain, senior officials of the World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other UN agencies. Last month, the WHO said the outbreak did not qualify as an international threat -- a category that significantly ramps up global response to a contagious disease. Its decision took into account cases of infection that surfaced in Uganda among a family that had travelled to eastern DR Congo to see a relative stricken with Ebola. Ebola spreads when humans touch the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected person, or objects contaminated by such fluids. - Militia attacks - Health workers in Goma were vaccinated as early as December when the outbreak first hit Butembo further north. Efforts to roll back Ebola have been hampered by Insecurity in a region plagued by militia groups, who have attacked treatment centres. Local hostility to health workers trying to trace and isolate people in contact with Ebola patients is another hurdle. Two more Ebola workers were murdered in their homes in North Kivu after months of threats, the ministry said. The latest epidemic is the 10th documented outbreak in DR Congo since the disease was identified in 1976 near the Ebola River, which gives it its name. It is the second deadliest on record globally, after the epidemic that struck West Africa in 2014-2016, killing more than 11,300 people. © Agence France-Presse

Instead of a 5-star hotel, Grand Police Bay may become Seychelles’ latest protected area

Plans are underway to designate Seychelles’ Grand Police Bay in the southern side of the main island of Mahe an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, said an environment official. The proposed management and business plan for the wetland area, located in Tak
Seychelles News Agency

Instead of a 5-star hotel, Grand Police Bay may become Seychelles’ latest protected area

Plans are underway to designate Seychelles’ Grand Police Bay in the southern side of the main island of Mahe an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, said an environment official. The proposed management and business plan for the wetland area, located in Takamaka district, was presented to the public to get their views. The meeting was spearheaded by the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change in partnership with the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles, which carried out a 12-month biodiversity assessment of the wetland area. The proposed plan outlines actions required to develop the area in a way that will protect the natural heritage and maximise sustainable public access and enjoyment. The nominated Grand Police Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty comprises two large parcels of land - T575 and T574 - which run from the mountain top to the coast, as well as a smaller one -- T559. The privately-owned area had initially been earmarked for a 5-star marina-resort development by its owner Loomington Investments. However following strong public opposition and petitions by the Takamaka-based environment organisation, Grand Police Citizens Initiative, the government initiated a discussion with the owner to consider returning the land to the State, so that it can be declared a protected area. Speaking at the meeting, the Principal Secretary for Environment, Alain Decomarmond, said the meeting was another step towards declaring the area protected. “The environment assessment has confirmed that Grand Police Bay has rich biodiversity and we are using this to build our case for the nomination file. We need to build a strong case and justify why the whole area from the mountain to the coast should be protected,” he said. Decomarmond added that the meeting was "to get the public’s views and their endorsement before taking the document to the Cabinet of Ministers for approval and to start the formal legal steps to have Grand Police Bay declared a protected area.”   If the Cabinet of Ministers gives its approval, the nomination file will be made public for 28 days for further considerations and comments.   “If after all these steps, the opinion is for protection then the government will engage the landowners to designate Grand Police Bay an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty area,” said Decommarmond. According to the environment ministry, some low-scale economic activities and tourism development can be done in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, as long as it does not disturb or destroy the area’s environment.  In its assessment report, the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles (MCSS) said the area should be considered as an international key biodiversity area (KBA).  Somers said the area is the last remaining intact watershed on Mahe apart from Anse Major and Morne Seychellois National Park.  Project Leader, Rabia Somers, said the study confirmed the number of endemic, native and invaluable plants in the area. “High up on the glacis is where there is intact natural vegetation and the wetland on the area is the last remaining intact watershed on Mahe apart from Anse Major and Morne Seychellois National Park. This is the only one that’s unprotected and that’s as extensive as it is,” said Somers. The area is home to 61 animal species, including two endemic ones – the critically endangered and nationally protected terrapins ‘torti soupap’ as well as being a potential foraging area for sheath tail bats. Also found in the area are 102 plant species including the lalyann zasmen and orkid pti fer payanke while the beaches are nesting areas for the green and hawksbill turtles. The proposed management plan includes a conservation and administration centre, to help manage access to the area and prevent poaching and littering. There are also plans to build footpath networks, car parking areas, toilet and waste management facilities. Grand Police Citizens Initiative, a local non-government organisation, which campaigned against the tourism development, said it supports the plan. Speaking to SNA, its vice chairperson, Nanette Esparon, said she hoped the plan would be implemented as soon as possible. “We are happy that our views have been taken into consideration and incorporated into the plan especially the accessibility bit to ensure that visitors to the area are conscious of the need to protect the Grand Police Bay. It was all worth it but now we have to wait and see when can it be implemented,” said Esparon. The Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate has not set a deadline for the area to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty but says it hopes to see some progress by the end of the year. Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, is home to 57 international outstanding biodiversity areas that need to be conserved.

Barry weakens, but US officials warn of heavy rains, floods, tornadoes

Barry weakened further on Sunday as the storm churned across the US state of Louisiana, bringing along heavy rains and the possibility of flooding and tornadoes. There have been no reported deaths so far in Louisiana or neighboring states from Barry, which h
Seychelles News Agency

Barry weakens, but US officials warn of heavy rains, floods, tornadoes

Barry weakened further on Sunday as the storm churned across the US state of Louisiana, bringing along heavy rains and the possibility of flooding and tornadoes. There have been no reported deaths so far in Louisiana or neighboring states from Barry, which had briefly become the first hurricane of the Atlantic season before the National Hurricane Center downgraded it to a tropical storm and then a tropical depression. Still, as the storm moved inland on a northern track, it packed a serious punch. Louisianans kept a wary eye on rivers and canals badly swollen by the torrential rainfall, following an extraordinarily wet season farther up the Mississippi River. This is «the wettest year we've had since 1895,» Major General Richard Kaiser, who heads the Mississippi River Commission, said on Fox News. He said the broad river is «the highest it's been for a long time» -- just below flood stage. Bands of heavy rain continued to lash New Orleans, the state's biggest city, but its airport was able to resume normal service after canceling all flights on Saturday. Fears that the levee system protecting New Orleans could be compromised eased. Mayor LaToya Cantrell, who a day earlier had urged residents not to be complacent, said in a news conference Sunday that «we absolutely made it through the storm. We are lucky; we were spared.» - Dangers remain - As of 4:00 pm Sunday (2100 GMT), the storm's maximum sustained winds had dropped to 35 miles (55 kilometers) per hour. It was located north-northeast of Shreveport in western Louisiana, moving towards Arkansas, the National Hurricane Center said. «Further weakening is expected as the center moves farther inland, and Barry is forecast to degenerate into a remnant low pressure system by Monday night,» the NHC said. US Senator Bill Cassidy said of the storm on Fox News: «We have seen worse.» Evacuation orders had already been lifted in several locales including Plaquemines Parish, south of New Orleans, where up to 10,000 residents had been under orders to leave. But on Sunday, National Guard members were still laying down sand-filled barriers in a bid to contain flooding after «severely high water» overtopped levees in the Plaquemines town of Myrtle Grove, according to parish information officer Jade Duplessis. Pete Gaynor, acting administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told Fox that «there are still life-threatening conditions.» «The rain is the threat,» he added, noting that floodwaters farther up the engorged Mississippi will be moving south in coming days. Many coastal areas remained on alert. Tornadoes were possible in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee, the NHC said. Rainfall estimates lowered further to between three and five inches (8 to 13 centimeters) over south-central Louisiana but rivers and canals are already near capacity. Across southern Louisiana, Barry's heavy winds scattered tree branches and knocked down power lines, leaving an estimated hundred thousand people without electricity. Reporters saw localized flooding and badly swollen waterways. - Memories of Katrina - The eye of the storm made landfall Saturday at tiny Intracoastal City. Rivers overtopped their levees in several locations, including part of coastal Terrebonne Parish. The Atchafalaya River swallowed a waterfront pedestrian promenade in Morgan City. For many, the storm revived unpleasant memories of Hurricane Katrina. While thousands of Louisianans fled for safety as the storm approached, others hunkered down to ride it out, sometimes defying mandatory evacuation orders. On the huge Lake Pontchartrain's southern shore in northern New Orleans, 72-year-old retired postal worker Mike Pisciotta shrugged off Barry's local effects as he stood on the lake's levee. «It hasn't really been anything,» he said, while acknowledging that other areas were harder hit. «I guess we are lucky.» On Pontchartrain's northern edge, 61-year-old Gerard Braud, a communications consultant, said there was five feet (1.5 meters) of water under his elevated lakefront home. «It extended back in some places, five, six, seven blocks from the lake,» he said, adding, «Water levels are the biggest threat in a weak storm like this.» Not far away, Michael Forbes, 61, a prosecuting attorney, said lake levels were far higher than normal due to wind blowing water in from the Gulf and Mississippi River water being channeled into the lake to ease flood pressure. «People are used to it, and they're scared of it, too,» he said. «Every year it's a worry.» In 2005, Katrina -- the costliest and deadliest hurricane in recent US history -- submerged about 80 percent of New Orleans after the city's levee system failed, causing about 1,800 deaths and more than $150 billion in damage. © Agence France-Presse

26 killed in deadly Somalia hotel siege

Twenty-six people were killed and 56 injured in a 12-hour attack by Al-Shabaab jihadists on a popular hotel that ended early Saturday in the southern Somali port city of Kismayo. A suicide bomber rammed a vehicle loaded with explosives into the Medina hotel
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26 killed in deadly Somalia hotel siege

Twenty-six people were killed and 56 injured in a 12-hour attack by Al-Shabaab jihadists on a popular hotel that ended early Saturday in the southern Somali port city of Kismayo. A suicide bomber rammed a vehicle loaded with explosives into the Medina hotel on Friday before several heavily armed gunmen forced their way inside, shooting as they went, authorities said. It was the largest coordinated attack by the Shabaab in Kismayo since 2012 when it lost control of the city. The victims included several foreigners and a prominent Somali-Canadian journalist, Nodan Halayeh, who perished along with her husband. Three Kenyans, three Tanzanians, two Americans, one Briton and one Canadian were among the dead, president Ahmed Mohamed Islam of the semi-autonomous Jubaland region told a news conference. «There are also two wounded Chinese citizens,» he added. The hotel was packed with politicians and prominent businessmen as meetings were underway for upcoming presidential elections in Jubaland, due in August. One of the candidates in the election died in the siege, local authorities said. - 'Martyrdom attack' - «The whole building is in ruins, there are dead bodies and wounded who have been recovered from inside. The security forces have cordoned off the whole area,» said witness Muna Abdirahman. Another witness Hussein Muktar said: «The blast was very big.» «The security forces are in control now and the last terrorist was shot and killed», security official Mohamed Abdiweli said. «There are dead bodies and wounded people strewn inside the hotel,» Abdiweli added. He said authorities believed four gunmen, who one witness described as wearing Somali police uniforms, were involved in the attack. Halayeh's death sparked an outpouring of grief on social media. She was an ardent campaigner for Somali unity and peace and had started an online TV show named Integration. In a recent podcast, Nalayeh said her television programme about the Somali diaspora gave the community a voice. «Social media has changed the game for how people learn about culture. So, if we don't become the creators of our own content, we are going to be at the mercy of other people telling the stories of Africa,» she had said. A local journalist, Mohamed Omar Sahal, also died in the siege, the Somali journalists' union SJS said, adding that these were the first journalist deaths in the country this year. Shabaab, the Al-Qaeda-linked group, claimed responsibility for the siege describing it as «a martyrdom attack». The US Mission to Somalia condemned the attack and said it would «continue to work with our Somali and other international partners in the fight against violent extremism.» - 'Criminal, murderous, destructive' - The African Union's Special Representative in Somalia, Francisco Madeira, said the attack was «meant to derail progress in Somalia as the country rebuilds and consolidates the gains made on peace and security. »The attackers are a group of people with a criminal, murderous and destructive agenda. They cannot claim to be fighting to bring good governance to the country," he said. The attack is the latest in a long line of bombing and assaults claimed by Shabaab, which has fought for more than a decade to topple the Somali government. The militant group emerged from Islamic Courts that once controlled central and southern Somalia and are variously estimated to number between 5,000 and 9,000 men. In 2010, the Shabaab declared their allegiance to Al-Qaeda. In 2011, they fled positions they once held in the capital Mogadishu, and have since lost many strongholds. But they retain control of large rural swathes of the country and continue to wage a guerrilla war against the authorities. © Agence France-Presse

New rum in Seychelles carries hint of vanilla, whiskey aftertaste and a pirate mystery aura

Rum connoisseurs can now add a new spirit to their collection following the launch of Levasseur Rum on the local market. The dark rum which is the brainchild of local entrepreneur Marco Francis has been on sale for the past two months after two years of prep
Seychelles News Agency

New rum in Seychelles carries hint of vanilla, whiskey aftertaste and a pirate mystery aura

Rum connoisseurs can now add a new spirit to their collection following the launch of Levasseur Rum on the local market. The dark rum which is the brainchild of local entrepreneur Marco Francis has been on sale for the past two months after two years of preparation. The rum is inspired by Olivier Levasseur -- a notorious pirate -- whose treasures are believed to be buried at Bel Ombre, a district in the northern part of Mahe, the main island. Speaking to SNA, Francis said he wanted to create a spirit that reflected the island lifestyle and its rich history. “Rum has always been associated with islands and Levasseur Rum personifies the exotic history of Seychelles and shares the same enigmatic aura of the pirate himself and the mystery around his buried treasure. That’s why on the box you will see his famous quote before he was hanged, which is ‘Find my treasure the one who may understand it’,” he said. Francis sought the help of Mauritian master blender Frederic Bestel to create the spirit which he blends at his distillery, Levasseur Rum Ltd at Au Cap, on the southern part of Mahe. “I wanted to create a brand, a spirit, that was both gourmet and elegant,” said Francis adding that the spirit will appeal to whisky enthusiasts. “The rum is blended in antique barrel infused with authentic flavours, aromas of whisky, oak and vanilla caramel and all these flavours come to the core to give the rum a unique taste. Compared to other rums, my spirit has no added sugar and I advise my patrons to use it either neat or on ice,” Francis told SNA. Francis also pays special attention to the packaging and branding of the product with the bottles and labels imported from Spain. The main ingredient used in the rum production is sugar cane imported from Mauritius. This is “to ensure consistency in the product as we cannot always find raw materials on the local market,” he added. Francis said the bottles and labels are imported from Spain. (Marco Francis)  Photo License: CC-BY Francis is also the only one who handles the rum making and says his process is a well-guarded secret. For local consumption, Levasseur Rum Distillery has produced the first batch of 2,000 bottles on the market since two months ago. The rum is on sale in duty free shops, hotels and restaurants and is selling at SCR550 ($40). Francis said it makes for a beautiful gift for all occasions. Kevin Marengo, who tried the rum as soon as it arrived on the market, told SNA that product is premium quality. “It is very different from the other rums produced both locally and internationally. It has a smooth taste and an after taste of whisky as well, which I really like. I have added Levasseur to my collection and would advise rum and whisky lovers to try it out,” said Marengo. Francis hopes to sell Levasseur rum around the world and has partnered with renowned French company DUGAS, which is producing and distributing Levasseur Rum on the European market.

Britain sends second warship to Gulf after Iran tanker standoff

Britain said Friday it was sending a second warship to the Gulf and raising the alert level in the oil-rich region as tensions spike after Iranian gunboats threatened a UK supertanker. The decision was disclosed as US President Donald Trump stepped up his wa
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Britain sends second warship to Gulf after Iran tanker standoff

Britain said Friday it was sending a second warship to the Gulf and raising the alert level in the oil-rich region as tensions spike after Iranian gunboats threatened a UK supertanker. The decision was disclosed as US President Donald Trump stepped up his war of words with the Islamic republic, which breached part of a nuclear accord already rejected by Washington. «Iran better be careful,» Trump told reporters outside the White House. «They're treading on very dangerous territory. Iran, if you're listening, you better be careful.» British officials said the naval deployment was part of a pre-planned rotation and meant to ensure a continued British naval presence in one of the most important but volatile oil shipment routes in the world. But a source said the switchover was brought forward by several days and should see two of Britain's most advanced warships jointly navigating the waters off Iran for a period that might last a number of weeks. A government spokesman said the HMS Duncan was «deploying to the region to ensure we maintain a continuous maritime security presence while HMS Montrose comes off task for pre-planned maintenance and crew changeover». On Wednesday, HMS Montrose warned off three fast Iranian gunboats that UK officials said were trying to «impede» the progress of a British supertanker through the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf. Iranian officials have denied the incident ever happened. The British government decided at the start of the week to raise the alert level for ships travelling through Iranian waters to three on a three-point scale, indicating a «critical» threat. HMS Duncan is an air defence destroyer that carries a set of heavy Harpoon anti-ship missiles and has a company and crew in excess of 280. - Curbing Trump - After weeks of escalating tensions, Trump last month authorised an air strike on Iran over its downing of a US spy drone but backed away at the last minute. Alarmed that Trump's hawkish stance could lead to war, the Democratic-led House of Representatives on Friday voted to bar funding for military operations against Iran unless they are in self-defence or explicitly authorised by Congress. «Frankly, what it will prevent is what this president promised to the American people not to do -- to get into another endless, costly war in the Middle East,» said Representative Ro Khanna, the Democrat who led the measure. But the Senate, controlled by Trump's Republican Party, defeated a similar proposal. Khanna's amendment was part of a broader defence bill, meaning that the two chambers will need to negotiate on the language. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the amendment «reckless,» saying that the military should not be held up by a potentially lengthy legislative process. «This will tie our military's hands at a perilous time. We need Iran and its terrorist proxies to think twice before they attack Americans, our friends or our interests,» he said. - Gibraltar arrests - The Strait of Hormuz episode occurred a week after UK Royal Marines helped the Gibraltar authorities detain an Iranian tanker that US officials believe was trying to deliver oil to Syria in violation of separate sets of EU and US sanctions. Iran has bristled at the arrest and issued a series of increasingly ominous warnings to both the United States and Britain about its right to take unspecified actions in reprisal. «If the enemy had made the smallest assessment they wouldn't have done this act,» Iran's Revolutionary Guards deputy commander Ali Fadavi said on Thursday. British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt called on Friday for «cool heads» to prevail as threats mount. «We want to do everything we can to make sure that we don't have an unintended escalation which could be very dangerous for the world,» Hunt said. The authorities of Gibraltar -- a British overseas territory on Spain's southern tip -- said on Friday that the Iranian supertanker was carrying 2.1 million barrels of light crude oil. They also insisted that they had asked British Naval Marines to help with the Iranian tanker's arrest without any outside political pressure. The Gibraltar police on Thursday announced the arrest of the Iranian tanker's Indian captain and officer, and on Friday two more Indian crew members were detained. All four were bailed without charge late Friday, Gibraltar police said. © Agence France-Presse

New owners of Seychelles’ former Reef Hotel to invest $34 million in its redevelopment

The Seychelles' government has approved the sale of the former Reef Hotel, which will be demolished and rebuilt, said a top official Friday.Mauritians Krishan Malhotra, and Jadoo Harmann Dookan are the new owners of the  former hotel, located at Anse Aux-Pin
Seychelles News Agency

New owners of Seychelles’ former Reef Hotel to invest $34 million in its redevelopment

The Seychelles' government has approved the sale of the former Reef Hotel, which will be demolished and rebuilt, said a top official Friday.Mauritians Krishan Malhotra, and Jadoo Harmann Dookan are the new owners of the  former hotel, located at Anse Aux-Pins, a district in the east of the main island Mahe.The Minister of Habitat, Lands, Infrastructure, and Land Transport, Pamela Charlette, told a news conference that the two are now shareholders in the hotel with the purpose of developing a tourism establishment.Reef Hotel was the first tourist establishment of international standard to be opened in the 115-island archipelago in the western Indian Ocean in 1972 with 150 rooms.The facilities at that time included a restaurant, bar, swimming pool, tennis court and a golf course. The hotel, which was once a popular venue for seminars and local entertainment events, hosted the first Tourism Ball and the opening of the U-first campaign in December 1993.The hotel closed down in 1990 and in 2001 it was brought by the Beachcomber hotel group from Mauritius.   At the press conference the Minister for Finance, Trade and Investment, Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, said that the developers are planning to invest $34 million in the redevelopment of a new tourism facility.“The development will comprise of demolishing and rebuilding a whole new hotel. It will comprise of 135 rooms, including nine residential apartments and villas,” said Lousteau-Lalanne said.The minister added that the new owners have acquired the hotel at the price of $6 million.  The Seychelles’ government is getting $300,000 for processing fees and stamp duty.Before giving their approval the Seychelles’ government has set some conditions with the proprietors.For instance, the proprietor should retain the name Reef Hotel for their new establishment.’This decision has been taken to retain the historical memories that place once had,” said Lousteau-Lalanne, adding “that there should be a dedicated pedestrian access to the beach. The facilities should alsobe accessible to the locals. For example there should be a bakery, restaurant, exhibition space for local artist and a sound proof night club.”   Also speaking at the conference, the chief executive of the Seychelles Investment Board, Cindy Vidot, said that all necessary procedures are done. Vidot added that the development will create job opportunities for 200 people. “Aside from its source of entertainment, other investors will also find opportunities with this investment.”

Believe and succeed: Higher pay pledged for Seychellois who wins medal at Indian Ocean Games

Boxer Keddy Agnes will be the flag-bearer for Seychelles at the opening ceremony of the 10th edition of the Indian Ocean Island Games which will take place in Mauritius from July 19-28. The President of Seychelles, Danny Faure, handed the Seychelles’ fla
Seychelles News Agency

Believe and succeed: Higher pay pledged for Seychellois who wins medal at Indian Ocean Games

Boxer Keddy Agnes will be the flag-bearer for Seychelles at the opening ceremony of the 10th edition of the Indian Ocean Island Games which will take place in Mauritius from July 19-28. The President of Seychelles, Danny Faure, handed the Seychelles’ flag to Agnes -- the Sportsman of the Year -- on Friday during a sending off ceremony of Team Seychelles for the competition at the International Conference Centre in the capital, Victoria. The ceremony also featured some athletes marching in the uniform they will wear at the games. In her address at the ceremony, the Designated Minister, Macsuzy Mondon, who is also responsible for sports, told athletes that “our wish is to see you perform exceptionally well and realise your dream. We also want you to perform well to make your families, the Seychellois nation and Seychelles proud of your achievements.” Mondon said that in the past two years the government has invested more money in the athletes’ preparation for local, regional and international training camps. The total cost of Seychelles' participation in the games in Mauritius amounted to more than SCR 4 million ($294,000) and Mondon said that up to now, the government has invested a total of SCR 30 million ($2.2 million) for the games. Team Seychelles will compete in 13 events and these are football, basketball, volleyball, boxing, table tennis, weightlifting, athletics, yachting, swimming, judo, cycling, badminton and beach volleyball.    The Seychelles’ delegation includes 228 athletes and 97 officials and the first group will leave this weekend and the largest group on Wednesday, July 17.  The ceremony also featured some athletes marching in the uniform they will wear at the games. (State House/Facebook) Photo License: CC-BY  The Indian Ocean Island Games is a multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from Indian Ocean island nations. The Games were created by the International Olympic Committee in 1977. As an incentive, the government of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, is increasing the financial rewards for winners of medals. “Today I am pleased to announce that for the Indian Ocean Island Games 2019, the government is offering SCR 40,000 ($2,937) for each gold medal, SCR 25,000 ($1,836) for a silver medal and SCR 12,000 ($876) for a bronze medal. This represents an increase of more than 60 percent. Furthermore, the All Weather Builders company is also offering a voucher to the value of SCR 10,000 ($730) for athletes who get a gold medal,” said the Minister. In the last Indian Ocean Island Games in 2015 in Reunion, an overseas French department, Seychelles won 96 medals -- 25 gold, 39 silver and 3 bronze. Mondon said that although money is an incentive, it not the only source of motivation. “An athlete must concentrate on improving individual and team performance to be able to win more medals. For this to happen, they have to commit physically and mentally until the end of the games. Sometimes there can be a little disappointment but it is important to remain focus on our objectives and not let ourselves be discouraged,” she said. Seychellois athletes are being called on to maintain a good team spirit, a high level of solidarity and to keep the flame of desire to win burning. “This is the reason why all of Seychelles will be applauding and encouraging throughout the games because we want you to come back many medals. In wishing all athletes success for the 10the edition of the games, Mondon recited the motto of Team Seychelles -- “Kwar e Reisir’’ (Believe and Succeed).  

R. Kelly arrested on child pornography, other charges

R&B superstar R. Kelly has been arrested on suspicion of having sex with five underage girls, recording some of it on video tapes, and then attempting to hide the evidence, US prosecutors said Friday. A 13-count indictment returned Thursday in Chicago al
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R. Kelly arrested on child pornography, other charges

R&B superstar R. Kelly has been arrested on suspicion of having sex with five underage girls, recording some of it on video tapes, and then attempting to hide the evidence, US prosecutors said Friday. A 13-count indictment returned Thursday in Chicago also alleged the 52-year-old singer intimidated victims and concealed evidence in a 2008 trial that ended in his acquittal of child pornography charges. The latest charges include receiving and producing child pornography, enticing a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity and obstruction of justice. A separate federal indictment unsealed in New York Thursday accused Kelly of recruiting women and girls for sex. Federal agents arrested the Grammy Award winner Thursday night while he walked his dog in Chicago, his lawyer Steve Greenberg said in a statement. Two former employees of his music business -- Derrel McDavid and Milton Brown -- also were charged in the case. The Chicago indictment alleges Kelly met the five victims in the 1990s and had sex with them when they were under age 18, «creating numerous explicit videos with four of them,» federal prosecutors said in a statement. - Payments for videos - According to the indictment, Kelly and McDavid began paying an acquaintance hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2001 to collect the videos in an effort to hide evidence. When the unidentified acquaintance planned to go public with the videos, the indictment alleges, Kelly, McDavid and others paid him $170,000 to cancel the event. Kelly, whose legal name is Robert Kelly, was already facing Illinois state felony charges of aggravated sexual assault, and was out on bail at the time of his arrest. «The conduct alleged appears to largely be the same as the conduct previously alleged against Mr Kelly in his current state indictment and the former state charges that he was acquitted of,» Kelly's lawyer Greenberg said. «Most, if not all, of the conduct alleged is decades old,» he added. Kelly has a decades-long history of abuse allegations, especially of underage girls. In 1994 he wed his protege Aaliyah, the late R&B star who was 15 at the time. Kelly, then 27, had produced the teenage singer's debut album titled «Age Ain't Nothing But a Number.» Their marriage was later annulled, and Aaliyah died in a plane crash in 2001. Despite unsettling claims against him, the decorated musician -- known for hits including «I Believe I Can Fly» -- has continued to perform and maintain a solid fan base. - 'Surviving R Kelly' - But his fortunes began to shift after the January release of a six-part documentary called «Surviving R. Kelly.» The documentary, which alleged that Kelly engaged in sexual, mental and physical abuse of girls and women, prompted Chicago prosecutors to publicly seek out potential victims. After the state charges were filed in February, Kelly spent three nights behind bars and was released after coming up with $100,000, a tenth of the $1 million bail set in court. The sex acts are alleged to have occurred between May 1998 and January 2010, according to prosecutors. If convicted of the most serious charges in that case, Kelly would face mandatory sentences of six to 30 years in prison on each count. The latest federal charges carry sentences that range from five to 20 years. In a March interview, Kelly vehemently denied the charges and said he was «fighting» for his life. «I didn't do this stuff,» he told CBS News. «Whether they're old rumors, new rumors, future rumors, not true,» added Kelly, who became upset and emotional during the interview. He denied a report by BuzzFeed in 2017 that said he had kept women as virtual sex slaves at homes he owns in Chicago and Atlanta. Kelly was also briefly detained in March for failing to pay $161,000 in child support payments he owed to his ex-wife and their three children. © Agence France-Presse

Many who answered online survey believe corruption is an issue in Seychelles, group says

Corruption is perceived to be an issue in Seychelles by a majority of people who took an online survey, according to Transparency Initiative Seychelles.  The survey -- People’s Perception of Corruption in Seychelles – launched on Facebook in May thi
Seychelles News Agency

Many who answered online survey believe corruption is an issue in Seychelles, group says

Corruption is perceived to be an issue in Seychelles by a majority of people who took an online survey, according to Transparency Initiative Seychelles.  The survey -- People’s Perception of Corruption in Seychelles – launched on Facebook in May this year, revealed that people have the tendency to think that land and housing, executive, finance and police are sectors where corruption is most likely to happen. In a recent interview with SNA, the project coordinator of the Transparency Initiative Seychelles, Marie-France Watson, said: “Seychelles was rocked by several land corruption allegations. While the outcomes of these remain quiet, and ‘on-hold’, the severity of the allegations, made against individuals who held the highest powers in the sector potentially indicate why land and housing sits on top of the list.” The survey pointed out that the disappearance of $50 million, the Small Business Finance Loans’ scandal, corruption within the Financial Investigation Unit (FIU) were the issues of major debates. These have enlightened the extent that corruption has infiltrated the government and procurement systems and why the executive and finance sectors are also ranked high on the list. Around 172 people filled in the survey, which started in June.  Amongst the number 166 (96 percent) think that corruption is an issue. The survey -- People’s Perception of Corruption in Seychelles was launched on Facebook in May this year. (Transparency Initiative Seychelles/Facebook) Photo License: CC-BY  The survey had nine questions and is part of the European Union project ‘Towards Improving Good Governance, Transparency, and Accountability in Seychelles." The data collected will help the initiative to produce advocacy materials on what the country needs to improve transparency and accountability. The survey was designed and launched using Monkey Survey software which enabled the identification of participation to remain confidential. Watson said that the survey was opened for different age groups as it will be good to know what different people of different ages think about corruption. “Out of 172 participants, 100 were women. Majority were aged between 32-41 and the age group with the least amount of participants was the 18-21 group,” said Watson.  The final question in the survey required the respondent to indicate which option(s) was best suited to curb corruption in Seychelles. Increase in salaries was the only option which scored the least, with all other options which included severe punishment, public awareness, improved legislation and transparency in decision making proved to be popular amongst respondents. Transparency in decision making at all levels’ topped the rest however with most respondents selecting it as the most effective action in preventing corruption. “This indicates demand from the respondents, who wish to see more transparency in functions and decisions taken by the government,” said Watson. Transparency Initiative Seychelles is a not for profit organisation launched in April 2017 to help fight against corruption and bribery. It is part of the global entity Transparency International. This year, Seychelles improved eight places on the global Corruption Perceptions Index for 2018, ranking 28th out of 180 countries -- the best performance for the island nation since the index started in 1995. The chairperson of Transparency Initiative Seychelles, Chrystold Chetty, had attributed the ranking to the progress made by Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean. “For example, the government has put in place different mechanisms such as the Access to Information Act, the Anti-Corruption Act that has permitted a lot of work to be done, although little result has been produced,” Chetty had told SNA. To date, the Anti-Corruption Commission, which takes up cases of corruption has recorded 117 cases of corruption, out of which four cases have been withdrawn before the Attorney-General office to be re-examined. Earlier this year, Seychelles’ Supreme Court sentenced the former Complaints and Communications Manager of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Abison De Giorgio, to eight years imprisonment and a fine of $5,000. De Giorgio was found guilty on three different counts of corruption: extortion, disclosing sensitive information and corruptly soliciting gratification in exchange for delaying an ongoing investigation on former minister Dolor Ernesta. 

Madagascar fairytale ends as Tunisia sweep into semi-finals

Tunisia ended Madagascar's fairytale Africa Cup of Nations run in the quarter-finals on Thursday with a 3-0 win over the tournament debutants in Cairo. Ferjani Sassi's heavily deflected strike gave Tunisia the lead early in the second half at Al Salam Stadiu
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Madagascar fairytale ends as Tunisia sweep into semi-finals

Tunisia ended Madagascar's fairytale Africa Cup of Nations run in the quarter-finals on Thursday with a 3-0 win over the tournament debutants in Cairo. Ferjani Sassi's heavily deflected strike gave Tunisia the lead early in the second half at Al Salam Stadium and Youssef Msakni squeezed home a second on 60 minutes. Naim Sliti added a third in injury time to send Tunisia through to a semi-final showdown with Sadio Mane's Senegal, with the Carthage Eagles into the last four for the first time since clinching their only title when they hosted the 2004 edition. «We're the first to beat Madagascar. We had to do it to qualify and that proves the quality of this team,» said Tunisia coach Alain Giresse. «When you get to this stage, for which Tunisia was waiting for several years... We want to go as far as possible. We haven't stolen it from anyone, we deserve it.» Madagascar coach Nicolas Dupuis, whose contract was set to expire at the end of the competition, admitted Tunisia were simply too strong. «I'm very proud of what the players have done since the start of the tournament. I tip my hat to them,» said Dupuis. «Today the step was too high. As for my future, it doesn't matter much. I'm someone loyal and my priority is Madagascar.» Giresse recalled Wahbi Khazri to Tunisia's attack as the lone change to the side that overcame Ghana in a last-16 penalty shootout, while Marco Ilaimaharitra returned from suspension as Madagascar fielded the same team used throughout the group phase. - Tunisia get first win - Tunisia, the continent's second-ranked side at 25th in the world, had reached the quarter-finals here without winning a single game following four successive draws. After matches in Suez and Ismailia, this was a first Cairo outing for the north Africans, who controlled possession early on, but didn't truly threaten until a sweetly struck Khazri free-kick was superbly flicked onto the bar by Madagascar goalkeeper Melvin Adrien. Ghailene Chaalali forced Adrien to push an awkward low shot behind while Mouez Hassen, apologetic after his angry reaction to being substituted ahead of the shootout in the last round, was largely untested except from a long-range Ibrahim Amada effort. Madagascar were trying to become the first newcomers since South Africa in 1996 to reach the semi-finals, but their hopes were effectively extinguished by the hour. Khazri had a goal disallowed for offside straight after half-time, but Sassi struck minutes later when his tame shot from the edge of the area hit Thomas Fontaine and spun past a helpless Adrien. Msakni promptly doubled Tunisia's advantage, jumping on a rebound to slip the ball low beyond Adrien moments after he parried a shot from Khazri. Charles Andriamahitsinoro, who scored twice for Madagascar in the group stage, looked to be through on goal after a long punt forward but failed to muster a shot. Amada was unable to reproduce his wonder strike from the DR Congo tie as he sliced wide from distance. This was the first competitive meeting between the countries in almost two decades, and while Dupuis has transformed Madagascar from a team once ranked 190th, Sliti's injury-time goal, created by a long Khazri run on the counter, ensured it was the end of a remarkable adventure for the 'Barea'. © Agence France-Presse

Following Notre Dame fire, Seychelles raises pot of money for Parisian cathedral

The Choral Music Society of Seychelles has raised a small donation while also giving a solidarity concert in honour of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. The Mayor of Victoria, David Andre, told SNA a total of $330 was raised during the concert on S
Seychelles News Agency

Following Notre Dame fire, Seychelles raises pot of money for Parisian cathedral

The Choral Music Society of Seychelles has raised a small donation while also giving a solidarity concert in honour of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. The Mayor of Victoria, David Andre, told SNA a total of $330 was raised during the concert on Sunday. The donation will be handed over to the French Embassy to show Seychelles' solidarity towards a globally recognised religious site. Andre explained that in July 2003 “the Choral Music Society of Seychelles had the chance to go to France, and had the privileged opportunity to perform a concert in the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.” “It was an incredible experience to have a choir from Seychelles performing in the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris as not many people get the chance to do so. When we learnt that the fire happened, as a symbolic gesture it was agreed that it would be a good initiative to do a concert and at the same time conduct a little fundraising,” said Andre. After the concert on Sunday the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Seychelles, Denis Wiehe, told the Seychelles Nation newspaper that «it is a tradition in the church and in our society to organise such concerts.” “I am very happy that we have been able to do something for the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris because it is a world heritage. It is important that the people of Seychelles, including other peoples of the world, have the opportunity to participate in this contribution,» said Wiehe. The Notre Dame Cathedral which is a landmark in the French capital, Paris, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991. It was badly damaged in by a fire on Maye 15. The 90-metre-high spire and parts of the roof completely collapsed. Following the fire, over $2 billion was donated towards the reconstruction of the cathedral. The construction of the Notre-Dame Cathedral was completed in 1345. The medieval-style Catholic cathedral is consecrated to the Virgin Mary and is considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. After Victor Hugo published his novel ‘The Hunchback of Notre-Dame’ in 1831, popular interest in the cathedral blossomed. 

New group, Preserve Seychelles, takes apolitical approach to fight for sovereignty of nation

Preserve Seychelles, a new association aimed at protecting the sovereignty of the island nation, was launched on Saturday. The roots of Preserve Seychelles began in early 2018 when the government announced a plan to build a military base on the island of As
Seychelles News Agency

New group, Preserve Seychelles, takes apolitical approach to fight for sovereignty of nation

Preserve Seychelles, a new association aimed at protecting the sovereignty of the island nation, was launched on Saturday. The roots of Preserve Seychelles began in early 2018 when the government announced a plan to build a military base on the island of Assumption with the help of the Indian government. A group of people who were against the project took to the streets to protest and led a petition against the plan, which eventually led to the project being shelved. After making such an impact, the protesters decided to come together as a group, said the secretary of Preserve Seychelles, Julia Morin, at the launching ceremony at Chilli Bar and Restaurant, La Louise, in the central Mahe district of Plaisance. “The minute we see something that threatens our sovereignty, identity and existence as a nation, we should react and tackle it immediately. So having a registered association gives us a platform to do just that and we are inviting all Seychellois and anyone who has Seychelles at heart to come forward and do what needs to be done to preserve, protect and defend Seychelles, ” said Morin. Other than campaigning against a military base on Assumption, Preserve Seychelles also promotes environmental protection and a ‘Seychelles First’ policy. Preserve Seychelles also wants to educate the youth of the island nation about the sovereignty of the archipelago and to keep Seychelles free from foreign interference. The protest was done after Seychelles and India signed a 20-year agreement in February 2018  for the construction of a naval base on Assumption Island. (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY Morin said the group's motto -- ‘Friends to All, Enemy to None,’ a quote late former President James Mancham -- is also apolitical. “Politics is divisive and we don’t want a person to impose his or her political ideology in the group. We are for Seychelles, for our children’s future and not promoting any party’s political agenda,” said Morin. Now that Preserve Seychelles is a registered body, Morin added that it will have more powers. “We have our constitution and now instead of only taking to the streets to protest, we can challenge the authorities. We can go as far as requesting an injunction on any future development on Assumption for example,” she added. One of the founding members, Raoul Rene Payet, said that Preserve Seychelles has come at an opportune time when the country is facing many challenges. “Seychellois should come forward and make their voices heard instead of relying only on politicians. We have the power, we can make things happen and people should realise this,” said Payet. He refuted comments that the group is xenophobic. “Every time we fight for our rights, we are branded xenophobic. We are not. We welcome any nationalities but what we want to see Seychellois being given priority in everything. We cannot go look for our rights elsewhere, we have to do it here, this is our country,” said Payet. Another founding member, Anne-Marie Isaac, said she joined Preserve Seychelles because she wants to see a better Seychelles for her children and grandchildren. “I am concerned when I see that a lot of jobs are today being done by foreigners, that our children are on drugs, that our islands are threatened. I want to fight to remedy these situations so that the future generation can enjoy our sovereignty”, said Isaac. Preserve Seychelles said it will soon hold its first Annual General Meeting. At the launching, the association also launched its theme song produced by popular local artist, Gilles Lionnet, entitled  ‘Zil An Danze’ Creole for island in danger. 

The Seychelles brand: Sea, sun and sand? Or culture, tradition and people?

Will the sea, sun and sand work in coming years as Seychelles' brand? Or should it expand to include culture and tradition? The island nation's tourism department is launching a new five-year strategy that will help examine that question.  The tourism mas
Seychelles News Agency

The Seychelles brand: Sea, sun and sand? Or culture, tradition and people?

Will the sea, sun and sand work in coming years as Seychelles' brand? Or should it expand to include culture and tradition? The island nation's tourism department is launching a new five-year strategy that will help examine that question.  The tourism master plan, launched last Thursday by the tourism minister, Didier Dogley, analyses the tourism industry at present, while a parallel strategic plan outlines the eight priority areas the department will be focusing on to ensure sustainable development within the sector. The principal secretary for tourism, Anne Lafortune, noted that the previous master plan for 2012-2020 needed a review and has been updated to better address current realities in the tourism industry. She told SNA that the Seychelles brand -- what tourists associate with the 115-island archipelago in the western Indian Ocean -- needs to be relooked at. “At the moment Seychelles’ existing brand orientates around the sea, sun, beach and nature. Do we want to maintain the brand as it is or do we need to add more such as culture, tradition, and the people themselves? We need to relook at what we sell and encompass all that Seychelles stands for,” said Lafortune. On the second priority within Destination 2023, Lafortune said that there is a need to study other tourism markets contributing to arrival numbers. At the moment Europe is the leading contributing market, however, there is a need to tap deeper into others. “We need to study markets such as India, America, Latin America, Africa as a whole, to see if it will be worth it to extend to these markets as well instead of just focusing on Europe alone. This is an area that is important for us to work on,” said Lafortune. The ministry is also working to see that diverse products and services are being offered to visitors in the country. Ensuring Seychelles’ competitiveness as a tourism destination within the region, investing in sustainable tourism growth, and human resource are also in the strategic plan.’ “We also want to make sure that the government is putting adequate policies, services and infrastructures in place to ensure that tourism remains the main pillar of our economy. We also need to make sure that we are delivering on our key deliveries,” said Lafortune. She added that there is a demand for more rooms. “There are 3,000 rooms that have been approved but have not yet been built. We need to push to make that happen,” said Lafortune. Following through and attaining all the priorities will ensure that the tourism sector remains the number one pillar of the island nation’s economy. 

Consumption of sugary drinks linked with cancer risk: study

Consumption of sugary drinks such as soda and fruit juice is linked to a higher risk of developing certain kinds of cancer, researchers reported on Thursday. The consumption of sugary drinks has exploded worldwide in recent decades and the high-calorie bever
Seychelles News Agency

Consumption of sugary drinks linked with cancer risk: study

Consumption of sugary drinks such as soda and fruit juice is linked to a higher risk of developing certain kinds of cancer, researchers reported on Thursday. The consumption of sugary drinks has exploded worldwide in recent decades and the high-calorie beverages have already been associated with a elevated risk of obesity -- itself recognised as a leading cancer risk factor. A team of researchers in France wanted to assess the associations between heightened consumption of sugar drinks and the risks of overall cancer, as well as several cancer types, including breast, prostate and bowel cancers. They surveyed more than 100,000 adults, with an average of age of 42, 79 percent of whom were women. The participants, who were followed for a maximum of nine years, completed at least two 24-hour online validated dietary questionnaires, calculating their daily consumption of sugar and artificially sweetened beverages as well as 100 percent fruit juices. Researchers measured the daily intakes of sugary drinks against those of diet beverages and compared them to cancer cases in participants' medical records during the follow-up period. They found that just a 100 ml increase per day of sugary drinks was associated with an 18 percent increased risk of cancer, and with a 22 percent increase in breast cancer. Both sugar-sweetened drinks and fruit juices saw a similar higher risk association. During a follow-up, researchers found 2,193 cases of cancer were diagnosed, the average age at diagnosis being 59 years. Authors of the study, which appeared in the BMJ medical journal, stressed their work was based on observation and so could not establish the cause of cancer prognoses. But the sample size was large and they adjusted for a number of other influential factors. Its authors suggested that, based on their findings, taxing sugary products could have a significant impact on cancer rates. «This large, well-designed study adds to the existing evidence that consumption of sugary drinks may be associated with increased risk of some cancers,» Graham Wheeler, senior statistician of the Cancer Research UK said of the study. © Agence France-Presse

3 global awards proving the world recognizes Seychelles' environmental commitment

Seychelles – 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean -- is known for its pristine and well-protected environment. In the last few years, there has been increasing emphasis on the need to use the ocean’s resources in a sustainable manner. SNA brings you t
Seychelles News Agency

3 global awards proving the world recognizes Seychelles' environmental commitment

Seychelles – 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean -- is known for its pristine and well-protected environment. In the last few years, there has been increasing emphasis on the need to use the ocean’s resources in a sustainable manner. SNA brings you three prestigious awards presented to President Danny Faure in recognition of Seychelles' commitment to the Blue Economy.    November 2018 – Blue Economy Award President Danny Faure received the Blue Economy Award on African maritime sectors in Kenya from the African Union Commission.   The award, which was presented by the chairperson of the Commission, Moussa Fakki, recognises countries, associations, and individuals who have made significant contributions towards Africa’s Blue Economy agenda. “This award recognises Seychelles as a champion of the Blue Economy in the maritime sector, across the African continent and around the world,’ Faure said whilst accepting the prize. (State House) Photo license: CC-BY    June 2019 - National Geographic Society Planetary Leadership Award Another prestigious award which was bestowed on Seychelles and received by the president was the Planetary and LeadershipAward. Danny Faure and the former President James Michel were both recognized during the National Geographic Awards ceremony, in Washington D.C. The Planetary and Leadership award recognizes 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. (State House) Photo license: CC-BY    July 2019 - Shark Research Institute award for protection of marine areas The latest award to be received by Seychelles’ President Danny Faure is the Ocean Heritage Award from the Shark Research Institute based in the United States in recognition of the protection of the island nation's marine territory. Faure received the award in recognition of the marine protection of 30 percent of Seychelles' Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ) and his global advocacy for the ocean and environment conservation. “I am honoured to receive this award on behalf of the government, and I dedicate it to the people of Seychelles. As a Small Island Developing State being affected by climate change, it is crucial that we work collectively to safeguard our future generations.” (State House) Photo license: CC-BY   

Air Seychelles to begin weekly flights to Israel in November

The Seychelles’ national carrier, Air Seychelles, will offer a new service linking the island nation with Tel Aviv, Israel, starting end of November. Air Seychelles made the announcement in a press conference on Tuesday. The new service will operate on We
Seychelles News Agency

Air Seychelles to begin weekly flights to Israel in November

The Seychelles’ national carrier, Air Seychelles, will offer a new service linking the island nation with Tel Aviv, Israel, starting end of November. Air Seychelles made the announcement in a press conference on Tuesday. The new service will operate on Wednesdays starting November 27 from Seychelles with the returning flight a week later from Tel Aviv. Michael Berlouis, the chief financial officer of Air Seychelles, said the new direct flight to Tel Aviv will be a first for the Indian Ocean region. “The creation of the first ever air corridor between Seychelles and Tel Aviv will strengthen business, tourism and cultural ties between the two countries in addition to boosting traffic and onward connection to other destinations across our network,” said Berlouis. He added that Seychelles is considered a safe destination for Israelis so the once per week service will “enable us to open up the Seychelles market, evaluate and develop the destination further in addition to exploring the possibility of even introducing the second Airbus A320neo on the route if need be as Tel Aviv has a high GDP per capita.”. The route also fits in with the new business plan of Air Seychelles. The airline announced the changes to its regional network in March as part of its business transformation plan to further strengthened and safeguard the sustainability of the airline. As part of its network adjustments, the airline said it will concentrate on developing its operations in the region. As a cautionary approach, Berlouis said that the airline is partnering with tour operators in Tel Aviv to secure the majority of seats to be sold from Tel Aviv as one or two package holidays in Seychelles and Mauritius. Air Seychelles is already facing a competitive environment and the island nation’s President Danny Faure said in his State of the Nation address that the government will subsidise Air Seychelles $6 million per year for the next five years starting next year. The national carrier of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, was established in 1978 and began long-haul service in 1983. Air Seychelles currently offers international flights to Johannesburg, Mauritius and Mumbai.

Madagascar tongue-twisters tackle Tunisia for semi-finals place

Before the Africa Cup of Nations kicked off in Egypt last month, Madagascar were best known for the tongue-twisting surnames of players such as Anicet Andrianantenaina and Charles Andriamahitsinoro. Now, 20 days into the biennial tournament, the Indian Ocea
Seychelles News Agency

Madagascar tongue-twisters tackle Tunisia for semi-finals place

Before the Africa Cup of Nations kicked off in Egypt last month, Madagascar were best known for the tongue-twisting surnames of players such as Anicet Andrianantenaina and Charles Andriamahitsinoro. Now, 20 days into the biennial tournament, the Indian Ocean islanders have stunned three-time champions Nigeria and are preparing to face Tunisia on Thursday in the last quarter-final. While France-born coach Nicolas Dupuis insists «the team is the star», midfielder Andrianantenaina and forward Andriamahitsinoro have caught the eye. Bulgaria-based Andrianantenaina was among the 11 footballers chosen by a Confederation of African Football (CAF) panel as the best in the 36-match group phase. Andriamahitsinoro, who plays for a Saudi Arabian club, made the substitutes' list in the group 'dream team', and his two goals have put him in contention for the Golden Boot award. «The coach is correct to say the team is the star and, sometimes, an individual will stand out when we need him to. That is our strength,» explained Andriamahitsinoro. He stands out on the field because he has blond dyed hair and is tall in a squad of mostly medium-height footballers. Tunisia coach Alain Giresse says his first target of a last-eight place has been achieved, adding: «We are capable of lifting the trophy 15 years after doing so for the first time.» Here, AFP Sport looks at Thursday's last-eight matches as Algeria face the Ivory Coast in a clash of former champions before Madagascar meet 2004 winners Tunisia. Madagascar v Tunisia The countries have met competitively only twice with Tunisia winning 1-0 at home and 2-0 away in 2002 World Cup qualifying. Since then, Tunisia hosted and won a Cup of Nations while Madagascar became so weak that the Democratic Republic of Congo went to Antananarivo three years ago and won a qualifier 6-1. But while unimpressive Tunisia reached the quarter-finals with four straight draws -- a penalty shootout win over Ghana was officially classified as a draw -- Madagascar blossomed. Apart from the 2-0 triumph over African powerhouses Nigeria, they defeated fellow debutants Burundi and held Guinea and DR Congo playing eye-pleasing football. Should Madagascar eliminate vastly more experienced Tunisia, they will become the first Cup of Nations debutants since South Africa in 1996 to reach the semi-finals. Algeria v Ivory Coast This clash extends one of the great rivalries in the tournament with the Ivorian Elephants winning three and the Algerian Desert Foxes two of seven previous meetings. When they last met, in a 2015 quarter-final, Ivory Coast triumphed 3-1 with Serey Die part of the winning team while the losing line-up included Riyad Mahrez. The midfielders, who have contrasting roles with Die primarily a destroyer and Mahrez a creator, captain the teams in Suez four years later. Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi believes his team, the only survivors with a 100 percent record in Egypt, can go all the way, saying: «It does not cost anything to be ambitious.» Rival coach Ibrahim Kamara is saying little during this Cup of Nations while a side boasting star attackers like Nicolas Pepe, Jonathan Kodjia and Wilfried Zaha has yet to sparkle. © Agence France-Presse

Seychelles' president receives Shark Research Institute award for protection of marine areas

The Seychelles’ President Danny Faure has received the Ocean Heritage Award from the Shark Research Institute based in the United States in recognition of the protection of the island nation's marine territory. The award was formally presented to Faure by
Seychelles News Agency

Seychelles' president receives Shark Research Institute award for protection of marine areas

The Seychelles’ President Danny Faure has received the Ocean Heritage Award from the Shark Research Institute based in the United States in recognition of the protection of the island nation's marine territory. The award was formally presented to Faure by the chairperson of the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles (MCSS) and local representative of Shark Research Institute, David Rowat, at State House on Tuesday. Faure received the award in recognition of the marine protection of 30 percent of Seychelles' Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ) and his global advocacy for the ocean and environment conservation. “I am honoured to receive this award on behalf of the government, and I dedicate it to the people of Seychelles,« Faure said, according to the news release. »As a Small Island Developing State being affected by climate change, it is crucial that we work collectively to safeguard our future generations.” Faure also expressed his appreciation to the Shark Research Institute for the award and commended Rowat and his team for the amazing work being done in environment conservation by both MCSS and the Institute. The Ocean Heritage Award is only given to heads of states who have truly made outstanding contributions to the health of the ocean, for their work in protecting sharks and the marine habitat and in the hope that their leadership encourages other nations to follow suit. There have been only two previous recipients of the Shark Research Institute’s Ocean Heritage Award. The first one was awarded in 2008, to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Philippines, in recognition of her decades of efforts to protect sharks and the ocean ecosystem. The second one in 2010 went to Johnson Toribiong, President of Palau, for designating the entire 237,000 square miles of the EEZ of Palau as the world’s first shark sanctuary. When presenting the award, Rowat said, “There are not many world leaders who have been the recipient of this award. I think the award is very important for Seychelles as it reflects what were are doing is having an impact globally.” Rowat told reporters that the meeting with Faure was very good and that “the president enjoys the marine environment. He has always been very opened and honest about these things.” Following the presentation, Rowat briefed the president on some of the ongoing environment conservation projects being undertaken by MCSS. The award comes a month after Faure and former President James Michel received the Planetary and Leadership Award at the National Geographic Awards ceremony at the George Washington University, in Washington D.C.

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