“Jasmine Revolution”
Symbol of peace: Flowers placed on the barrel of a tank
in very much calmer protests than in recent days in Tunisia

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011
Mannoubia Bouazizi, the mother of Tunisian street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi. "Mohammed suffered a lot. He worked hard. but when he set fire to himself, it wasn’t about his scales being confiscated. It was about his dignity." (Peter Hapak for TIME)

1 - TUNISIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

How eyepatches became a symbol of Egypt's revolution - Graffiti depicting a high ranking army officer with an eye patch Photograph: Nasser Nasser/ASSOCIATED PRESS

2 - EGYPT Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

''17 February Revolution"

3 - LIBYA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

5 - SYRIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

"25 January Youth Revolution"
Muslim and Christian shoulder-to-shoulder in Tahrir Square
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
(Subjects: Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" (without a manager hierarchy) managed Businesses, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)
"The End of History" – Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)
(Subjects:Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, Arabs, EU, US, Israel, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

"If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening."

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

African Union (AU)

African Union (AU)
African Heads of State pose for a group photo ahead of the start of the 28th African Union summit in Addis Ababa on January 30, 2017 (AFP Photo/ Zacharias ABUBEKER)

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela
Few words can describe Nelson Mandela, so we let him speak for himself. Happy birthday, Madiba.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Arab leaders condemn US Golan decision at summit

Yahoo – AFP, March 31, 2019

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani (2L) left the 30th Arab League summit
shortly after it began Sunday, state media said, without explaning why (AFP

Tunis (AFP) - Arab leaders slammed the US decision to recognise the Golan Heights as Israeli territory at a summit in Tunis on Sunday, but struggled for further unity as Qatar's emir left the meeting early.

In a final declaration the Arab League summit said it "affirmed that the Golan is occupied Syrian territory according to international law, the decisions of the United Nations and the Security Council".

A separate statement dedicated solely to the issue called Washington's move "invalid and illegitimate".

"It is true that America is the strongest military force in the world, but its decision is absolutely worthless," League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit told a closing news conference.

President Donald Trump signed a proclamation Monday in which the United States recognised Israel's annexation of the strategic plateau that it seized in 1967 and annexed in 1981.

Israel's move has not been recognised internationally, and three UN Security Council resolutions have called for it to withdraw from the territory.

Trump's shift on Golan had already drawn a string of angry reactions from Arab capitals, despite proving problematic for key regional US allies such as Saudi Arabia.

The decision has also drawn criticism from other Security Council members and been rejected by the European Union.

The united front shown at the Tunis summit on the issue failed to mask other deep divisions inside the Arab League, as it struggles with major headaches such as a diplomatic crisis in the Gulf and conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

In an apparent sign of the tensions, Qatar's Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani quit the gathering "after attending the opening ceremony", the Gulf state's official QNA news agency reported, without giving any further details.

A Tunisian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Qatari leader had walked out during the speech of League chief Aboul Gheit, and "has left Tunisia".

Qatar is at the centre of a bitter Gulf standoff since June 2017, when Saudi Arabia along with the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain severed ties with Doha.

The Saudi-led bloc accuses Doha of supporting extremist groups and being too close to Iran, charges Qatar denies.

The meeting in Tunis had brought together Saudi King Salman and the emir for a rare encounter.

But an appeal by Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi for the region to "overcome its differences" appeared to have little impact as the Qatari ruler left prematurely.

In his opening speech Aboul Gheit had blasted Turkey and Iran for their "interference" in Arab countries, insisting that Tehran and Ankara had worsened regional crises.

Related Article:

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Pope signs Jerusalem declaration on Morocco trip

Yahoo – AFP, Sophie Pons and Catherine Marciano, March 30, 2019

Pope Francis is the first pontiff to visit Morocco since John Paul II in
1985 (AFP Photo/CIRO FUSCO)

Rabat (AFP) - Pope Francis on Saturday joined Morocco's King Mohammed VI in saying Jerusalem should be a "symbol of peaceful coexistence" for Christians, Jews and Muslims, on the first day of a visit to the North African country.

The spiritual leader of the world's 1.3 billion Catholics was invited by King Mohammed VI for the sake of "interreligious dialogue", according to Moroccan authorities.

In a joint statement, the two leaders said Jerusalem was "common patrimony of humanity and especially the followers of the three monotheistic religions."

"The specific multi-religious character, the spiritual dimension and the particular cultural identity of Jerusalem... must be protected and promoted," they said in the declaration released by the Vatican as the pontiff visited Rabat.

The Moroccan king chairs a committee created by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to safeguard and restore Jerusalem's religious, cultural and architectural heritage.

The joint statement came after US President Donald Trump's landmark recognition of the disputed city as capital of Israel, which sparked anger across the Muslim world, especially from Palestinians who see Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Improving relations with other religions has been a priority for the Argentine pontiff, whose papacy has been marred by clergy facing a wave of child sex abuse allegations.

Thousands of Moroccans greeted Pope Francis in the capital Rabat 
(AFP Photo/Alberto PIZZOLI)

Opposing extremism

Addressing thousands of Moroccans who had braved the rain to attend the welcome ceremony, Francis said it was "essential to oppose fanaticism".

He stressed the need for "appropriate preparation of future religious guides", ahead of meeting trainee imams later on Saturday.

Catholics are a tiny minority Morocco, where 99 percent of the population is Muslim. The king is revered across West Africa as "commander of the faithful".

Speaking at the ceremony at the Tour (or tower) Hassan mosque and nearby mausoleum in Rabat, the monarch also voiced opposition to radicalism.

"That which terrorists have in common is not religion, it's precisely the ignorance of religion. It's time that religion is no longer an alibi... for this ignorance, for this intolerance," he said.

Francis rode to the ceremony in his Popemobile, passing rows of Moroccan and Vatican City flags and an estimated 12,000 well-wishers who packed the esplanade.

Buildings had been repainted, lawns manicured and security stepped up ahead of the first papal visit to Morocco since John Paul II in 1985.

A 17-year-old was arrested after trying to throw himself onto the king's limousine to seek the monarch's help, the police said.

Pope Francis (L) was welcomed to Rabat by Morocco's King 
Mohammed VI (AFP Photo/Fadel SENNA)

Some 130,000 people across Rabat watched the first stage of the pope's visit, which was beamed onto giant screens, officials said.

'Right to a future'

After stopping by the royal palace, Francis and Mohammed visited an institute where around 1,300 students are studying to become imams and preachers.

There they heard from a French and a Nigerian student of the institute, which teaches "moderate Islam" and is backed by the king.

In Morocco, where Islam is the state religion, authorities are keen to stress the country's "religious tolerance" which allows Christians and Jews to worship freely.

But Moroccans are automatically considered Muslim, apart from a minority who are born Jewish. Apostasy is socially frowned upon, and proselytising is a criminal offence.

Those who try to "rock the faith of a Muslim or to convert him to another religion" risk a prison term of up to three years.

After years in the shadows, since 2017 the small number of converts have called openly for the right to live "without persecution" and "without discrimination".

The pope finished his Saturday schedule by meeting migrants (AFP Photo/
Alberto PIZZOLI)

Around 30,000 to 35,000 Catholics live in Morocco, many of them from sub-Saharan Africa.

The pope finished his Saturday schedule by meeting migrants -- including children dressed in colourful hats -- at a centre run by Catholic humanitarian organisation Caritas.

"Everyone has the right to a future," said Francis, who has throughout his papacy highlighted the plight of migrants and refugees.

He criticised "collective expulsions" and said ways for migrants to regularise their status should be encouraged.

Caritas centres in Rabat, Casablanca and Tangiers welcomed 7,551 new arrivals in 2017, according to the charity, helping migrants access services.

The number of people taking the sea route from Morocco to Spain has recently surged as it has become harder for them to pass through Libya.

Rabat claims to have a "humanistic" approach to migration and rejects allegations by rights groups of "brutal arrest campaigns" and "forced displacement" to the country's southern border.

On Sunday, the pope will celebrate mass at a Rabat stadium with an estimated 10,000 people attending.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Moroccan teachers stage new demo over benefits

Yahoo – AFP, March 24, 2019

Moroccan teachers protesting in the capital called for permanent work contracts

Rabat (AFP) - Thousands of teachers flooded the streets of the Moroccan capital on Sunday to demand better conditions after a nighttime protest dispersed by riot police left dozens wounded.

Teachers on temporary contracts have been on strike since March 3 demanding permanent employment arrangements that would improve their rights and benefits, especially over retirement.

On Saturday night baton-wielding riot police used water cannons to disperse a protest by several thousand young teachers who marched peacefully in central Rabat chanting "freedom, dignity, social justice".

As night fell, demonstrators held aloft candles and used their mobile phones as torches, before setting up a makeshift camp in front of parliament.

Police moved in to break up the gathering after the protestors refused to leave following more than two hours of negotiations, according to an AFP journalist.

Moroccan police broke up the protest by teachers after more than two hours 
of negotiation failed (AFP Photo/FADEL SENNA)

Around 60 people were lightly wounded and taken to hospital, according to Othman Zeriouch, one of the organisers of the protest movement.

On Sunday morning several thousand teachers were back on the streets of Rabat, chanting slogans such as "we must safeguard free education" and "teaching is not a commodity".

They also demanded changes to current temporary contracts -- saying "the people want (their) abolition" -- in the protest which lasted several hours and followed a march to parliament.

Zeriouch said a meeting would be held later Sunday to discuss future action.

Teachers on temporary contracts enjoy the same salaries as their permanent colleagues -- 5,000 dirhams ($520) a month -- but unlike them do not have access to a pension fund and other benefits.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Germany pledges to speed return of colonial-era loot

Yahoo – AFP, March 14, 2019

Germany has agreed to speed up the return of human remains and artifacts from
its former African colonies. (AFP Photo/John MACDOUGALL)

Berlin (AFP) - Germany has agreed to speed up the return of human remains and artwork from former African colonies where the country carried out brutal massacres and pillaged indigenous heritage.

The German culture and foreign ministries as well as regional and local cultural authorities signed a pledge late Wednesday committing museums and scientific institutions to completing an inventory on their "ethnology, natural history, art and cultural history holdings" from the colonial era.

The aim is to determine which "were acquired in a way that legally or ethnically would no longer be acceptable today" and work toward their restitution.

"The priority in this work are the human remains dating from the colonial period" in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the signatories said.

The commitment comes after a study commissioned by French President Emmanuel Macron in November 2018 recommended returning African treasures held by French museums -- a radical policy shift seen as putting pressure on other former colonial powers.

Germany is unique among the powers in having large holdings of African human remains at museums, universities and in private collections that were used in pseudo-scientific studies.

"Research" carried out by German professor Eugen Fischer on the skulls and bones resulted in theories later used by the Nazis to justify the murder of Jews.

Germany has on several occasions repatriated human remains to Namibia, where it slaughtered of tens of thousands of indigenous Herero and Nama people between 1904 and 1908.

The German government announced in 2016 that it planned to issue an official apology for the atrocities committed by German imperial troops.

But it has repeatedly refused to pay direct reparations, citing millions of euros in development aid given to the Namibian government.

Beyond German South West Africa (present-day Namibia), the German empire held colonies from Togoland (now Togo) and what was then Kamerun (Cameroon) in the west, across to the far slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanganyika (Tanzania) in the east, as well as Pacific islands.

Germany this year earmarked 1.9 million euros ($2.2 million) to research the provenance of holdings acquired by museums during the colonial period.

The project will be spearheaded by the German Lost Art Foundation, which also studies the provenance of art suspected of having been looted by the Nazis.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Ethiopian Airlines Boeing crashes killing all 157 on board

Yahoo – AFP, Michael Tewelde in Bishoftu with Chris Stein in Addis Ababa, March 10, 2019

Red cross teams work through the debris after an Ethiopia Airlines flight to Nairobi
crashed shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 on board (AFP Photo/
Michael TEWELDE)

Bishoftu (Ethiopia) (AFP) - A Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines Boeing crashed minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa Sunday, killing all eight crew and 149 passengers on board, including tourists, business travellers, and "at least a dozen" UN staff.

Ethiopia declared a national day of mourning for Monday amid a global stream of condolences for loved ones, many of whom gathered in tears at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

"The House of People’s Representatives have declared March 11, 2019, a national day of mourning for citizens of all countries that have passed in this tragic accident," Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's office said on Twitter.

Identities of the victims from 35 countries started to emerge as foreign governments and the United Nations reacted with shock.

"Deeply saddened by the news this morning of the plane crash in Ethiopia, claiming the lives of all on board. My heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all the victims — including our own @UN staff — who perished in this tragedy," tweeted UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The passengers included "at least a dozen" UN-affiliated staff headed for an annual assembly of the UN Environment Programme, which opens in Nairobi Monday with some 4,700 heads of state, ministers, business leaders, senior UN officials and civil society representatives, a UN source told AFP.

Some of the UN staff were from the World Food Programme and UN refugee agency (UNHCR), the agencies said.

Rescue teams collect bodies at the crash site of an Ethiopia Airlines plane which 
came down near the capital Addis Ababa, killing all 157 on board (AFP Photo/
Michael TEWELDE)

Wife, son, daughter dead

Slovak MP Anton Hrnko was among the bereaved.

"It is with deep sorrow that I announce that my dear wife, Blanka, son Martin and daughter Michala, died in the air disaster in Addis Ababa this morning," he wrote on Facebook.

Flight ET 302 ploughed into a field 60 kilometres (37 miles) southeast of Addis Ababa on what the airline's CEO Tewolde GebreMariam labelled a "very sad and tragic day".

An eyewitness told AFP the plane came down in flames.

"The plane was already on fire when it crashed to the ground. The crash caused a big explosion," Tegegn Dechasa recounted at the site, littered with passenger belongings, human remains, and airplane parts around a massive crater at the point of impact.

"The plane was in flames in its rear side shortly before the crash. The plane was swerving erratically before the crash."

The Boeing 737-800MAX was brand new, delivered to state-owned Ethiopian Airways on November 15, said the carrier, Africa's largest.

The plane is the same type as the Indonesian Lion Air jet that crashed in October, 13 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.

A Chinese group look at the arrivals panel in Nairobi airport as they await information 
on the Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa which crashed Sunday with the loss 
of 157 lives. (AFP Photo/Yasuyoshi CHIBA)


Ethiopian Airlines said the plane had taken off at 8:38 am (0538 GMT) from Bole International Airport and "lost contact" six minutes later.

It came down near Tulu Fara village outside the town of Bishoftu.

The carrier, which changed its logo on Twitter to black and white from its trademark green, yellow, and red, said "there are no survivors".

"We can only hope that she is not on that flight," Peter Kimani, who had come to fetch his sister at Nairobi's JKIA, told AFP after news of the disaster reached those waiting in the arrivals hall.

Loved ones were later brought to the onsite Sheraton Hotel where they were debriefed and offered counselling. Journalists were not allowed in, but could hear sobbing from inside.

Ethiopian Airlines said Kenya had the largest number of casualties with 32, followed by Canada with 18, Ethiopia nine, then Italy, China, and the United States with eight each.

Britain and France each had seven people on board, Egypt six, and Germany five, according to the airline. France's government later said there were eight French victims though there was no explanation for the discrepency.

Twelve countries in Africa and 14 in Europe had citizens among the victims.

African Union commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat spoke of "utter shock and immense sadness", while Mahboub Maalim, executive secretary of the IGAD East African bloc, said the region and the world were in mourning.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and his British counterpart Theresa May both described the news as "devastating".

The scene of devastation where the Nairobi-bound Ethiopia Airlines plane came
down (AFP Photo/Michael TEWELDE)

Sympathy messages also came from the governments of Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Britain, Germany, France and the United States.

Pilot had 'difficulties'

GebreMariam said the plane had flown in from Johannesburg earlier Sunday, spent three hours in Addis and was "despatched with no remark", meaning no problems were flagged.

Asked if the pilot had made a distress call, the CEO said "the pilot mentioned that he had difficulties and he wants to return. He was given clearance" to turn around.

Ethiopian and American investigators will probe the crash, said GebreMariam.

For one family member in Nairobi there was a happy ending.

Khalid Ali Abdulrahman was waiting for his son who works in Dubai and feared the worst when a security official told him the plane had crashed.

"I was shocked, but shortly after, my son contacted me and told me he is still in Addis and did not board that flight. He is waiting for the second one which has been delayed."

Related Article:

Macron Ethiopia visit raises hopes for ancient stone-carved churches

Yahoo – AFP, Chris Stein, March 11, 2019

Massive shelters have been erected to protect the ancient stone-carved 
churches (AFP Photo/EDUARDO SOTERAS)

Lalibela (Ethiopia) (AFP) - Priest Mekonnen Fatne stood among his Ethiopian Orthodox faithful, looking upon a nine-centuries-old church they feared could be wrecked at any minute.

Over the church loomed a massive tarpaulin screen supported by a lattice of metal, one of four shelters erected to protect the northern Ethiopian town of Lalibela's historic churches, but which residents worry -- despite experts' assurances -- could obliterate them.

"If this were to collapse, do you think there would be any piece of the church left?" the priest asked, gesturing to the thick metal rods plunging into the red earth around Bete Maryam church.

French President Emmanuel Macron is set to arrive in Ethiopia on Tuesday afternoon as the country grapples with the aftermath of a plane crash close to capital Addis Ababa, which killed all 157 people on board.

Macron and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed are scheduled to travel to Lalibela later this week, for a visit locals hope will result in a new plan, money and expertise for the complex's renewal.

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978, the Lalibela churches are unique. They are carved from rock and sit below ground level, surrounded by deep, dry moats, with only their roofs visible.

Orthodox priest Tsigieselassie Mazgebu wants to see the site permanently restored 
and the shelters removed (AFP Photo/EDUARDO SOTERAS)

The courtyards surrounding these extraordinary places of worship are reachable only by staircases and tunnels.

Preservationists say the shelters erected in 2008 to keep rain off the churches pose no threat, but the structures have nonetheless become a symbol of the neglect Lalibela residents say they, and the complex, endure.

"We are here because of the heritage," said Yitibarek Getu, a deacon at the complex. "If there's no heritage, imagine what will happen?"

Ancient history

Lalibela takes its name from King Gebre Mesqel Lalibela, a 13th-century leader who local lore holds built 11 churches with the help of angels after God ordered him to build a "New Jerusalem".

Located 680 kilometres (420 miles) north of Addis Ababa, Lalibela is a popular destination for foreign tourists and followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox faith -- the country's largest religion.

The rock-hewn churches stand up to 15 metres (42 feet) tall, replete with ornate designs and windows carved in the shape of crosses, but their rock composition leaves them vulnerable to erosion from the intense downpours of Ethiopia's rainy season.

There are concerns among locals that heavy support pillars have damaged 
one of the churches (AFP Photo/EDUARDO SOTERAS)

The Italian-built shelters that protect some of the churches have earned the ire of residents who claim they are ugly and could collapse in strong wind.

"It's like revenge by the Italians!" Negash Adamu, a 27-year-old Lalibela resident, said in reference to Ethiopia's repeated conflicts with Italian colonisers.

Priests and worshippers at the complex complain the shelters' heavy support pillars have damaged the underground Trinity chapel, its roof cracking under the weight of the support pylon.

The chapel is not open to the public.

Locals also worry about the soundness of the shelters, which came with a 10-year guarantee.

"We want a permanent restoration, and we want the shelter to be removed," said Tsigieselassie Mazgebu, the complex's parish priest.

"There is a big possibility that if it falls on the treasure, it would demolish it."

An artist paints postcards at Lalibela ahead of a visit by French President
Emmanuel Macron (AFP Photo/EDUARDO SOTERAS)

Lack of trust

Last year, Lalibela residents sporting shirts reading "save Lalibela", staged a protest over the churches' condition, according to Negash.

Hailu Zeleke Woldetsadik, director of cultural heritage conservation at Ethiopia's Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage, insisted there was no cause for alarm.

He denied any damage had been done to the Trinity chapel, and said the shelters were designed to stand safely beyond their 10-year warranty.

"There is no imminent danger," he told AFP, adding that the structures were designed to sway in heavy winds, rather than strain to breaking point.

Kidanemariam Woldegiorgis, an archaeologist who grew up in Lalibela, blamed the controversy on a lack of consultation with town residents, which stoked suspicion.

"It's not clear, it's not transparent what they are doing," he said.

Hailu said Abiy and Macron will sign an agreement for the temporary shelters' maintenance and the hiring of scientists to look into permanently restoring damaged churches.

This could pave the way for the shelters' replacement with lighter structures, possibly ones that can open and close depending on the weather, while repairs are done.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Algerian army chief vows to secure protest-hit country

Yahoo – AFP, March 5, 2019

General Ahmed Gaid Salah, chief of staff of the Algerian Armed Forces, attends the
funeral of major-general Abdelmalek Guenaizia at the Sidi-Yahia cemetery in Algiers,
on February 6, 2019 (AFP Photo/Ryad KRAMDI)

Algiers (AFP) - Algeria's army chief on Tuesday pledged to guarantee the country's security following mass demonstrations against ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's bid for a fifth term in office.

General Ahmed Gaid Salah also criticised those who he said want to return to the "painful years" of the 1992-2002 civil war "during which the Algerian people experienced all forms of suffering and paid a heavy price."

The armed forces chief of staff said in a speech at a military academy outside Algiers that the country's success "in eradicating terrorism... has displeased some parties who are upset to see Algeria stable and safe."

The people will continue to enjoy "security and stability" of which the army "will remain the guarantor", the general, who is close to Bouteflika and considered one of Algeria's most powerful figures, said according to an official transcript.

The army chief, who is deputy defence minister, urged Algerians to be ready to "erect a rampart against anything that could expose Algeria to unpredictable threats".

Protests have seen tens of thousands of people take to the streets of the North African country since last month demanding the 82-year-old president resign.

Thousands of students marched in the capital and other cities on Tuesday in the latest display of public anger.

Bouteflika, who suffered a stroke in 2013 and is rarely seen in public, promised on Sunday that if he wins elections in April he will organise a "national conference" to set a date for further polls which he would not contest.

His pledge, made in a letter read out on state television, has been dismissed as an insult by Algerians weary of his two-decade-old rule.

Bouteflika has been in Switzerland since February 24 for what the presidency has described as "routine medical tests".

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Grand imam of Egypt's Al-Azhar calls polygamy an 'injustice'

Yahoo – AFP, March 2, 2019

Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, grand imam of Egypt's famed Al-Azhar institution, said
polygamy was the result of a "lack of understanding of the Koran" (AFP Photo/
Vincenzo PINTO)

Cairo (AFP) - The grand imam of Egypt's famed Al-Azhar institution, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, has described polygamy as an "injustice" for women.

"Polygamy is often an injustice to women and children," said the influential cleric, in quotes published on Twitter late Friday by Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's most prestigious seat of learning.

The practice is the result of "a lack of understanding of the Koran and the tradition of the Prophet," he added.

Tayeb also addressed the issue in a weekly Friday television show, telling viewers: "Those who say that marriage must be polygamous are all wrong".

He added the Koran says that in order for a Muslim man to have multiple wives, he "must obey conditions of fairness -- and if there is not fairness it is forbidden to have multiple wives".

After the grand imam's comments sparked fervent debate on social media, Al-Azhar on Saturday clarified that he did not call for polygamy to be banned.

In his Friday comments, Tayeb called more broadly for the way women's issues are addressed to be revamped.

"Women represent half of society, if we don't care for them it's like we are walking on one foot only," he said in the remarks published on Twitter.

The grand imam's approach was welcomed by Egypt's National Council for Women.

"The Muslim religion honours women -- it brought justice and numerous rights which didn't exist before," said the Council's president Maya Morsi.