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Tunisia To Get $560m EU Loan To Boost Economy

The European Union said on Friday it would give a loan of half a billion euros ($560 million) to boost Tunisia’s economy.


In a statement in Tunis, the union said the assistance was part of broader efforts by the EU to help Tunisia overcome the serious economic difficulties that beset it.


The EU said the assistance came at the request of Tunisia and would take the form of medium-term loans on favourable financial terms.


Few weeks ago, an unemployed man committed suicide when he was refused work, sparking riots by thousands of young men across the country.


Tunisia was the cradle of the 2011 Arab Spring revolts, triggered by a street vendor setting himself on fire after his vegetable cart was confiscated.


The incident has been hailed as a success story for its transition to democracy.


But economic development and reforms have failed to keep pace with the political changes since the fall of autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.


Three attacks last year by Islamist militants: against a museum in Tunis, tourists in a Sousse beach resort and a suicide bombing in the capital, have hit the tourist industry especially hard.


Tunisia relies heavily on tourists for jobs and revenue.


France, Tunisia’s former colonial ruler, last month pledged 1 billion euros over five years to help Tunisia, whose young democracy brought a new constitution.


Tunisia managed to avoid the violent after-shocks seen in other Arab Spring countries that toppled long-standing leaders in Egypt, Yemen and Libya.




Tunisia Makes $500 Million From Ousted President’s Assets

Tunisia has made nearly half a billion dollars from the sale of assets confiscated from ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his allies, a minister said Wednesday.


In the months following Ben Ali’s flight to Saudi Arabia after the January 2011 revolution that ended his rule, the cash-strapped country seized hundreds of businesses, properties, luxury cars and jewellery belonging to him, his family and his allies. “Since 2011, we made around 1.5 billion dinars (of which) around 1 billion ($500 million, 442 million euros) went into the state’s coffers,” Finance Minister Slim Chaker said.


“The other 500 million dirhams went to paying off debts,” he said. Revenues from the sales have boosted the national budget and allowed the state to borrow less, he added, but the process is slow. Only some assets have been sold off so far, including at an auction at the end of 2012. Obstacles to selling the remaining assets include organising paperwork, expert assessments and calls for tenders, the minister said.


“There were lots of cars we didn’t have the keys for, and that are still registered in the names of their previous owners,” he said. Nepotism and state corruption plagued Ben Ali’s rule and triggered his fall at the start of the Arab Spring uprisings.



Credit : Vanguard

Tunisia Attack: ‘Paralysed’ Police Let Gunman Run Amok For Half An Hour, Says Witness

Armed policeman were “paralysed by fear” and allowed the Tunisian gunman Seifeddine Rezgui to freely massacre British tourists for more than half an hour before shooting him dead, witnesses claim.

Even though two police officers arrived at the scene within minutes, it was said to have been around half an hour before Rezgui was killed. In that time, 38 people, including at least 30 Britons, were fatally wounded. The armed policemen who arrived at the beach were “paralysed by fear”, a Belgian tourist told The Independent, speaking anonymously because she said she was afraid. “Some youths told the police, ‘We’re not afraid of dying, give it [the gun] to us.’”

The youths took the gun and ran up to the pool area, shooting in the air to get his attention, but then the gun jammed. The gunman turned around, threw a grenade at them and chased after them.

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Twisted And Evil: Parents Of ISIS Bride Slam Her Poem Praising The Tunisian Beach Terrorist Attack

 The family of a British woman who fled to join Islamic State in Syria have said they are ‘sickened’ by a poem she wrote praising the massacre in Tunisia and attacks in Kuwait and France.

Former private schoolgirl Aqsa Mahmood left her home in Glasgow in November 2013 and married a militant from the terror group in February last year.

She has since posted a series of radical messages , including a call for others to copy the murder of soldier Lee Rigby and the Boston Marathon bombing.

In her most recent blog post, the 20-year-old celebrated Friday’s terror strikes as ‘revenge’ and ‘a day
that will go down in history….She praised the shooting at the Tunisian beach resort which left 38 tourists dead, the suicide bombing at a mosque in Kuwait and the beheading in France.The poem read:

 ‘In 3 different locations a family was born. It’s name was change, freedom and revenge.’Kuwait, France and Tunisia is where they reside. They left a mark which will always remain. Permanent and blunt.’

A statement released by their lawyer said:

‘The family of Aqsa Mahmood became aware yesterday of her blog Umm Layth posting praise for the attacks in Tunisia, France and Kuwait.’They are full of rage at her latest diatribe masquerading as Islam during the holy month of Ramadan.

‘Whilst their daughter may have destroyed any chance of happiness for her own family, they are sickened that she now celebrates the heartbreak of other families.
The Mahmood family have a message for any young person attracted to Isis, they say there is no honour, no glory, no god at work in the cowardly massacre of holidaymakers, people at prayer in a Shia mosque or an innocent man at his place of work.’

It added: ‘As for Aqsa’s words they can only be described as twisted and evil, this is not the daughter that they raised.’The Mahmoods’ thoughts and prayers are with the families who are grieving for the loss of their loved ones.’

Daily Mail

UPDATE: 27 Killed In Tunisian Hotel Attack- Interior Ministry

Nearly 30 people, mostly tourists, have been killed and tens of others injured in an attack by unidentified armed men on a tourist resort in the central Tunisian town of Sousse.

Tunisian Interior Ministry spokesman Mohamed Ali Aroui said two assailants opened fire on a beach resort near hotels in Port El Kantaoui tourist complex, located 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) north of Sousse on Friday.

According to the Tunisian official, 27 people were killed in the shooting assault.

An exchange of gunfire reportedly broke out between the attackers and security forces. Reports say one of the gunmen was shot dead and the other managed to flee. Aroui said most of the victims in the “terrorist attack” were tourists, without specifying their nationalities. However, local media said those killed were mostly German and British nationals. No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the act of terror yet.

Tunisia has been on high alert since March 18, when a group of gunmen attacked the national Bardo Museum in the capital Tunis, killing 21 people. As many as 17 of the victims killed in the attack were foreign tourists.

Two of the attackers were reportedly killed. Two or three of the gunmen are still at large as security forces have launched a manhunt for the suspects. The Takfiri ISIS terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack, which has been described as one of the worst in a decade in the North African country.


HAPPENING NOW: Gunmen Attack Tourist Hotel In Tunisia

A tourist hotel in the Tunisian town of Sousse has been attacked by gunmen, a security source said. Ongoing exchanges of gunfire were being reported between the attackers and security forces.

There were no other details immediately available. Tunisia has been on high alert since March when gunmen attacked the Bardo museum in Tunis, killing a group of foreign tourists in one of the worst attacks in a decade in the North African country.


Tunisia Attack Leaves 21 People Dead, Two or Three Gunmen at Large

Tunisia’s prime minister Habib Essid has stated 21 people are dead after the brutal attack on the National Bardo Museum in the capital city of Tunis Wednesday morning. Among the dead are 17 foreign tourists. He also said two to three gunmen are still at large. Moreover, Essid appeared on live national television and told reporters the foreign tourists included people from Germany, Spain, Italy, and Poland.

Two of the attackers were killed when Tunisian law enforcement officers, donning full combat gear, entered the building to take took control of the scene. Currently, Tunisian forces are searching for two or three other gunmen that were involved and fled the scene. Both a Tunisian citizen and a law enforcement officer died during the attack.

The attack on the Bardo Museum resembles the attack on Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine that was overrun by Islamic extremists just a few months ago, resulting in multiple deaths. This is the first attack on a Tunisian tourist site in years. In recent times, Tunisia has struggled as a young democracy, and has had trouble fighting advancing Islamic insurgents.

As of now, the identities of the museum attackers are unknown. Essid stated everything is being done to hunt down the remaining gunmen.


All Eyes On Malabo For AFCON 2015 Draws Today

All eyes in Africa will be focussed on Equatorial Guinea on Wednesday as the capital of Malabo plays host to the draw for the Africa Cup of Nations just weeks after Morocco were stripped of the right to host the event.

The traditional ceremony to determine the group matchups for the January 17 to February 8 continental showpiece, was initially set for Rabat before Morocco asked for the tournament to be postponed because of the devastating Ebola outbreak which has cost nearly 7,000 lives in west Africa.

Morocco were instead not only stripped of the right to host the tournament but disqualified from the event as Equatorial Guinea, the third highest producer of petrol in Sub-Saharan Africa, stepped in at the final hour to save the day.

Equatorial Guinea, who co-hosted the 2012 event with Gabon, face a race against time to be ready with less than two months until kick-off, and the draw is set to unveil further indications of progress on preparations.

One aspect that hasn’t changed is the format with four groups of four teams drawn in a round-robin first round line-up shared between the cities of Malabo, Bata, Mongomo and Ebebiyin.

– Ivory Coast, Algeria the teams to avoid –

Ironically, Equatorial Guinea will be in the top seeded hat as hosts, just six months after the former Spanish colony were disqualified from qualifying after fielding an ineligible player during a preliminary round fixture against Mauritania.

They will joined, as one of the top four seeds, by four-time champions Ghana, 2012 African winners Zambia and the Ivory Coast.

The ‘Elephants’ of the Ivory Coast, who lost finals in 2006 and 2012 and also reached the semi-finals in 2008, remain a formidable force as the seedings were determined by previous CAN results.

Their glory teams of the past have undergone several changes in recent years as they turn to life without retired legend Didier Drogba and now lean on the coaching leadership of dashing Frenchman Herve Renard who led Zambia to their first title three years ago.

Manchester City’s Yaya Toure and Roma striker Gervinho are key players for the Ivory Coast with a strong cast of talent in place to support the 1992 champions.

Holders Nigeria and seven-time champions Egypt failed to qualify leaving Algeria the danger team from hat number two alongside 2013 finalists Burkina Faso, Mali and Tunisia.

The ‘Desert Foxes’ of Algeria reached the second round of the World Cup for the first time this year, and are chasing a second African title after their only success on home soil in 1990.

The country are enjoying a purple patch with top club ES Setif recently winning the African Champions League and the CAN providing a serious opportunity to increase their flourishing international reputation.

On paper, hat number four appears stronger than the third set of teams with former giants Senegal, Cameroon and Guinea joining the Congo while Cape Verde, South Africa, Gabon and Democratic Republic of Congo complete the 16-nation line-up in pot three.

Cameroon, now without former captain Samuel Eto’o, failed to qualify in 2012 and 2013 which dropped their ranking while Senegal have failed to get past the first round since 2006.

The ‘Indomitable Lions’ of Cameroon, won the last of their four African titles in 2002, when they defeated a Senegal team making their lone appearance in the championship match.

2015 CAN draw:

Pot 1: Equatorial Guinea (hosts), Ghana, Ivory Coast, Zambia

Pot 2: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Tunisia

Pot 3: Cape Verde, South Africa, Gabon, DR Congo

Pot 4: Cameroon, Senegal, Guinea, Congo

Source –