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Tunisia Tour Operator First Jewish Minister In Decades

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Tunisia Tour Operator First Jewish Minister In Decades

Rene Trabelsi, Tunisia’s first Jewish minister in decades, has for years been co-organiser of an annual pilgrimage to the oldest synagogue in Africa.

Trabelsi, who was appointed tourism minister on Monday evening, lives between France and Tunisia.

But he grew up on the island of Djerba, heartland of Tunisia’s Jewish community and the site of the pilgrimage which attracts thousands of people each year.

His father, Perez, has been the leader of the Jewish community there since 1985 and is president of the island’s famous Ghriba synagogue.

For two days, pilgrims pray and sing in Hebrew as they light candles and place votive eggs in a cave below the house of worship on the island just off southern Tunisia.

About 3 000 people took part in the first day of this year’s festivities in May, authorities said.

Trabelsi’s role co-organising the pilgrimage, along with his enthusiastic banter and passion for Jewish-Muslim coexistence, have made him a prominent figure in the media.

After studying management in France, in the 1990s he set up his first travel agency, Royal First Travel, which now caters to some 300 000 travellers a year, mostly visitors from France to Tunisia.

While he is active in the national hotels federation, the ministry is the 56-year-old father of three’s first job in politics.

He is the country’s third-ever Jewish minister. The previous two were Albert Bessis who served in the 1955 government that led Tunisia to independence, and Andre Barouch, who worked in president Habib Bourguiba’s administration in 1956.

Tunisia’s Jewish population has fallen from around 100 000 before independence from France in 1956 to an estimated 1 500 today.

It is still recovering from a 2002 Al-Qaeda suicide bombing on the Djerba synagogue that killed 21 people, mostly Germans.

That was far from the only jihadist attack to hit Tunisia’s vital tourism sector.

Jihadist attacks in 2015 included one at the National Bardo museum in Tunis and another targeting a beach resort in Sousse, which together killed 59 foreign tourists and a Tunisian guard.

The sector has since rebounded, and government data showed that more than six million foreign travellers visited Tunisia in the first nine months of 2018.

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Gabon Amends Constitution To Fill Vacuum Left By Ailing President

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Gabon Amends Constitution To Fill Vacuum Left By Ailing President

Gabon has amended the constitution to allow the Vice-president or Prime Minister to run cabinet meetings if the President is temporarily unavailable. In a move to avert a political crisis brought about by the ill health of President Ali Bongo, who remains in hospital in Saudi Arabia, after suffering what is rumored to be a stroke last month.

Although his cabinet has earlier said he only suffered fatigue. His office finally admitted on Sunday he was recovering from surgery.

The fifty-nine year old president has not been seen in public since, and the state of his health is unknown.  Some are even now questioning whether he was still alive.

The decision by the constitutional court, which the opposition says is illegal, is the first move to fill the vacuum.

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Tens Of Thousands Of Africans Die Each Year Due To Fake Drugs – Report

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Tens Of Thousands Of Africans Die Each Year Due To Fake Drugs - Report

An E.U. funded report released this week says, tens of thousands of people in Africa die each year because of fake and counterfeit medication.

Manufacturers of the fake drugs are said to prey on poorer countries more than their richer counterparts, with up to 30 times greater penetration of fakes in the supply chain.

It added that the drugs are mainly made in China but also in India, Paraguay, Pakistan and the United Kingdom.

The report says almost half the fake and low-quality medicines reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) between 2013 and last year were found to be in sub-Saharan Africa. The report was also backed by Interpol and the institute for security studies.

Substandard or fake anti-malarials cause the deaths of between 64,000 and 158,000 persons per year in sub-Saharan Africa.

W.H.O. Says, the counterfeit drug market is worth around $200 billion worldwide annually, making it the most lucrative trade of illegally copied goods, and its impact has been devastating.

Nigeria said more than 80 children were killed in 2009 by a teething syrup tainted with a chemical normally used in engine coolant and blamed for causing kidney failure.

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Medical Team Of Chinese Peacekeeping Force Gives Emergency Treatment To UN Employees In Mali

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Medical Team Of Chinese Peacekeeping Force Gives Emergency Treatment To UN Employees In Mali

The medical team of the sixth batch of Chinese Peacekeeping force in Mali gave emergency treatment on Monday to nine United Nations employees who were injured in a suicidal car bomb attack in the Gao region.

Four UN employees were brought to the Chinese Medical Team by the United Nations multi-dimensional integrated stabilization mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

After a preliminary check, Chinese medical workers found one suffered from a rib fracture, and head injury. One with injuries at his right heel and rupture, and the other two with some health condition.

The Chinese medical workers helped the injured to stop bleeding, clean wounds and suture the wounds.

As they were treating the four, another five injured UN employees arrived 20 minutes later. Seven patients with slight injuries have been discharged.

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