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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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African Summit Gives Sudan Military Three Months To Implement Reforms

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African Summit Gives Sudan Military Three Months To Implement Reforms

African leaders have agreed, at a meeting in Cairo on Tuesday, to give Sudan’s ruling military council three months to implement democratic reforms, and a quick restoration of the constitutional system through a political process, amid pressure for a handover of power to civilians.

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The decision extends a 15-day deadline set by the African Union last week for Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) to hand over power or be suspended from the A.U. TMC took over after president Omar Al-Bashir was ousted earlier this month.

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The TMC has been under pressure from demonstrators to hand power to civilians immediately.

Egypt`s Abdul Fatah Al Sisi, who holds the rotating African Union presidency, said at the end of the summit in Cairo, they have agreed on the need to give more time to Sudanese authorities and Sudanese parties to implement required measures.

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Mozambican Authorities Warn Of A Possible Tropical Storm Hit

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Mozambican Authorities Warn Of A Possible Tropical Storm Hit

Mozambican authorities have warned of a tropical storm that could hit the country this week, just one month after cyclone Idai ravaged the nation. The next organized tropical cyclone, to be named Kenneth could also affect Tanzania.

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The National Institute for Disaster Management’s spokesman, Paulo Tomás says, they will keep abreast of the evolution of the weather system.

Last month, cyclone Idai killed at least 960 people in parts of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, leaving some 3 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

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Egypt Voters Approve Referendum Extending President’s Rule

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Egypt Voters Approve Referendum Extending President's Rule

Egypt’s election commission has announced, 88% of voters had approved changes to the constitution that could allow president Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi stay in power until 2030. The amendments would also give the president new powers over the judiciary.

The commission says, voter turnout during the three-day referendum was nearly 44 and a half percent and almost 90 percent approved the amendments while 11.17 percent voted no.

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The amendments will extend Sisi’s current term to six years from four and allow him to run again for a third six-year term in 2024 and to appoint one or more vice presidents.

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His critics questioned the credibility of the turnout figure announced and are asking how can a constitution be changed to fit one person.

Sisi’s supporters say he has stabilized Egypt and needs more time to reform and develop the economy.

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After the announcement was made, Al-Sisi sent the message quote “I am your god.”

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