Monthly Archives: November 2011

Libyan’s representative in African Union ” no clue about his country flag”

Ali El-Ehmer

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Libya’s fashion revolutionist takes on Paris catwalk

Mufeeda Dakhil, a 34 year old woman from Tripoli, Libya never imagined she would one day end up showcasing her collection in the fashion capital of the world Paris, France.

Dakhil was one of the countless Libyans who participated in the resistance against the late leader Muammar Qaddafi during the uprising which initiated in mid-February.

She was an active member on social media platforms and circulated pamphlets on the revolution, however in March; security forces found pamphlets in Dakhil’s car during a checkpoint. She was detained and spent three days in jail where she said she was mistreated.

“I felt really sad and I didn’t have any hope at all of getting out, I was just waiting to die,” said Dakhil before the show.

Nevertheless, Dakhil made a lucky escape with the help of soldiers, and crossed into neighboring Tunisia, where she started a new phase in her life and began fashion designing.

She got her big break into the fashion industry when organizers of the fifth edition of the Paris Oriental Wedding fair presented her with the opportunity to showcase her work in France.

“Libya has so many creators, so many inventors but unfortunately in the last 40 years Gaddafi got rid of them, brought them down and I just want to show that Libya has talent and the world has to see this from a different point of view, the world has to see Libya differently than what it’s been known for in the last forty years,” she said.

The designer pays reverence to the Arab Spring by featuring the Libyan flag on one of her designs. She says her collection was inspired by a range of traditional attire across Libya, using the material in contemporary styles.

Dakhil is now married to a Libyan man who she met on the internet during the uprising and sees a bright future for her country. She plans to head back to Tripoli to start her own sartorial revolution.

Ali El-Ehmer

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Libya takes on global warming

Libya announced on Tuesday a plan to reverse global warming and cool the earth by building a giant wind farm in the Sahara and Arabian deserts.

The delegation from the country’s new National Transitional Council held a press conference at the 17 Conference of the Parties (COP17) international climate talks in Durban.

Titled the “Libyan Initiative”, the plan involved creating permanent low-pressure zones in the Libyan desert, and turning daylight into winds which would then be converted to electricity.

The team behind the plan said it would generate enough low-cost energy to satisfy global demand, which could be channelled around the world.

Libyan scientist Muftah Elarbash said it was possible to reverse global warming entirely.

“Libya did mission impossible in eight months with the help of the world. With help, we can do it again this time with global warming,” Elarbash added.

He said the world should do something before it felt the breeze of hell from global warming.

(Edited by Zethu Zulu)

Ali El-Ehmer

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Malta makes proposal to Libya and Italy on continental shelf issue – timesofmalta.com

Malta has made a proposal to Libya and Italy as a possible solution to the continental shelf issue, which has been pending for years, Foreign Minister Tonio Borg said this morning.

An agreement is needed so that oil exploration can take place.

Speaking in Parliament during the budget debate on the financial estimates of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Dr Borg said that Malta’s pretentions were based on what was decided by the International Court of Justice in 1985.

This had limited its decision to the area where the Maltese and Libyan waters faced each other but did not establish the median line to the east and the west, which were also contested, especially the east where both Libya and Italy had certain expectations, Dr Borg said.

(That case had been instituted after Libya sent a gunboat to stop oil exploration on a section of the Medina Bank which Libya claimed as its own territory).

Malta, Dr Borg said, believed that the best solution was joint exploration by all the countries concerned but this could not be done before agreement was reached.

He said that none of the three countries (Malta, Libya or Italy) were drilling for oil in the contested areas.

The Foreign Minister spoke extensively about the conflict in Libya and Malta’s humanitarian involvement in the matter. The country did not involve itself in military operations, unless their aim was humanitarian, he said.

Dr Borg said the government was in favour of not allowing the country to be used as a foreign base or in a military alliance.

But neutrality was not an aim in itself but a tool for one to reach the desired aims. Malta could not remain neutral to a request by the British government for assistance to get people who were abandoned in the desert through a military operation.

In the Libyan conflict, Malta had assisted 100 of the 193 United Nations countries, evacuating 20,000 foreigners from Libya through Malta, 5,000 of them Chinese citizens.

On EU sanctions which on Libyan and Iran, the minister said that to protect those who had already signed contracts with these countries before the sanctions were put in place it introduced a clause saying that the sanctions would not apply to previously signed contracts.

On EU sanctions which on Libyan and Iran, the minister said that to protect those who had already signed contracts with these countries before the sanctions were put in place it introduced a clause saying that the sanctions would not apply to previously signed contracts.

The minister said that Malta has extended its visa service to Tirana, through the help of other European Union countries, such as Austria and Italy.

It is also in talks to gain representation in another 14 countries through another EU country.

He said that this year there were 36,000 applications for a visa and 33,500 were issued.

He said that Kuwait opened an embassy in Malta in the past year strengthening relations between the two countries.

The government is studying what it can open in Kuwait at an embassy or lower level to establish its presence in another gulf country. The same applied to Qatar.

He said that later this week, he will be visiting Saudi Arabia where he would be signing a double taxation agreement. Another will be signed with Oman.

The President has been invited to visit Saudi Arabia next year.

Ali El-Ehmer

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Libyan gunman injures two in Topkapı Palace shooting

An unidentified assailant who opened fire with a pump-action rifle in a tourist district of İstanbul and wounded two people was killed in a clash with police. Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin said the gunman was a Libyan national. The incident occurred in the Sultanahmet district of the city.

A soldier and a security guard working for a private company were injured. A witness said the assailant, whom he described as an Arab man, walked into Topkapı Palace and closed the doors at the entrance to the palace complex after shooting the soldier in the leg and the guard in the abdomen. The assailant clashed with police for more than an hour inside the Ottoman-era palace, one of İstanbul’s major tourist attractions. The shooting first began at around 10:00 a.m. (7:00 GMT), almost an hour after visitors were admitted into the palace complex.

It was not immediately possible to verify the identity or the motives of the assailant. Witnesses said he shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great) and then said in Arabic that he was from Syria, raising suspicions that the incident was linked to political tensions between Turkey and Syria over President Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown on anti-regime protests.

Şahin, on the other hand, said the gunman was a Libyan national born in 1975. He said the assailant, identified as Samir Salem Ali Elmadhavri, had entered Turkey on Nov. 27 and arrived at the scene of the incident in a car with a Syrian license plate. Asked about the motive of the attack, Şahin said, “An attack’s motive is to inflict harm.” Şahin said it was not immediately known if the attacker was affiliated with any groups or organizations in Libya or Syria.

A spokesman for Libya’s National Transition Council, Jalal el-Galal, said authorities in Tripoli have no information at this point on the gunman, the Associated Press reported.

İstanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu had earlier said his motives appeared to be “personal.”

“We will make a statement when the situation is clear,” Mutlu told reporters, adding that the police decided to shoot him when the gunman appeared determined not to surrender.

Topkapı Palace, the seat of the Ottoman sultans for almost 400 years, is located in the city’s historic Sultanahmet neighborhood, which also includes the Blue Mosque and the former Byzantine church of Haghia Sophia. The palace, with its harem, ornate courtyards and gilded treasures, attracts thousands of visitors each year.

“I saw the gunman carrying a gun on his shoulder, like a hunter; he had ammunition around his neck and a backpack. His overcoat was buttoned, I couldn’t see what was underneath,” İdris Cengiz, an eyewitness, told AP television. “He was coming toward us and my friend said he looked like a hunter so I asked him in English, ‘Are you a hunter?’ He said something in Arabic that I didn’t understand.”

A picture showed him carrying at least two rifles and a cartridge belt around his neck. The picture also shows the man wearing a black overcoat, cap and carrying a backpack.

Some tourists threw themselves on the ground in panic, Cengiz said. There were no other reports of injuries in the attack.

Turkey has harshly criticized Assad’s violent crackdown on protests and announced on Wednesday a set of sanctions targeting the Syrian regime. Protesting Turkish policies, angry pro-Assad demonstrators attacked Turkish diplomatic missions earlier this month and burned a Turkish flag. Ankara has also backed a NATO operation against Libya’s deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi after initially opposing the idea.

Ali El-Ehmer

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Bank of Valletta representative office in Libya back in operation

The Bank of Valletta representative office in Libya resumed operations on November 13.

The Bank had temporarily suspended its operations during the uprising in the country to ensure the safety of its employees.

The Bank’s Representative Office will continue to promote cross-border trade and investment between the two countries and to help provide the infrastructure necessary for Maltese business to seek new opportunities in Libya.

Speaking upon his arrival in Tripoli, Mr Charles Saliba, Manager at the representative office, said, “Since the Libya uprising of the 17th February 2011, Bank of Valletta has kept a close eye on the situation in Libya and we now consider the situation stable enough to open our doors to the public.”

Bank of Valletta’s Libya Representative Office is situated at Ground Floor, Office No. 49a, Tripoli Towers, Tripoli, Libya and may be contacted on telephone numbers bovlibya

Ali El-Ehmer

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152 asylum seekers depart for Germany

A group of 152 people who first fled strife in their home countries and subsequently a revolution in Libya left Malta yesterday to start a new life in Germany.

The 152 hail from Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan, and make up 51 families including 36 children and 14 single persons. Those who talked to members of the press before their departure to Munich said they were thankful for the assistance received in Malta, and were clearly looking forward to settling in a safe country after their past experiences.

They had fled Libya in February and March, when the Libyan revolution started. As asylum seekers, they faced detention for up to a year under Maltese policy, but their stay in a detention centre turned out to be much shorter, particularly since most formed part of families.

All were granted international protection after their asylum claims were processed, making them eligible for resettlement elsewhere. Germany had committed itself to relocate persons granted international protection earlier this year, and the lengthy process preparing the group for their resettlement in a new country began weeks ago.

The process was overseen by the International Organization for Migration, entities within the Home Affairs Ministry’s Third-Country Nationals Unit – including the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers and the Office for the Refugee Commissioner – and their counterparts in Germany. The IOM took responsibility for counselling potential beneficiaries of resettlement, holding cultural orientation courses and taking care of the necessary logistical preparations.

In the coming months, the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees will be assisting them to integrate in Germany.

A total of 133 beneficiaries of international protection have already been resettled from Malta to Germany in four departures in the past five years, with the latter two occurring within the framework of an EU pilot project for the resettlement of refugees and other beneficiaries of international protection.

Twelve EU members, as well as Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, had pledged to resettle a total of 323 people from Malta at a conference convened by Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström last May, with Germany accounting for the largest number of pledged placements.

Speaking at the airport, Home Affairs Minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici said that Germany’s assistance was a sign that Malta was not being abandoned by other EU members, but was being shown solidarity. He added that the assistance gave the group of future, and stressed that the people were grateful for the assistance received here.

The minister asserted that Germany’s assistance showed that integration can happen. He noted that this would a lengthy process involving learning a new language and changing one’s mentality, and that the group could expect a culture shock as it adapted to life in a democratic European country.

Dr Mifsud Bonnici also said that he hoped the resettlement of another 100 people could take place by the end of the year.

IOM chief of mission for Italy and Malta, José Angel Oropeza, bid the group farewell, urging them to “be good citizens” after noting that Malta had sheltered them and Germany had given them a new home.

Ali El-Ehmer

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