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Algeria: Volunteers beautify historic Casbah
8 June 2015 - The white buildings of the Casbah spill down the steep hillside overlooking the curved Mediterranean bay of Algiers. Over the weekend, in a burst of civic pride that has often been absent in the North African nation, a group of Algerians of all ages moved through the ancient streets of this UNESCO world heritage site to help restore it's beauty. The project was the brainchild of 25-year-old Yasmine Bouchene, who said such initiatives are happening all over the country as young people start doing themselves what the government has been neglecting to do. (more)

Algeria to host women's African Nations volleyball championships
23 July 2014 - The Confederation of African Volleyball (CAVB) has announced Algeria as the host of the 2014 Girls' U-18 African Nations Championship and the inaugural Women's U-23 African Nations Championship. According to a statement from CAVB on Wednesday, both events will hold from 5 to 11 September. (more)

Mali peace talks start in Algiers after prisoner swap
16 July 2014 - Mali's government and rebels held peace talks in Algiers on Wednesday in an effort to end decades of uprisings by northern tribes, though the government said at the start it would refuse to discuss any demands for full autonomy. Algeria's government said it had helped broker a prisoner swap to build confidence at the start of the talks -- 45 civilians and troops from the government in exchange for 42 members and sympathisers of rebel movements. (more)

Algeria: Film festival strengthens Maghreb ties
11 June 2014 - The 2nd Maghreb Cultural Film Festival wrapped up Wednesday (11 June) in Algiers. The event offered an opportunity to strengthen ties between the peoples of the region, organizers said. During her inaugural speech last week, Algerian Culture Minister Nadia Labidi Cherabi, who is herself a film-maker, stressed the ties of brotherhood between Maghreb nations. 'We have the same dreams, the same ideas and the same rituals as the other countries of the Maghreb,' she said. (more)

Top Algeria officials spotlight efforts to conserve the environment and transition towards an inclusive green economy
22 January 2014 - Algeria is a member of Desertec Industrial Initiative, which aims to use Sahara solar and wind power to supply 15 per cent of Europe's electricity needs by 2050. Algeria's National Action Plan for Environment and Sustainable Development is based on four major objectives: improving the health and quality of life of citizens; improving the productivity of natural capital; reducing economic losses and enhancing competitiveness and improving the global environment. (more)

Algeria says eight state firms to list on Bourse
8 November 2013 - Algeria's government has authorized eight state firms to list on the Algiers stock exchange, including telecommunications and cement companies in an attempt to diversify the over-regulated economy, state media said on Thursday. 'This is a strong signal from the government to boost the economy and diversify the financial resources,' government-run newspaper El Moudjahid quoted the head of the Algerian capital markets authority, Abelhakim Berrah as saying. (more)

Thailand's PTTEP discovers crude oil at two Algerian wells
21 September 2012 - Thailand's top oil and gas explorer, PTT Exploration and Production Pcl (PTTEP), said on 21 September the company and its partners including CNOOC Ltd and SONATRACH, discovered crude oil at two exploration wells in Algeria. So far, five wells have been drilled with four deemed a success. (more)

More oil and gas discovered in Algeria
17 July 2012 - E.ON AG and Algerian state energy firm Sonatrach have made further oil and gas discoveries in the Rhourde Yacoub license area in Algeria, E.ON said on Tuesday. The Rhourde Yacoub license is operated by E.ON E and P with an equity share of 49 per cent, while Sonatrach holds the majority of 51 per cent. (more)

Algeria's long-awaited metro system opens in Algiers
1 November 2011 - Thousands of people have used the underground metro in Algeria's capital, Algiers, after it finally opened 28 years after construction first began. The BBC's Chloe Arnold says there was a festival atmosphere, as the opening coincided with a national holiday. Algerians told the BBC they were proud of their new rail network, which connects Algiers' Central Post Office to the suburb of Kouba. (more)

Algeria sees 2012 energy exports up 2.5 per cent
13 October 2011 - OPEC member Algeria expects the volume of its oil and gas exports to increase by 2.5 percent next year, according to a copy of the 2012 draft budget, recovering from a dip this year that some analysts said was caused by production problems. The document also showed that energy export revenues were up 28.5 per cent to $35.5 billion in the first half of this year against the same period in 2010. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Interview in Algerie Patriotique: 'Three experts explain post traumatic stress disorder from terrorism and war'
27 June 2014 - An extensive, wide-ranging interview was published today in Algerie Patriotique, in which three experts discuss post-traumatic stress (PTS), its causes and devastating physical and emotional effects in many millions of people across Africa, including in Algeria. Dr David Leffler, Dr Atmane Kouider, and David Shapiro also bring out findings of recent published research showing rapid, substantial decreases in PTS symptoms in African war refugees who have learned the Transcendental Meditation technique. The interview probes deeply the timely implications of this research--in particular the potential of large-scale adoption of Transcendental Meditation as a simple, cost-effective, evidence-based solution--not only to alleviate individuals' suffering, but also to reduce and ultimately prevent societal stress from erupting in violence and war. This is the aim of an initiative sponsored by the David Lynch Foundation and African PTSD Relief. (more)

Algeria: Growing interest in Transcendental Meditation
20 July 2013 - Several new developments in Algeria in the past year have helped bring the Transcendental Meditation programme to more people in the region. Two of the most popular newspapers in Algeria published positive press articles about Transcendental Meditation, and a new teacher completed his training course in Thailand and returned home to teach the technique in the Transcendental Meditation Centre in Algiers. (more)

Algeria, Tunisia: Transcendental Meditation website upgrade, new Vedaroma factory
23 July 2012 - The website for the Transcendental Meditation programme in Algeria, launched in 2010, is in process of being upgraded to reflect North African culture, with help from professionals in photography, video, and web design. Production of the VedAroma line of high quality organic essential oils has expanded from the original facility in Algeria to a new factory in Tunisia. (more)

Algeria: VedAroma facility produces 80 certified organic essential oils
23 July 2011 - During the past year in Algeria, a variety of programmes offered by organizations teaching Transcendental Meditation in the country have brought new knowledge and technologies for development of consciousness, better health, and professional advancement to different areas of society. One programme--VedAroma pure, highest quality essential oils--is an Algerian success story: many of the oils are produced in Algeria, and the local facility now produces 80 certified organic essential oils. (more)

Peace-creating projects find many avenues of support in Algeria
29 December 2009 - A new business enterprise is growing in Algeria that will help support programmes of the Global Country of World Peace in the nation. The country is also enjoying successful development of VedAroma projects--an aspect of Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture; a new Maharishi Invincibility Centre for ladies; and expansion of knowledge of Transcendental Meditation among professionals. (more)

VedAroma essential oils: Creating balance for the individual and supporting world peace
13 November 2009 - A business venture that started several years ago in Algeria, under the inspiration of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, has now blossomed into an award-winning enterprise: VedAroma essential oils company won the distinction, 'Primo Exporter of the Year 2008'. Proceeds from the company help support large peace-creating groups of Maharishi Vedic Pandits in India. (more)

Veda Aroma Essential Oils distribution begins in Algeria
19 December 2008 - Speaking 16 December 2008 on Maharishi Global Family Chat, Raja Michael Dillbeck, Raja of Invincible Algeria for the Global Country of World Peace, reported the recent distribution of Maharishi Veda Aroma Essential Oils from his domain, as well as other successes. (more)

Algeria: Maharishi Veda Aroma Essential Oils to be offered soon in US and Europe
25 June 2008 - Speaking 21 June 2008 on Maharishi Global Family Chat, Raja Michael Dillbeck, Raja of Invincible Algeria for the Global Country of World Peace, reported progress in the manufacturing and distribution of Maharishi Veda Aroma Essential Oils in his domain. The essential oils will be used primarily for aromatherapy at Maharishi Ayur-Veda Health Centres throughout the world. (more)

Aromatherapy project in Algeria simmering with success
21 March 2007 - The National Leader and Founder of Invincibility for Algeria, in North Africa, Dr Atmane Kouider, recently reported on a special project in that nation--the manufacture and distribution of pure essential oils. This project was started five years ago under the inspiration of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and it has blossomed into a beautiful and successful undertaking. (more)


Flops
Short Summaries of Top Stories


Algeria reels from tales of oil sector corruption
3 March 2013 - Corrupt and gorging itself at the trough of Algeria's vast oil wealth -- that's how most Algerians privately view the elites running the country. Yet few have been willing to say so publicly, until now. New corruption scandals are shining a new spotlight on state oil company Sonatrach, which jointly with BP and Norway's Statoil runs the desert gas plant that was the scene of a bloody hostage standoff in January. The scale of the scandals is staggering. Nearly €200 million ($260 million) was paid out by the Italians, according to a Milan prosecutor. Meanwhile, according to a joint investigation by Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper and an Italian business paper published 22 February, Canadian company SNC-Lavalin paid a series of bribes of its own to secure a $1 billion engineering contract. Company spokeswoman Lilly Nguyen responded to queries about the case saying 'to the best of our knowledge, SNC-Lavalin is not specifically under investigation in the Sonatrach matter'. With commissions on deals like this going to the highest levels of power, the Algerian press rarely reports about it -- until the subject is broached by the foreign media. (more)

Death toll mounts at Algeria plant
20 January 2013 - Algerian bomb squads scouring a gas plant where Islamist militants took dozens of foreign workers hostage found 'numerous' new bodies on Sunday as they searched for explosive traps left behind by the attackers, a security official said, a day after a bloody raid ended the four-day siege of the remote desert refinery. Algerian special forces stormed the natural gas complex in the Sahara desert on Saturday to end the standoff, and the government said all 32 militants were killed. Earlier Sunday, Algeria's chief government spokesman said he feared the toll of hostages -- which stood at 23 on Saturday -- would rise as the special forces teams finished their search. He said the militants came from six countries and were armed to cause maximum destruction. Sonatrach, the Algerian state oil company running the Ain Amenas site along with BP and Norway's Statoil, said the entire refinery had been mined. 'They had decided to succeed in the operation as planned, to blow up the gas complex and kill all the hostages,' said Communications Minister Mohamed Said, speaking on a state radio interview. The militants, who came from a Mali-based al-Qaida splinter group run by an Algerian, attacked the plant Wednesday morning. Armed with heavy machine guns and rocket launchers in four-wheel drive vehicles, they fell on a pair of buses taking foreign workers to the airport. The buses' military escort drove off the attackers in a blaze of gunfire that sent bullets zinging over the heads of crouching workers. The militants then turned to the vast gas complex, divided between the workers' living quarters and the refinery itself, and seized hostages, the Algerian government said. (more)

The motivation of Algerian terror leader Moktar Belmoktar
20 January 2013 - Moktar Belmoktar is known abroad as the man who orchestrated the abduction of scores of foreigners last week at a BP-operated plant in the remote, eastern corner of Algeria, in a raid that led to many of their deaths. In the Sahara at least up until this week he was, ironically, known as the more pragmatic and less brutal of the commanders of an increasingly successful offshoot of al-Qaida. The question now is has he evolved into an international terrorist every bit as violent as his rivals, or did the Algeria operation go very differently than he intended? Belmoktar, an Algerian in his 40s known in Pentagon circles as 'MBM,' just split off from al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, to start his own franchise. Over the past decade, AQIM has kidnapped dozens of foreigners, including diplomats, aid workers, field doctors and tourists. Although Belmoktar's hostages are forced to endure months of privation and live with the constant threat of execution, those who have dealt directly with him say his cell has never executed a captive, according to hostage negotiators, a courier sent to collect proof-of-life videos, senior diplomats, and security experts interviewed for this article. The notable exception was the 2011 kidnapping of two French nationals from a bar in the capital of Niger, both of whom were killed when the French military tried to rescue them. It's unclear if the two died from friendly fire, or were executed by their captors in a situation that closely mirrors the chain of events in Algeria, where combat helicopters strafed the compound in an effort to liberate the hostages, killing both kidnappers and victims. Belmoktar prefers to trade his hostages for money, experts have said, and global intelligence unit Stratfor says he can get an estimated $3 million per European captive. The money allowed him to build one of the best-financed cells of al-Qaida. It may explain how he was able to strike out on his own six weeks ago to create 'The Masked Brigade,' whose inaugural attack was launched inside Algeria. Belmoktar is a contrast to his more ruthless colleague, Abou Zeid. Up until December of last year, both men were emirs of their own 'katiba,' or brigade, in AQIM. Moustapha Chaffi has been the main hostage negotiator on many of the kidnappings carried out by both Belmoktar and Abou Zeid. 'Before he led this operation in Algeria, that was the sentiment I had, that Belmoktar was less brutal,' Chaffi said by telephone on Friday. 'Now I find myself thinking that they are all terrorists. That they all take hostages. That they are all fanatics. So to draw a difference between them is really, really relative. There's in fact no difference anymore.' (more)

Algeria: 32 militants killed, with 23 hostages
19 January 2013 - Algerian special forces stormed a natural gas complex in the Sahara desert on Saturday to end a standoff with Islamist extremists that left at least 23 hostages dead and killed all 32 militants involved, the Algerian government said. With few details emerging from the remote site in eastern Algeria, it was unclear whether anyone was rescued in the final operation. Algeria's response to the crisis was typical of its history in confronting terrorists, favoring military action over negotiation, which caused an international outcry from countries worried about their citizens. The standoff has put the spotlight on these al-Qaida-linked groups that roam these remote areas, threatening vital infrastructure and energy interests. The militants initially said their operation was intended to stop a French attack on Islamist militants in neighbouring Mali -- though they later said it was two months in the planning, long before the French intervention. (more)

After Algerian incident, West Africa fears Mali spill over
18 January 2013 - By seizing hundreds of hostages at a gas plant in the Algerian desert, al Qaeda-linked militants angry at French intervention in Mali sent a clear message: they could strike anywhere in the Sahara. Many experts now believe the sight of a former colonial power leading unprepared West African armies into war against Islamists in Mali could spark similar attacks across a swathe of smaller, more vulnerable nations to the south. Islamist fighters who escape the French onslaught are likely to scatter, with some remaining in Mali to fight a guerilla-style war while others trickle across its porous borders into countries where pockets of radicalism already exist. 'This could lead to frustration amongst Muslims towards the French,' said young Senegalese man Adama Sall, leaving afternoon prayers at a mosque in the Senegalese capital Dakar. (more)

Foreigners still caught in Sahara hostage crisis
18 January 2013 - More than 20 foreigners were still either being held hostage or missing inside a gas plant on Friday after Algerian forces stormed the desert complex to free hundreds of captives taken by Islamist militants. More than a day after the Algerian army launched an assault to seize the remote desert compound, much was still unclear about the number and fate of the victims, leaving countries with citizens in harm's way struggling to find hard information. Reports on the number of hostages killed ranged from 12 to 30, with anywhere from dozens to scores of foreigners still unaccounted for. Paris says the incident proves that its decision to fight Islamists in neighbouring Mali was necessary. Security in the half-dozen countries around the Sahara desert has long been a pre-occupation of the West. Smugglers and militants have earned millions in ransom from kidnappings. The kidnappers threatened more attacks and warned Algerians to stay away from foreign companies' installations, according to Mauritania's news agency ANI, which maintained contact with the group during the siege. (more)

Militants: 35 hostages die in Algerian raid
17 January 2013 - Algerian forces launched a military assault Thursday at a natural gas plant in the Sahara Desert, trying to free dozens of foreign hostages held by militants who have ties to Mali's rebel Islamists. Information on the Algerian operation varied wildly and the conflicting reports that emerged from the remote area were impossible to verify independently. Jean-Christophe Gray, a spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron, said Britain was not informed in advance of the raid but described the situation as 'very grave and serious.' French President Francois Hollande called it a 'dramatic' situation involving dozens of hostages. Islamists with the Masked Brigade, who have been speaking through a Mauritanian news outlet, said the Algerians opened fire Thursday as the militants tried to leave the vast Ain Amenas energy complex with their hostages. They claimed that 35 hostages and 15 militants died but seven hostages survived when Algerian helicopters strafed their convoy. Algeria's official news service, meanwhile, claimed that 600 local workers were freed in the raid and half of the foreigners being held were rescued. Many of those locals were reportedly released on Wednesday, however, by the militants themselves. (more)

Algeria: missiles being smuggled from Libya
18 February 2012 - Algerian security forces have found a large cache of weapons, including shoulder-fired missiles, which they believe were smuggled in from neighbouring Libya, a security source briefed on the discovery told Reuters on Saturday. The find follows warnings from governments in the region that instability in Libya after the end of Muammar Gaddafi's rule is allowing weapons taken from Gaddafi's arsenal to fall into the hands of al Qaeda's north African branch and other insurgent groups across the Sahara desert. 'This weapons seizure shows that the chaos in Libya is dangerous for the whole region,' the source said. Algeria has been one of the region's most vocal states in warning of the security impact of Gaddafi's fall. The revolt has left huge quantities of weapons unsecured and a fragile interim government that is struggling to impose its authority and control the country's borders. (more)

Anger at squalid housing unleashes Algeria protest
12 January 2012 - Algeria is a major oil and gas exporter with more than $150 billion in foreign currency reserves accumulated over years of high energy prices. Yet despite its wealth, the government has been unable to build new homes fast enough to satisfy millions of families who live in inadequate accommodations or to provide jobs for the millions of unemployed. Frustrated citizens say they have been on waiting lists for years as part of a state programme to build 1 million new housing units by 2014. The resettlement is symptomatic of a process that is riddled with corruption. People say those who pay bribes or have connections with local officials are given new apartments, while families in greater need are left off the list. The operation to re-house residents from shantytowns left some people even worse off than they were before. As soon as residents were rehoused, bulldozers were sent in to demolish their old homes, but a handful of people did not qualify and so were left with nowhere to live. (more)

Algerian suicide attack wounds 29: official media
14 August 2011 - A suicide bomber attacked a police headquarters in the Algerian city of Tizi Ouzou early on Sunday, injuring 29 people, the official APS news agency reported. Tizi Ouzou lies about 100 km (60 miles) east of the Algerian capital. It is the capital of the mountainous Kabylie region, where al Qaeda's north African wing has a stronghold. Algeria, a North African energy exporter, is still emerging from nearly two decades of conflict between security forces and Islamist militants that killed an estimated 200,000 people. (more)

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