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Solar power brings northern Mali much needed light
22 August 2016 - Residents in Kidal in northern Mali are finding it easier to work and study into the night thanks to a solar lighting project recently introduced to the area. About 1,500 households are now able to switch on their lights thanks to a 50,000 US dollar project funded by the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali. National energy company, Energie du Mali (EDM) has begun to add solar power capacity to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, which provide around half the West African nation's power. (more)

Norway company to build 33 MW Mali solar plant
11 July 2015 - Norwegian energy company Scatec Solar is set to start construction of a 33 megawatt solar plant outside Mali's capital, that will be the largest of its kind in West Africa when it opens in 2016, the company said on Friday. Mali, like much of West Africa, faces a chronic energy deficit that impedes economic growth. (more)

Lauded as hero in Paris attack, Malian man made French citizen
20 January 2015 - The Malian grocery worker hailed as a hero for saving hostages' lives when an Islamist militant attacked a kosher supermarket in Paris this month was made a French citizen on Tuesday. Lassana Bathily, 24, was joined by French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and Prime Minister Manuel Valls in a packed naturalization ceremony. 'I am so happy to get dual nationality,' said a smiling Bathily, who also received a medal for his actions. (more)

Mali: Custodian of Timbuktu's literary past looks to digital future
16 September 2014 - When extremists occupied Timbuktu, its 'blasphemous' manuscripts were their first target. But many are now preserved and digitized in homes -- and, families believe, protecting them in return. 'Here you have about 3,000 manuscripts dating from the ninth to the 19th century,' says Abdulwadid Abderrahim Haidara as he opens a rusty metal chest. 'Some are short -- three, four pages -- some run to a hundred pages. The subjects are religion, astrology, history, jurisprudence, and medicine. There are also some accounting ledgers written by gold and salt traders. I really need to get them on to a memory stick or a CD.' (more)

Peace talks aim at restoring calm in Mali's north
16 July 2014 - International negotiators, Malian officials, and Tuareg separatists are holding peace talks aimed at restoring stability in northern Mali. The Algerian capital is hosting peace talks, which started Wednesday, involving Malian government representatives, six Tuareg groups, and officials from the UN African Union, regional group ECOWAS and the European Union. (more)

Rebuilding Timbuktu: UN agency working with Mali to 'keep culture significant'
27 June 2014 - Timbuktu was an economic, intellectual, and spiritual capital and a centre for the propagation of Islam throughout Africa during the city's golden age in the 15th and 16th centuries. According to UNESCO, three mosques and 16 mausoleums are part of the fabled city that was once home to 100,000 inhabitants. In March, local masons working under the supervision of Imam of Djingareyber, and with support from UNESCO and the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), which is mandated in part to support the Government in cultural preservation, laid the first earthen brick to reconstruct two of the city's ancient mausoleums. 'It is not only about rebuilding stones. It is also about keeping culture significant, 'UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Representative to Mali, Lazare Eloudou Assomo, said. Reconstructing the site has already contributed to 'a kind of environment to foster peace reconciliation and social cohesion'. (more)

Mali rebel groups sign truce accord in Algeria
10 June 2014 - Three northern Malian rebel groups signed an accord in Algiers pledging to work for peace through inclusive talks in Mali. The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, the High Council for the Unity of Azawad, and the Arab Movement of Azawad signed the Algiers Declaration pledging their 'good faith' to strengthen the process of reconciliation through dialogue, said an Algerian government statement Tuesday. Since 2012, when Tuareg rebel groups seized control of northern Mali, or Azawad as they call it, the country has been in turmoil. (more)

Mali's first gold refinery to start in mid-2015: shareholder
9 June 2014 - Mali's first gold refinery should start production in mid-2015, its main shareholder said on Monday, after construction work was delayed by two years during political turmoil sparked by a northern Tuareg uprising. The internationally certified refinery is expected to handle ore produced in Mali -- the third-largest producer in sub-Saharan Africa behind South Africa and Ghana -- as well as from other neighbouring countries. Operations could be expanded to include other metals such as silver and palladium. (more)

Tuareg rebels in north Mali sign ceasefire - African Union
24 May 2014 - The African Union says ethnic Tuareg separatist rebels have signed a ceasefire deal after having pushed the Malian army out of Kidal. In a statement released late Friday, the African Union said that the agreement came following talks and a visit by Mauritania's President, the current AU chairman. (more)

Mali Tuareg separatists accept ceasefire agreement
23 May 2014 - Tuareg separatist groups in Mali on Friday accepted a ceasefire agreement with the government following clashes this week that threatened to plunged the country back into war. The agreement was reached following a meeting between the chairman of the African Union and separatist groups in northern Mali to discuss a permanent truce and the resumption of talks between the rebels and the government in Bamako. (more)

Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Mali: Polls show turn to optimism
21 April 2014 - The recent headline in AfricaFocus reported a quick turnaround in popular feeling in the northwest African country: 'In an Afrobarometer survey in December 2012, three-quarters of adult Malians were worried that the country was moving in ''the wrong direction''. At that time, in the depths of a profound national crisis, most Malians thought the future looked bleak. A year later, however, a follow-up survey reveals newfound hope in the future. By December 2013, two-thirds of all Malians now considered that the country is headed in ''the right direction''.' In between, the stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation technique and other peace-creating technologies of consciousness were being applied as a means to increase coherence, harmony, and progress in the nation. (more)

Offering the programmes of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Mali
28 June 2009 - Through the inspiration of an individual from Mali who recently learnt the Transcendental Meditation Technique, the programmes of the Global Country of World Peace are beginning to be offered in his country. (more)

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Tens of thousands 'left to starve' as Mali conflict escalates
21 November 2018 - The West African country has been a battleground of Islamist militants, ethnic militias, and international troops since a rebel uprising was hijacked by jihadists in 2012. Tens of thousands of people who have fled fighting in Mali since September are going hungry because funding has run out as the conflict has escalated, aid agencies said on Wednesday, 21 November. (more)

At least 27 dead after Islamists seize luxury hotel in Mali's capital
20 November 2015 - At least 27 people were reported dead on Friday after Malian commandos stormed a luxury hotel in the capital Bamako with at least 170 people inside, many of them foreigners, that had been seized by Islamist gunmen. The former French colony has been battling Islamist rebels for several years, and the jihadist group Al Mourabitoun, allied to al Qaeda and based in the deserts of northern Mali, claimed responsibility for the attack in a tweet. By late afternoon, ministerial adviser Amadou Sangho said that no more hostages were being held. The raid on the hotel, which lies just west of the city center near government ministries and diplomatic offices, came a week after Islamic State militants killed 129 people in Paris, raising fears that French nationals were being specifically targeted. (more)

Lack of rain threatens Mali cotton output target
22 June 2015 - Lack of rain threatens to prevent Mali reaching its cotton production target of 650,000 tonnes in the 2015/16 season, the state-owned Malian Company for the Development of Textile said on Monday. 'The rains have not arrived this year. It's not even raining a bit and the farmers can't sow,' said Ousmane Traore, a technical adviser in charge of agricultural production. (more)

Roadside bombs kills 5 UN peacekeepers in Mali
19 September 2014 - A roadside bomb in northern Mali killed five UN peacekeepers and wounded several others on Thursday, a spokesman said of the latest in a string of deadly attacks on the force. Northern Mali fell under control of Tuareg separatists and then al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremists following a military coup in 2012. A French-led intervention last year scattered the extremists, but some remain active in the countryside and there have been continued bursts of violence. (more)

UN: 4 peacekeepers killed in north Mali, 15 hurt
2 September 2014 - At least four UN peacekeepers were killed and 15 wounded when their convoy hit a mine in northern Mali on Tuesday, a spokesman said. The group of Chadian peacekeepers was returning from the embattled town of Kidal when they struck a mine about 20 miles (30 kilometres) outside the city, said Olivier Salgado, a spokesman for the force. Six of those hurt are seriously wounded, he said. Salgado did not speculate on who was behind the attack, the largest in months. But the al-Qaida group operating in the country recently has taken responsibility for several recent attacks on UN peacekeepers. Kidal is also the home of a simmering revolt by a Tuareg separatist movement. Northern Mali fell under control of Tuareg separatists and then al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremists following a military coup in 2012. A French-led intervention last year scattered the extremists, but some remain active and there have been continued bursts of violence. UN troops are now trying to stabilize the north, and peace talks have begun between the Malian government and Tuaregs, who maintain a heavy presence in Kidal and have pushed back against the authority of the Bamako-based government. Al-Qaida is not participating in those discussions. (more)

Tuareg separatists seize several towns in northern Mali
22 May 2014 - Tuareg separatists said on Thursday they had seized several towns in northern Mali after routing government forces in fighting that threatens to plunge the desert north back into war, but said they would respect calls for a ceasefire. The army had launched an offensive to retake control of the separatist stronghold of Kidal after clashes erupted while Prime Minister Moussa Mara was visiting the town on Saturday. Tuareg separatists repulsed the attempt on Wednesday and on Thursday said they had taken more northern towns without a fight after government troops either abandoned their positions and sought refuge at the camps of the UN peacekeeping mission, MINUSMA, or fled south. Mali was plunged into chaos in 2012 after Tuareg independence fighters teamed up with groups teamed up with groups linked to al Qaeda to seize the north following a coup in the capital. When they were sidelined by the better-equipped Islamists, the separatists broke with their allies. A French-led military operation then drove the Islamists back last year. Neighbouring Burkina Faso's foreign minister, Djibril Bassolé, who has served as a mediator in Mali, told French radio RFI: 'There is a danger that the same phenomenon as in 2012 can happen again.' (more)

Malian separatist rebels end ceasefire after clashes
29 November 2013 - Separatist Tuareg rebels said on Friday they were ending a five-month-old ceasefire with Mali's government and taking up arms following violence in the northern city of Kidal. The declaration came a day after Malian troops clashed with stone-throwing protesters who blocked a visit by the prime minister to the city, a northern rebel stronghold. Several demonstrators were wounded but there were conflicting accounts of how the incident started. 'The political and military wings of the Azawad (MNLA, MAA and HCUA) declare the lifting of the ceasefire with the central government in Bamako,' said a statement by Attaye Ag Mohamed, one of the founders of the MNLA groups. 'All our military positions are on alert,' he added. (more)

Mali Tuareg Separatists suspend participation in peace process
26 September 2013 - Tuareg separatists pulled out of a peace agreement with the Mali government on Thursday, accusing Bamako of not respecting its commitments to a truce reached in June. The ceasefire in the West African nation allowed Mali's government and military to return to the separatists' northern stronghold of Kidal and enabled national elections to take place in July and August. 'Following multiple difficulties implementing the Ouagadougou agreement, mainly caused by non-observance by the Malian government of its commitments, (we have) decided to suspend participation in the structures of implementation of the agreement,' three organizations representing the Tuaregs said. They did not specify the difficulties. (more)

Ethnic clashes erupt in northern Mali town before vote
19 July 2013 - Malian troops deployed in the northern town of Kidal on Friday after attacks by light-skinned Tuareg separatists on black residents killed at least one, a week before elections meant to unify the fractured nation. Residents said Tuareg youths took the streets of the desert town late on Thursday to target black African residents, firing shots and burning vehicles. Calm was briefly restored after UN peacekeepers made some arrests, but violence resumed on Friday. A presidential election on 28 July is supposed to seal a democratic transition after a March 2012 coup that led to the 10-month seizure of northern Mali by al Qaeda-linked rebels. But logistical problems and violence in Kidal and other northern towns could disrupt the vote. France, which sent more than 4,000 troops to Mali to destroy the Islamist enclave, is pushing for the election to go ahead as it seeks to wind down its military presence, despite concerns over the West African country's readiness. (more)

Mali's rush to post-war election raises fears of further strife
13 July 2013 - Mali's presidential hopefuls kicked off campaigning this week for a 28 July election intended to draw a line under a coup and an Islamist uprising, despite concerns that a rushed poll may sow the seeds of future strife. Western donors hope the election will lay the foundations for rebuilding a nation once seen as a model of democracy in turbulent West Africa. Yet millions of voting cards must still be dispatched across a vast territory twice the size of France. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by the conflict and many more are still missing from outdated voter lists. 'The election risks being marred by such technical shortcomings, and with such a low rate of participation, that it could result in the election of a president deprived of the legitimacy necessary to lead a confused and weakened country back to stability and development,' think tank International Crisis Group said. OSIWA, a foundation funded by financier George Soros to promote democracy in West Africa, echoed these concerns. (more)


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