Three killed in Morocco mine collapse

A file photo shows heavy machinery at a phosphate mine at Boucraa factory of the National Moroccan phosphate company (OCP). (File: Reuters)
Updated 13 November 2018
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Three killed in Morocco mine collapse

  • The accident occurred near the impoverished former mining town of Jerada
  • Hundreds of illegal miners in the town risk their lives in abandoned mine shafts to extract mainly coal

RABAT: Three people were killed Tuesday and three others injured when a zinc and lead mine collapsed in northeastern Morocco, authorities said, in a region shaken by protests over similar accidents.
The accident occurred near the impoverished former mining town of Jerada a week after two people, including a teenager, died in another collapse of abandoned mines.
Hundreds of illegal miners in the town risk their lives in abandoned mine shafts to extract mainly coal, the sale of which is legal thanks to operating permits issued by Moroccan authorities.
Jerada has been hit by social unrest and peaceful protests following the deaths last December of two brothers trapped in a mine shaft followed by two other deaths under similar circumstances.
Tuesday's accidental deaths took place in the small community of Ras Asfour in a mine that was operating with an official permit, state MAP news agency quoted local officials as saying, unlike previous ones.
Moroccan authorities pledged a series of measures to revive the economy in Jerada, one of the poorest regions of Morocco according to official statistic, and vowed to close all abandoned mines.
In April the government launched a plan aimed at providing alternative means of livelihood for the population amid demands by protesters for "economic alternatives" to "death mines".
Authorities have arrested 95 people in connection with the protests and 25 of them were put on trial, according to a lawyer who has defended some of them.
Last week nine protesters were sentenced to jail terms ranging from three to five years on charges including the destruction of public property, incitement to carry out criminal acts and taking part in unauthorised protests.


UN envoy to Yemen says agreement on de-escalation in Taiz and Hodeidah ‘not there yet’

Updated 10 December 2018
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UN envoy to Yemen says agreement on de-escalation in Taiz and Hodeidah ‘not there yet’

LONDON: United Nations Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, said on Monday that agreement on the de-escalation in Taiz and Hodeidah are ‘not there yet’.
Speaking at a press conference in Stockholm, following the first round of the UN sponsored peace talks between the legitimate Yemeni government and the Iranian-backed Houthi militia, Griffiths told reporters that they will continue to discuss Hodeidah and Taiz.
He also said they are still working to find a common ground for the reopening of Sanaa airport.
During the talks, the two sides discussed a broad prisoner swap, however, Griffiths said the numbers of prisoners to be released by the warring parties will be announced soon.
The UN envoy said he expects to present a detailed plan for the next round of talks and hopes for an agreement from warring factions to hold the next round of talks early next year.