Algerian court detains former minister over corruption allegations

Algerian soldiers guard the Bir Mourad Rais courthouse in Algiers, Monday, Nov.4, 2019 during a hand-over ceremony of a new prosecutor.( AP)
Updated 04 November 2019

Algerian court detains former minister over corruption allegations

  • Toumi became the 12th ex-minister to be detained since Bouteflika resigned in April

ALGIERS: Algeria’s supreme court on Monday placed in custody a former culture minister over corruption allegations under former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, state television reported.
Khalid Toumi became the 12th ex-minister to be detained since Bouteflika resigned in April under pressure from protesters demanding the removal of the ruling elite and the prosecution of people suspected of involvement in corruption.
Toumi, who served as culture minister for 12 years, is accused of squandering public funds and awarding illegal privileges, state TV said.
Her lawyer was not available for comment.
Two former prime ministers have also been in detention over alleged corruption since the protests erupted on Feb. 22.
Protesters now demand the cancelation of a Dec.12 presidential election, believing it will not be fair as some of Bouteflika’s allies including interim president Abdelkader Bensalah and Prime Minister Noureddine Bedui are still in power.
The army is now the main player in Algeria’s politics and its chief of staff Lt. Gen. Ahmed Gaed Salah has repeatedly vowed fairness and transparency for the vote.
The election authority on Saturday said five candidates, including two former prime ministers, would run in the election.


Turkey, Greece agree to resume talks to resolve disputes

Updated 39 min 40 sec ago

Turkey, Greece agree to resume talks to resolve disputes

  • Erdogan called for a regional conference that would gather all sides involved in the dispute — including Turkish Cypriots
  • The two neighboring NATO members have been locked in a tense standoff over energy exploitation rights

ANKARA, Turkey: Turkey and Greece are ready to resume talks in a bid to overcome a dispute over maritime boundaries and rights to exploit oil and gas resources, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office said Tuesday.
The statement followed his video conference meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Council President Charles Michel.
During the meeting, Erdogan called for a regional conference that would gather all sides involved in the dispute — including Turkish Cypriots — and said the “momentum” for dialogue should be protected,” according to the statement.
The two neighboring NATO members have been locked in a tense standoff over energy exploitation rights in an area between Turkey’s southern coast, several Greek islands and the war-divided island of Cyprus. Turkey sent a research vessel into the disputed waters this summer.
Following mediation efforts by Germany and others, Turkey pulled back the research vessel to port and both countries eased their naval presence and halted military exercises, paving the way for a dialogue.
It was not clear when and how the talks would begin. Erdogan told Merkel and Michel that “steps to be taken by Greece” would determine the course of the talks.
Greek-Turkish talks to resolve disputes were last held in 2016.
The Turkish leader also said he hoped that the next European Union summit would breathe new life into Turkish-EU ties, including allowing Turkish citizens visa-free travel rights to Europe and sealing a new agreement on migration.
EU members Greece and Cyprus had been pushing for EU sanctions against Turkey at the Sept. 24-25 summit meeting to due Turkey’s search for energy inside Cyprus’ economic zone. But the summit has been postponed for a week because Michel has gone into quarantine after a close collaborator was diagnosed with COVID-19.