Algerian president has COVID-19 but improving, presidency says

Algerian president has COVID-19 but improving, presidency says
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has tested positive for COVID-19, but his condition is gradually improving. (File/AFP)
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Updated 03 November 2020

Algerian president has COVID-19 but improving, presidency says

Algerian president has COVID-19 but improving, presidency says
  • Algerian authorities had previously said Tebboune was in Germany for medical checks when he flew there last week
  • His absence through illness could slow Algeria’s efforts to meanwhile pass economic reforms

ALGERIA: Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has tested positive for COVID-19, but his condition is gradually improving as he receives treatment in a German hospital, the presidency said on Tuesday.
Algerian authorities had previously said Tebboune was in Germany for medical checks when he flew there last week, after saying people in his administration had the coronavirus.
Tebboune, 75 and a smoker, was elected less than a year ago as Algeria faced its biggest political crisis in decades with a mass protest movement demanding the entire ruling class be replaced.
Backed by the powerful military, he pushed for changes to the constitution as part of a strategy to turn the page on the unrest. But though it was approved in a referendum on Sunday, voter turnout of 23.7% was very low.
His absence through illness could slow Algeria’s efforts to meanwhile pass economic reforms aimed at reducing the reliance on dwindling energy revenues.


Sudan schoolbook picture sparks angry reform debate

Sudan schoolbook picture sparks angry reform debate
Bookseller Yaqoub Mohamed Yaqoub, 45, sits by his roadside stall where he has been working for 15 years, in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, on January 14, 2021. (AFP)
Updated 16 January 2021

Sudan schoolbook picture sparks angry reform debate

Sudan schoolbook picture sparks angry reform debate
  • Unrest ricocheted beyond North African country, triggering uprisings, crackdowns, civil wars

KHARTOUM: As Sudan’s transitional government shifts the nation from the Islamist rule of ousted strongman Omar Bashir, a new schoolbook has sparked controversy for reproducing Michelangelo’s iconic “Creation of Adam.”
Khartoum’s government has embarked on deeply controversial reforms in a bid to boost its international standing and rescue its ailing economy — but bringing it into a confrontation with those who see changes as anti-Islamic.
The offending picture, in a history textbook for teenagers, has become a flashpoint in the argument. “It is an ugly offense,” said Sudan’s Academy of Islamic Fiqh, the body ruling on Islamic law, which issued an edict banning teaching from the book.
Michelangelo’s fresco, depicting the Biblical story of God reaching out with his hand to give life to Adam, is a flagship piece of 16th century Renaissance art that forms part of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling in Rome.
“The book glorifies Western culture in a way that makes it the culture of science and civilization — in contrast to its presentation of Islamic civilization,” the Fiqh academy added.

BACKGROUND

In a viral video, a preacher broke down as he waved the book during Friday prayers, accusing it of promoting ‘apostasy’ and ‘heresy.’

Furious Muslim clerics have railed against the book and other changes to the school curriculum.
In one video widely shared on social media, a preacher broke down as he waved the book during Friday prayers, accusing it of promoting “apostasy” and “heresy.”
Another urged followers to “burn the book.”
But others defended the changes, saying they were part of necessary education reforms.
“The picture is not in a religious book,” teacher Qamarya Omar said.
“It is in a history book for the sixth-grade under a section called European Renaissance, which makes it placed in context.”