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  • Ivory Coast ex-rebel profiting from banned diamond trade: U.N. experts

  • By Joe Bavier ABIDJAN (Reuters) - A senior Ivory Coast army officer is breaking a diamond embargo and may be using profits to buy arms, U.N. experts have found, dealing a potentially embarrassing blow to government efforts to have the ban lifted. Ivory Coast is the only country in the world still subject to a U.N.-imposed ban on diamond exports but it received a clean bill of health in November from the Kimberley Process - the body tasked with preventing the sale of so called "blood diamonds" from fuelling armed conflicts. But U.N. experts, charged with monitoring compliance with a sanctions regime including an arms embargo, said diamonds are being exported from Ivory Coast in breach of the ban. "The measures and restrictions imposed by the (Security) Council ... still do not prevent the illicit trafficking of Ivorian rough diamonds," read the report released on Tuesday.
  • West Africa's Ebola outbreak prompts changes in I.Coast cuisine

  • A woman prepares food on April 8, 2014 at a "maquis," a small restaurant, in Kobakro, outside Abidjan, which has stopped serving bushmeat since West Africa's Ebola outbreakBouaké (Ivory Coast) (AFP) - West Africa's first outbreak of Ebola fever is bad news for gourmets in Ivory Coast, but brings respite from the hunter to species sought out for tasty meat but feared to carry the disease. Hunters and restaurant owners in the central Ivorian town of Bouake are upset that clients have begun to steer clear of the strong taste of the agouti, a beast with a long snout and brown fur that can reach half a metre (1.6 feet) in length. Last week, the minister's recommendation was still going unheeded or ignored by some traders and hunters in Bouake's main bushmeat market. An official ban on bushmeat -- including antelopes, chimpanzees and porcupines as well as agoutis -- has been enforced and a week later, the Bouake market was empty.



  • Moroccan king attends prayers in disputed Western Sahara

  • Moroccan King Mohamed VI at the Royal Palace in Casablanca on July 25, 2013Morocco's King Mohamed VI attended weekly Friday prayers during a rare visit to Western Sahara, official media reported, ahead of a UN vote on the disputed territory. MAP news agency said the king attended the prayers alongside the visiting interior minister of the Ivory Coast, Hamed Bakayoko. Mohamed's visit to the city of Dakhla comes ahead of an April 23 UN Security Council vote to renew the mandate of peacekeepers in Western Sahara, which was annexed by Morocco in the 1970s. Rights groups have been pressing the United Nations to task the peacekeepers with human rights monitoring, echoing calls made by the United States last year which were rejected by Rabat.



  • U.N. seeks sanctions waiver to ship arms to Mali via Ivory Coast

  • By Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations is seeking an exemption from a U.N. Security Council arms embargo on Ivory Coast so it can ship weapons and military equipment across the East African nation to its peacekeeping mission in landlocked Mali, a spokesman said on Thursday. The statement came after U.N. sanctions monitors called for the world body to stop allowing arms to be shipped to the U.N. mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA, through Ivory Coast after they said a load of military hardware sent by China violated U.N. restrictions.
  • Exclusive: U.N. should halt arms shipments via Ivory Coast after China breach - panel

  • United Nations peacekeepers stand guard outside the headquarters of former Islamist rebel group High Council for the Unity of Azawad in KidalBy Joe Bavier ABIDJAN (Reuters) - United Nations experts have called for the world body to stop allowing arms for its Mali peacekeepers to be shipped through Ivory Coast after they said a load of military hardware sent by China violated the country's arms embargo. In a confidential report presented to the U.N. Security Council sanctions committee on Friday, the panel of experts said the shipment of weapons, ammunition and hardware which passed through Ivory Coast in November lacked proper permission and said China had understated its actual size by 21 metric tons (23.15 tons). ...



  • Hull fightback clinches Cup Final berth

  • Hull City's Ivory Coast striker Yannick Sagbo (C) scores his team's first goal during the English FA Cup Semi-final match between Hull City and Sheffield United at Wembley Stadium in London on April 13, 2014London (AFP) - Hull City staged a stirring second half fightback to book their first FA Cup final appearance with a thrilling 5-3 win over Sheffield United at Wembley on Sunday.



  • Health system criticized in I. Coast model's death

  • In this photo taken on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, Sira Kone Fadiga, right, the aunt of Ivorian fashion model Awa Fadiga, cries at her funeral with unidentified family members in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Awa Fadiga was attacked at night in a taxi that was taking her home to an upscale neighborhood in Ivory Coast’s capital. Two witnesses say they saw the locally famous fashion model being thrown out of the cab under a bridge, apparently unconscious. Firefighters rushed the 23-year-old to the Central University Hospital where she was left untreated for more than 12 hours and slipped into a coma _ all because there was no one immediately available to pay her medical fees, her family said. (AP Photo/Sevi Herve Gbekide )ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Awa Fadiga was attacked at night in a taxi that was taking her home to an upscale neighborhood in Ivory Coast's capital. Two witnesses say they saw the locally famous fashion model being thrown out of the cab under a bridge, apparently unconscious.



  • Gold rush threatens West Africa's cocoa future

  • A prospector sorts gold particles found at a new gold mine in a cocoa farm near the town of Bouafle in western Ivory CoastBy Joe Bavier and Loucoumane Coulibaly YOHO, Ivory Coast (Reuters) - A month ago, Bouafu Kouassi dug a neat circular hole in the middle of his one-hectare cocoa plantation in western Ivory Coast, and, sifting through the gravel on his shovel, found the unmistakable traces of gold dust. And as the story repeats across the cocoa heartland of the world's top producer and neighboring Ghana, the second-largest, it could do lasting damage to the industry. With high prices for the precious metal fuelling a gold rush in Ivory Coast and Ghana, diggers are scurrying to cash in.



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