News Roundup - Thu, Jan 18, 2018

News In Brief

News Roundup - Thu, Jan 18, 2018

January 18, 2018 - 21:47
Written by: NewsDesk

The spokesman for the Libyan Naval Forces, Brigadier Ayoub Qasim, announced the rescue of approximately 250 illegal immigrants, from varying African nationalities on Wednesday. The illegal immigrants were aboard worn out rubber boats when found. Qasim said in a press statement that the rescue took place in two stages with the boat named Sabratha, rescuing the passengers of the first boat north of Mellita and the second north of the city of Zuwarah. The Sabratha boat arrived on Wednesday afternoon at the Tripoli naval base, where humanitarian and medical assistance was provided to those rescued. The illegal immigrants were then handed over to the Illegal Immigration Agency, based in Tareeq Sikka.

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The Presidential Council (PC), announced on Wednesday their intention to carry out a cabinet reshuffle with the expansion of the government to what they described as meeting security challenges and financial and economic crises in the country. This came during the first meeting of 2018 of the PC under the presidency of Fayez Sarraj, and in the presence of a number of his deputies. According to a statement issued by the Information Office of the PC, the meeting discussed a ministerial reshuffle with expansion of the government as soon as possible and the start of necessary consultations in this regard. According to the same statement, the meeting also discussed the preparation of financial arrangements for 2018, and measures taken to improve the performance of the service sector. At the end of the meeting, Sarraj and members of the PC agreed that they will be in continuous sessions during the coming period.

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The head of the Afriqiyah Airlines for the Misrata region, Captain Mohammed Sabti, said that the congestion of flights to and from Misrata airport is ongoing as a result of the closure of Mitiga International Airport. Sabti said in a press statement that Afriqiyah Airlines in Misrata, is working in cooperation with the company's management in Tripoli, and the Libyan Airlines company, to add new flights, especially return flights, in order to return all passengers stranded at foreign airports, and ensure their arrival in their homeland safely. Sabti added that after great efforts made by the company's technicians, they succeeded in returning an Airbus A320 aircraft to operation and will make its first flight on Friday.

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The Administrative Control Authority (ACA) has obliged commercial banks to publish commission rates and banking services in a prominent place in all branches of public and private commercial banks. The head of the Information Office of the ACA, Aimen Jalidi, said in a press statement on Wednesday that they revealed a large disparity in the value of some banking services, adding that some banks raise service prices in violation of laws and regulations in force. Jalidi also said that the ACA will be subjecting banks to periodic inspections to ensure their commitment, warning offenders that penalties provided by law number 1 of 2005 of the private banks sector will be enforced.

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A European Parliament delegation postponed a scheduled visit to Libya for security reasons, Italian news outlet AKI reported on Wednesday, quoting President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani as saying. According AKI, the European Parliament had previously approved sending a group of MPs to Libya from the 16th to the 22nd of December 2017 to assess the situation in the country. Tajani said in a press statement that the EU delegation’s visit to Libya should take place, but the security situation is an obstacle and so the visit had to be postponed. He added that the European Parliament continues to monitor human rights issues, which is an essential tool in reducing the phenomenon of illegal immigration.

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The Presidential Guard of the Presidential Council called on young people from all regions of Libya to join the Presidential Guard in response to “the call of the homeland and to contribute to building and defending it.” The Presidential Guard, stated on Wednesday on its official Facebook page, that they have no political or regional preference, and that it is seeking guards from all regions of Libya, confirming the start of the procedures to accept new recruits to join the presidential guard forces.

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The President of the High Council of State (HCS), Abdulrahman Swaihli, has confirmed that the HCS remains committed to the political agreement following a meeting with British Charge d'affaires in Libya, Angus McKee in Tripoli. The HCS said in a statement that it is ready to support national reconciliation and work with the House of Representatives, hoping the latter would do the same. The British Charge d'Affaires expressed appreciation for the stances of the HCS and its flexibility towards the proposals of the UN envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame, to amend the political agreement.

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Local sources reported Al-Kufra airbase in south-east Libya as saying that an airstrike targeted Thursday an armed convoy 250 west of Al-Kufra, leaving massive damage. The sources said the targeted convoy was from Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement, which they said were kidnapping and exporting people in eastern Jaghbub. Six fighters were killed and a seventh was missing in Jaghbub oasis after clashing with African mercenaries who were on the side of Haftar's forces before turning on them.

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The Civil Aviation Authority extended Thursday shutdown of airspace traffic in Mitiga airport in Tripoli till next Sunday, with the airport's administration extending as well the redirection of flights to Misrata airport, according to its Facebook page. Media outlets, however; said - before this decision was made public - the Ministry of Transports decided to resume flights at Mitiga airport on next Saturday.