Seychelles – Wikipedia

Country in the Indian Ocean

Coordinates: 435S 5540E / 4.583S 55.667E / -4.583; 55.667

Seychelles (; French:[sl][6][7][8] or [sel][9]), officially the Republic of Seychelles (French: Rpublique des Seychelles; Creole: La Repiblik Sesel), is an archipelagic island country in the Indian Ocean. It consists of 115 islands. Its capital and largest city, Victoria, lies 1,500 kilometres (932mi) east of mainland Africa. Other nearby island countries and territories include Comoros, Mayotte (territory of France), Madagascar, Runion (territory of France), and Mauritius to the south; as well as the Maldives and Chagos Archipelago to the east. With a population of roughly 94,367, it has the smallest population of any sovereign African country.[10]

Seychelles was uninhabited prior to being encountered by Europeans in the 16th century. It faced competing French and British interests until coming under full British control in the late 19th century. Since proclaiming independence from the United Kingdom in 1976, Seychelles has developed from a largely agricultural society to a market-based diversified economy, characterized by rapidly rising service, public sector, and tourism activities. From 1976 until 2015, nominal GDP grew nearly sevenfold, and purchasing power parity increased nearly sixteenfold. Since the late 2010s, the government has taken steps to encourage foreign investment.

Today, Seychelles boasts the highest nominal per capita GDP of any African nation. It is the first African country with an HDI score exceeding 0.800, and therefore the only country in the continent with a very high Human Development Index. It is the only country in Africa classified as a high-income economy by the World Bank. Despite its relative prosperity, poverty remains widespread, and the country has one of the highest levels of economic inequality and unequal wealth distribution, with the upper and ruling class commanding a vast proportion of the country's wealth.[11]

Seychellois culture and society is an eclectic mix of French, British and African influences, with more recent infusions of Chinese and Indian elements. The country is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the Southern African Development Community, and the Commonwealth of Nations.

Seychelles were uninhabited throughout most of recorded history. Some scholars assume that Austronesian seafarers and later Maldivian and Arab traders were the first to visit the uninhabited Seychelles. This assumption is based on the discovery of tombs, visible until 1910.[12] The earliest recorded sighting by Europeans took place on 15 March 1503, recorded by Thom Lopes aboard "Rui Mendes de Brito" part 4th Portuguese India Armada, commanded by the Portuguese Admiral Vasco da Gama. Da Gama's ships passed close to an elevated island, probably Silhouette Island and the following day Desroches Island. The earliest recorded landing was in January 1609, by the crew of the "Ascension" under Captain Alexander Sharpeigh during the fourth voyage of the British East India Company.

A transit point for trade between Africa and Asia, the islands were said to be occasionally used by pirates until the French began to take control starting in 1756 when a Stone of Possession was laid on Mah by Captain Nicholas Morphey. The islands were named after Jean Moreau de Schelles, Louis XV's Minister of Finance.[13]

The British frigate "Orpheus" commanded by Captain Henry Newcome arrived at Mah on 16 May 1794. Terms of capitulation were drawn up and the next day Seychelles was surrendered to Britain. Jean Baptiste Quau de Quincy, the French administrator of Seychelles during the years of war with the United Kingdom, declined to resist when armed enemy warships arrived. Instead, he successfully negotiated the status of capitulation to Britain which gave the settlers a privileged position of neutrality.

Britain eventually assumed full control upon the surrender of Mauritius in 1810, formalised in 1814 at the Treaty of Paris. Seychelles became a crown colony separate from Mauritius in 1903. Elections were held in 1966 and 1970.

Independence was granted in 1976 and it became a republic at the same time. It has been a member of Commonwealth.[14] In the 1970s Seychelles was "the place to be seen, a playground for film stars and the international jet set".[15] In 1977, a coup d'tat by France Albert Ren ousted the first president of the republic, James Mancham.[16] Ren discouraged over-dependence on tourism and declared that he wanted "to keep the Seychelles for the Seychellois".[15]

The 1979 constitution declared a socialist one-party state, which lasted until 1991.

In the 1980s there were a series of coup attempts against President Ren, some of which were supported by South Africa. In 1981, Mike Hoare led a team of 43 South African mercenaries masquerading as holidaying rugby players in the 1981 Seychelles coup d'tat attempt.[15] There was a gun battle at the airport, and most of the mercenaries later escaped in a hijacked Air India plane.[15] The leader of this hijacking was German mercenary D. Clodo, a former member of the Rhodesian SAS.[17] Clodo later stood trial in South Africa (where he was acquitted) as well as in his home country Germany for air piracy.[18]

In 1986, an attempted coup led by the Seychelles Minister of Defence, Ogilvy Berlouis, caused President Ren to request assistance from India. In Operation Flowers are Blooming, the Indian naval vessel INS Vindhyagiri arrived in Port Victoria to help avert the coup.[19]

The first draft of a new constitution failed to receive the requisite 60% of voters in 1992, but an amended version was approved in 1993.

In January 2013, Seychelles declared a state of emergency; the tropical cyclone Felleng caused torrential rain, and flooding and landslides destroyed hundreds of houses.[20][21]

The Seychelles president, who is head of state and head of government, is elected by popular vote for a five-year term of office. The cabinet is presided over and appointed by the president, subject to the approval of a majority of the legislature.

The unicameral Seychellois parliament, the National Assembly or Assemble Nationale, consists of 34 members, 25 of whom are elected directly by popular vote, while the remaining nine seats are appointed proportionally according to the percentage of votes received by each party. All members serve five-year terms.

The Supreme Court of Seychelles, created in 1903, is the highest trial court in Seychelles and the first court of appeal from all the lower courts and tribunals. The highest court of law in Seychelles is the Seychelles Court of Appeal, which is the court of final appeal in the country.[22]

Seychelles' previous president France Albert Ren came to power after his supporters overthrew the first president James Mancham on 5 June 1977 in a coup d'tat and installed him as president. Ren was at that time the prime minister.[23][24][25] Ren ruled as a strongman under a socialist one-party system until in 1993, when he was forced to introduce a multi-party system. He stepped down in 2004 in favour of his vice-president, James Michel, who was reelected in 2006 and again in 2011.[23][24][25] On 28 September 2016, the Office of the President announced that Michel would step down effective 16 October, and that Vice President Danny Faure would complete the rest of Michel's term.[26]

The primary political parties are the ruling socialist People's Party (PP), known until 2009 as the Seychelles People's Progressive Front (SPPF) now called United Seychelles (US), and the socially liberal Seychelles National Party (SNP).[27]

Seychelles is a member of the African Union (AU), the francophone Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), La Francophonie, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Commonwealth. From 1979 to 1981, the United States was involved in the failed 1981 coup attempt.[28] Under the Obama administration, the US began running drone operations out of Seychelles.[29] In the Spring of 2013, members of the Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa mentored troops in Seychelles, along with a variety of other African nations.[29]

Seychelles is divided into twenty-six administrative regions comprising all of the inner islands. Eight of the districts make up the capital of Seychelles and are referred to as Greater Victoria. Another 14 districts are considered the rural part of the main island of Mah with two districts on Praslin and one on La Digue which also includes respective satellite islands. The rest of the Outer Islands (les Eloignes) are the last district recently created by the tourism ministry.

An island nation, Seychelles is located in the Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar and about 1,600km (994mi) east of Kenya. The Constitution of Seychelles lists 155 named islands and a further 7 reclaimed islands have been created subsequent to the publication of the Constitution. The majority of the islands are uninhabited, with many dedicated as nature reserves.

A group of 44 islands (42 granitic and 2 coralline) occupy the shallow waters of the Seychelles Bank and are collectively referred to as the inner islands. They have a total area of 244km2, accounting for 54% of the total land area of the Seychelles and 98% of the entire population.

The islands are divided into groups as follows.

There are 42 granitic islands known as the Granitic Seychelles. These are in descending order of size: Mah, Praslin, Silhouette Island, La Digue, Curieuse, Flicit, Frgate, Ste-Anne, North, Cerf, Marianne, Grand Sur, Thrse, Aride Island, Conception, Petite Sur, Cousin Island, Cousine, Long, Rcif, Round (Praslin), Anonyme, Mamelles, Moyenne, le aux Vaches Marines, L'Islette, Beacon (le Sche), Cache, Cocos, Round (Mah), L'Ilot Frgate, Booby, Chauve-Souris (Mah), Chauve-Souris (Praslin), le La Fouche, Hodoul, L'Ilot, Rat, Souris, St. Pierre (Praslin), Zav, Harrison Rocks (Grand Rocher).

There are two coral sand cays north of the granitics on the edge of the Seychelles Bank: Denis and Bird.

There are two coral islands south of the Granitics: Cotivy and Platte.

There are 29 coral islands in the Amirantes group, west of the granitics: Desroches, Poivre Atoll (comprising three islandsPoivre, Florentin and South Island), Alphonse, D'Arros, St. Joseph Atoll (comprising 14 islandsSt. Joseph, le aux Fouquets, Resource, Petit Carcassaye, Grand Carcassaye, Benjamin, Bancs Ferrari, Chiens, Plicans, Vars, le Paul, Banc de Sable, Banc aux Cocos and le aux Poules), Marie Louise, Desnufs, African Banks (comprising two islandsAfrican Banks and South Island), Rmire, St. Franois, Boudeuse, toile, Bijoutier.

There are 13 coral islands in the Farquhar Group, south-southwest of the Amirantes: Farquhar Atoll (comprising 10 islandsBancs de Sable, Dposs, le aux Golettes, Lapins, le du Milieu, North Manaha, South Manaha, Middle Manaha, North Island and South Island), Providence Atoll (comprising two islandsProvidence and Bancs Providence) and St Pierre.

There are 67 raised coral islands in the Aldabra Group, west of the Farquhar Group: Aldabra Atoll (comprising 46 islandsGrande Terre, Picard, Polymnie, Malabar, le Michel, le Esprit, le aux Moustiques, Ilot Parc, Ilot mile, Ilot Yangue, Ilot Magnan, le Lanier, Champignon des Os, Euphrate, Grand Mentor, Grand Ilot, Gros Ilot Gionnet, Gros Ilot Ssame, Hron Rock, Hide Island, le aux Aigrettes, le aux Cdres, les Chalands, le Fangame, le Hron, le Michel, le Squacco, le Sylvestre, le Verte, Ilot Dder, Ilot du Sud, Ilot du Milieu, Ilot du Nord, Ilot Dubois, Ilot Macoa, Ilot Marquoix, Ilots Niois, Ilot Salade, Middle Row Island, Noddy Rock, North Row Island, Petit Mentor, Petit Mentor Endans, Petits Ilots, Pink Rock and Table Ronde), Assumption Island, Astove and Cosmoledo Atoll (comprising 19 islandsMenai, le du Nord (West North), le Nord-Est (East North), le du Trou, Golettes, Grand Polyte, Petit Polyte, Grand le (Wizard), Pagode, le du Sud-Ouest (South), le aux Moustiques, le Baleine, le aux Chauve-Souris, le aux Macaques, le aux Rats, le du Nord-Ouest, le Observation, le Sud-Est and Ilot la Croix).

In addition to these 155 islands as per the Constitution of Seychelles there are 7 reclaimed islands: Ile Perseverance, Ile Aurore, Romainville, Eden Island, Eve, Ile du Port and Ile Soleil.

South Island, African Banks has been eroded by the sea. At St Joseph Atoll, Banc de Sable and Pelican Island have also eroded, while Grand Carcassaye and Petit Carcassaye have merged to form one island. There are also several unnamed islands at Aldabra, St Joseph Atoll and Cosmoledo. Pti Astove, though named, failed to make it into the Constitution for unknown reasons.

The climate is equable although quite humid, as the islands are small,[30] classified by Kppen-Geiger system as tropical rain forest (Af). The temperature varies little throughout the year. Temperatures on Mah vary from 24 to 30C (75 to 86F), and rainfall ranges from 2,900mm (114in) annually at Victoria to 3,600mm (142in) on the mountain slopes. Precipitation is somewhat less on the other islands.[31]

During the coolest months, July and August, the average low is about 24C (75F). The southeast trade winds blow regularly from May to November, and this is the most pleasant time of the year. The hot months are from December to April, with higher humidity (80%). March and April are the hottest months, but the temperature seldom exceeds 31C (88F). Most of the islands lie outside the cyclone belt, so high winds are rare.[31]

Seychelles is among the world's leading countries to protect lands for threatened species, allocating 42% of its territory for conservation.[34] Like many fragile island ecosystems, Seychelles saw the loss of biodiversity when humans first settled in the area, including the disappearance of most of the giant tortoises from the granitic islands, the felling of coastal and mid-level forests, and the extinction of species such as the chestnut flanked white eye, the Seychelles parakeet, and the saltwater crocodile. However, extinctions were far fewer than on islands such as Mauritius or Hawaii, partly due to a shorter period of human occupation (since 1770). Seychelles today is known for success stories in protecting its flora and fauna. The rare Seychelles black parrot, the national bird of the country, is now protected.

The granitic islands of Seychelles are home to about 75 endemic plant species, with a further 25 or so species in the Aldabra group. Particularly well known is the coco de mer, a species of palm that grows only on the islands of Praslin and neighbouring Curieuse. Sometimes nicknamed the "love nut" because the shape of its "double" coconut resembles buttocks, the coco-de-mer produces the world's heaviest seed. The jellyfish tree is to be found in only a few locations on Mahe. This strange and ancient plant in a genus of its own (Medusagyne) seems to reproduce only in cultivation and not in the wild. Other unique plant species include Wright's gardenia (Rothmannia annae) found only on Aride Island Special Reserve.

The freshwater crab genus Seychellum is endemic to the granitic Seychelles, and a further 26 species of crabs and five species of hermit crabs live on the islands.[35]

The Aldabra giant tortoise now populates many of the islands of Seychelles; the Aldabra population is the largest remaining. These unique reptiles can be found even in captive herds. The granitic islands of Seychelles may support distinct species of Seychelles giant tortoises; the status of the different populations is currently unclear.

There are several unique species of orchid on the islands.

Seychelles hosts some of the largest seabird colonies in the world, notably on the outer islands of Aldabra and Cosmoledo. In granitic Seychelles the largest colonies are on Aride Island including the world's largest numbers of two species. Sooty terns also breed on the islands. Other birds include Cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis) and Fairy terns (Gygis alba).[36]

The marine life around the islands, especially the more remote coral islands, can be spectacular. More than 1,000 species of fish have been recorded.

Since the use of spearguns and dynamite for fishing was banned through efforts of local conservationists in the 1960s, the wildlife is unafraid of snorkelers and divers. Coral bleaching in 1998 has damaged most reefs, but some reefs show healthy recovery (e.g., Silhouette Island).

Despite huge disparities across nations,[citation needed] Seychelles claims to have achieved nearly all of its Millennium Development Goals.[37] 17 MDGS and 169 targets have been achieved.[citation needed] Environmental protection is becoming a cultural value.[citation needed]

Their government's Seychelles Climate Guide describes the nation's climate as rainy, with a dry season with an ocean economy in the ocean regions. The Southeast Trades is on the decline but still fairly strong.[38] Reportedly, weather patterns there are becoming less predictable.[39]

When the British gained control of the islands during the Napoleonic Wars, they allowed the French upper class to retain their land. Both the French and British settlers used enslaved Africans, and although the British prohibited slavery in 1835, African workers continued to come. Thus the Gran blan ("big whites") of French origin dominated economic and political life. The British administration employed Indians on indentured servitude to the same degree as in Mauritius resulting in a small Indian population. The Indians, like a similar minority of Chinese, were confined to a merchant class.[40]

Through harmonious socioeconomic policies and developments[citation needed] over the years, today Seychelles is described as a fusion of peoples and cultures. Numerous Seychellois are considered multiracial: blending from African, Asian and European descent to create a modern creole culture. Evidence of this harmonious blend is also revealed in Seychellois food, incorporating various aspects of French, Chinese, Indian and African cuisine.

As the islands of the Seychelles had no indigenous population, the current Seychellois descend from people who immigrated, of which the largest ethnic groups were those of African, French, Indian and Chinese origin. The median age of the Seychellois is 32 years.[41]

French and English are official languages along with Seychellois Creole, which is primarily based upon French. However, nowadays the language is often laced with English words and phrases. Including second-language speakers, Seychellois is the most-spoken official language in the Seychelles, followed by French and English.[42] 87% of the population speaks Seychelles Creole, 51% speaks French, and 38% speaks English.[42] Most business and official meetings are conducted in English and nearly all official websites are in English. National Assembly business is conducted in Creole, but laws are passed and published in English.

Religious Affiliation in the Seychelles (2010 Census)[43]

Other Christian (6.9%)

Islam (1.6%)

Other Non-Christian (1.1%)

No religion (0.9%)

Not stated (4.8%)

According to the 2010 census, most Seychellois are Christians: 76.2% were Roman Catholic, pastorally served by the exempt Diocese of Port Victoria or Seychelles (immediately dependent on the Holy See); 10.6% were Protestant, (Anglican 6.1%, Pentecostal Assembly 1.5%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1.2%, other Protestant 1.6%).[44]

Hinduism is the second largest religion, with more than 2.4% of the population.[41] The Hindu following in Seychelles has seen an increase in the community with the organization of the Seychelles Hindu Kovil Sangam and the consecration of the Navasakti Vinayagar Temple.A reported 6% of the population of Seychelles are ethnic Indians, but only 2.4% are Hindus.[citation needed]

Islam is followed by another 1.6% of the population. Other faiths accounted for 1.1% of the population, while a further 5.9% were non-religious or did not specify a religion.[41]

During the plantation era, cinnamon, vanilla and copra were the chief exports. In 1965, during a three-month visit to the islands, futurist Donald Prell prepared for the then-crown colony Governor General an economic report containing a scenario for the future of the economy. Quoting from his report, in the 1960s, about 33% of the working population worked at plantations, and 20% worked in the public or government sector.[45][46]The Indian Ocean Tracking Station on Mah used by the Air Force Satellite Control Network was closed in August 1996 after the Seychelles government attempted to raise the rent to more than $10,000,000 per year.

Since independence in 1976,... per capita output has expanded to roughly seven times the old near-subsistence level. Growth has been led by the tourist sector, which employs about 30% of the labour force, compared to agriculture which today employs about 3% of the labour force. Despite the growth of tourism, farming and fishing continue to employ some people, as do industries that process coconuts and vanilla.

As of 2013[update], the main export products are processed fish (60%) and non-fillet frozen fish (22%).[47]

The prime agricultural products currently produced in Seychelles include sweet potatoes, vanilla, coconuts and cinnamon. These products provide much of the economic support of the locals. Frozen and canned fish, copra, cinnamon and vanilla are the main export commodities.

Since the worldwide economic crises of 2008, the Seychelles government has prioritised a curbing of the budget deficit, including the containment of social welfare costs and further privatisation of public enterprises. The government has a pervasive presence in economic activity, with public enterprises active in petroleum product distribution, banking, imports of basic products, telecommunications and a wide range of other businesses. According to the 2013 Index of Economic Freedom, which measures the degree of limited government, market openness, regulatory efficiency, rule of law, and other factors, economic freedom has been increasing each year since 2010.[48]

The national currency of Seychelles is the Seychellois rupee. Initially tied to a basket of international currencies, it was depegged and allowed to be devalued and float freely in 2008 on the presumed hopes of attracting further foreign investment in the Seychelles economy.

In 1971, with the opening of Seychelles International Airport, tourism became a significant industry, essentially dividing the economy into plantations and tourism. The tourism sector paid better, and the plantation economy could only expand so far. The plantation sector of the economy declined in prominence, and tourism became the primary industry of Seychelles.

In recent years the government has encouraged foreign investment to upgrade hotels and other services. These incentives have given rise to an enormous amount of investment in real estate projects and new resort properties, such as project TIME, distributed by the World Bank, along with its predecessor project MAGIC.[citation needed] Despite its growth, the vulnerability of the tourist sector was illustrated by the sharp drop in 19911992 due largely to the Gulf War.[49]

Since then the government has moved to reduce the dependence on tourism by promoting the development of farming, fishing, small-scale manufacturing and most recently the offshore financial sector, through the establishment of the Financial Services Authority and the enactment of several pieces of legislation (such as the International Corporate Service Providers Act, the International Business Companies Act, the Securities Act, the Mutual Funds and Hedge Fund Act, amongst others). In March 2015, Seychelles allocated Assumption Island to be developed by India.[50]

Although multinational oil companies have explored the waters around the islands, no oil or gas has been found. In 2005, a deal was signed with US firm Petroquest, giving it exploration rights to about 30,000km2 around Constant, Topaz, Farquhar and Cotivy islands until 2014. Seychelles imports oil from the Persian Gulf in the form of refined petroleum derivatives at the rate of about 5,700 barrels per day (910m3/d).

In recent years oil has been imported from Kuwait and also from Bahrain. Seychelles imports three times more oil than is needed for internal uses because it re-exports the surplus oil in the form of bunker for ships and aircraft calling at Mah. There are no refining capacities on the islands. Oil and gas imports, distribution and re-export are the responsibility of Seychelles Petroleum (Sepec), while oil exploration is the responsibility of the Seychelles National Oil Company (SNOC).

For such a small country, Seychelles has a vibrant art scene that encompasses painters, sculptors, writers and poets, artisans of many types, musicians and dancers.

The Seychelles has a diverse and upcoming group of artists who draw inspiration from the Islands around them.

A National Art Gallery was inaugurated in 1994 on the occasion of the official opening of the National Cultural Centre which housed the National Library and the National Archives with other offices of the Ministry of Culture.

The Minister of Culture then said that an exhibition which featured the works of artists, painters and sculptors was a testimony to the development of art in Seychelles as a creative form of expression and gave a view of the state of contemporary art in Seychelles.

Contemporary Seychelles artists trained in universities the world over since the independence of the country in 1976, particularly, have been free to express themselves in a variety of styles.

Painters have traditionally taken inspiration from the richness of Seychelles natural beauty to produce a wide range of works using mediums ranging from water-colours to oils, acrylics, collages, metals, aluminium, wood, fabrics, gouache, varnishes, recycled materials, pastels, charcoal, embossing, etching, and giclee prints. Local sculptors produce fine works in wood, stone, bronze and cartonnage.

Art in Seychelles, Then and Now Is a recently published hardback that provides a unique overview of both contemporary art in Seychelles as well as exploring aspects of the history and development of visual art.

Fifty artists collaborated in the project through interview and the provision of work which collectively articulates an energised and increasingly diverse range of outcomes.

Generously illustrated in colour, the book annotates the work of practicing artists through their own words and provides a narrative timeline dating back to the first habitation of the islands in the 18th century.

Music and dance have always played a prominent role in Seychelles culture and in all types of local festivities. Rooted in African, Malagasy and European cultures, music is played to the accompaniment of drums such as the Tambour and Tam-Tam and simple string instruments. The violin and guitar are relatively recent foreign imports which play a prominent role in today's music.

The lively Sega dance with its elegant hip-swaying and shuffling of the feet is still popular as is the traditional Moutya, a mysterious, erotic dance dating back to the days of slavery when it was often used as an outlet for strong emotions and as a way of expressing discontent.

The music of Seychelles is diverse, a reflection of the fusion of cultures through its history. The folk music of the islands incorporates multiple influences in a syncretic fashion, including African rhythms, aesthetic and instrumentationsuch as the zez and the bom (known in Brazil as berimbau), European contredanse, polka and mazurka, French folk and pop, sega from Mauritius and Runion, taarab, soukous and other pan-African genres, and Polynesian, Indian and Arcadian music.

A form of percussion music called contombley is popular, as is Moutya, a fusion of native folk rhythms with Kenyan benga. Kontredans (based on European contredanse) is popular, especially in District and School competitions during the annual Festival Kreol (International Creole Festival). Moutya playing and dancing can often be seen at beach bazaars. Their main languages are Seychellois Creole of the French language, French and English.

Staple foods include fish, seafood and shellfish dishes, often accompanied with rice.[51][52] Fish dishes are cooked in several ways, such as steamed, grilled, wrapped in banana leaves, baked, salted and smoked.[51] Curry dishes with rice are also a significant aspect of the country's cuisine.[52][53]

Additional food staples include coconut, breadfruit, mangoes and kordonnyen fish.[54] Dishes are often garnished with fresh flowers.[54]

The main daily newspaper is the Seychelles Nation, dedicated to local government views and current affairs and topics. Other political parties operate other papers such as Regar. Foreign newspapers and magazines are readily available in most bookshops and newsagents. The papers are mostly written in Seychellois Creole, French and English.

The main television and radio network is operated by the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation which offers locally produced news and discussion programmes in the Seychellois Creole language. Broadcasts run between 3pm and 11:30pm on weekdays and longer hours during the weekends. There are also imported English and French language television programmes imported on Seychellois terrestrial television and international satellite television has grown rapidly in recent years.

The most popular sport in Seychelles is basketball, which has particularly developed last decade.[57] The country's national team qualified for the 2015 African Games, its greatest accomplishment to date. There, the team competed against some of the continent's largest countries such as Egypt.

Seychellois society is essentially matriarchal.[58][59] Mothers tend to be dominant in the household, controlling most expenditures and looking after the interests of the children.[58] Unwed mothers are the societal norm, and the law requires fathers to support their children.[59] Men are important for their earning ability, but their domestic role is relatively peripheral.[58]

Until the mid-19th century, little formal education was available in Seychelles. The Catholic and Anglican churches opened mission schools in 1851. The Catholic mission later operated boys' and girls' secondary schools with religious brothers and nuns from abroad even after the government became responsible for them in 1944.

A teacher training college opened in 1959, when the supply of locally trained teachers began to grow, and in short time many new schools were established. Since 1981 a system of free education has been in effect, requiring attendance by all children in grades one to nine, beginning at age five. Ninety percent of all children attend nursery school at age four.

The literacy rate for school-age children rose to more than 90% by the late 1980s. Many older Seychellois had not been taught to read or write in their childhood; adult education classes helped raise adult literacy from 60% to a claimed 100% in 2014.

There are a total of 68 schools in Seychelles. The public school system consists of 23 crches, 25 primary schools and 13 secondary schools. They are located on Mah, Praslin, La Digue and Silhouette. Additionally, there are three private schools: cole Franaise, International School and the independent school. All the private schools are on Mah, and the International School has a branch on Praslin. There are seven post-secondary (non-tertiary) schools: the Seychelles Polytechnic, School of Advanced Level Studies, Seychelles Tourism Academy, University of Seychelles Education, Seychelles Institute of Technology, Maritime Training Center, Seychelles Agricultural and Horticultural Training Center and the National Institute for Health and Social Studies.

The administration launched plans to open a university in an attempt to slow down the brain drain that has occurred. University of Seychelles, initiated in conjunction with the University of London, opened on 17 September 2009 in three locations, and offers qualifications from the University of London.

The Military of Seychelles is the Seychelles People's Defence Force which consists of a number of distinct branches: an Infantry Unit and Coast Guard, Air Force and a Presidential Protection Unit. India has played and continues to play a key role developing the military of Seychelles. After handing over two SDB Mk5 patrol vessels namely INS Tarasa and INS Tarmugli to Seychelles Coast Guard, built by GRSE which were subsequently renamed SCG Constant and SCG Topaz, India also gifted a Dornier Maritime Patrol aircraft built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.[60] India also signed a pact to develop Assumption Island, one of the 115 islands that make up the country. Spread over 11km2 (4sqmi), it is strategically located in the Indian Ocean, north of Madagascar. The island is being leased for the development of strategic assets by India.[61] In 2018, Seychelles signed the UN treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.[62][63]

In 2014, Seychelles had the highest incarceration rate in the world of 799 prisoners per 100,000 population, exceeding the United States' rate by 15%.[64] However, the country's actual population is less than 100,000; as of September 2014, Seychelles had 735 actual prisoners, 6% of whom were female, incarcerated in three prisons.[65]

Seychelles is a key participant in the fight against Indian Ocean piracy primarily committed by Somali pirates.[66] Former president James Michel said that piracy costs between $7million $12million a year to the international community: "The pirates cost 4% of the Seychelles GDP, including direct and indirect costs for the loss of boats, fishing, and tourism, and the indirect investment for the maritime security." These are factors affecting local fishing one of the country's main national resources which had a 46% loss in 20082009.[66] International contributions of patrol boats, planes or drones have been provided to help Seychelles combat sea piracy.[66]




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Seychelles - Wikipedia

Seychelles | Culture, History, & People | Britannica

Relief and climateMah IslandMah Island is a tropical island in the Seychelles archipelago that provides inspiration for artists.Contunico ZDF Enterprises GmbH, MainzSee all videos for this article

Seychelles, one of the worlds smallest countries, is composed of two main island groups: the Mah group of more than 40 central, mountainous granitic islands and a second group of more than 70 outer, flat, coralline islands. The islands of the Mah group are rocky and typically have a narrow coastal strip and a central range of hills. The overall aspect of those islands, with their lush tropical vegetation, is that of high hanging gardens overlooking silver-white beaches and clear lagoons. The highest point in Seychelles, Morne Seychellois (2,969 feet [905 metres]), situated on Mah, is located within this mountainous island group. The coralline islands, rising only a few feet above sea level, are flat with elevated coral reefs at different stages of formation. These islands are largely waterless, and very few have a resident population.

The climate is tropical oceanic, with little temperature variation during the year. Daily temperatures rise to the mid-80s F (low 30s C) in the afternoon and fall to the low 70s F (low 20s C) at night. Precipitation levels vary greatly from island to island; on Mah, annual precipitation ranges from 90 inches (2,300 mm) at sea level to 140 inches (3,560 mm) on the mountain slopes. Humidity is persistently high but is ameliorated somewhat in locations windward of the prevailing southeast trade winds.

Of the roughly 200 plant species found in Seychelles, some 80 are unique to the islands, including screw pines (see pandanus), several varieties of jellyfish trees, latanier palms, the bois rouge, the bois de fer, Wrights gardenia, and the most famous, the coco de mer. The coco de merwhich is found on only two islandsproduces a fruit that is one of the largest and heaviest known and is valued by a number of Asian cultures for believed aphrodisiac, medicinal, mystic, and other properties. The Seychellois government closely monitors the quantity and status of the trees, and, although commerce is regulated to prevent overharvesting, poaching is a concern.

Wildlife includes a remarkably diverse array of marine life, including more than 900 identified species of fish; green sea turtles and giant tortoises also inhabit the islands. Endemic species include birds such as Seychelles bulbuls and cave-dwelling Seychelles swiftlets; several species of local tree frogs, snails, and wormlike caecilians; Seychelles wolf snakes and house snakes; tiger chameleons; and others. Endemic mammals are few; both fruit bats (Pteropus seychellensis) and Seychelles sheath-tailed bats (Coleura seychellensis) are endemic to the islands. Indian mynahs, barn owls, and tenrecs (small shrewlike or hedgehoglike mammals introduced from Madagascar) are also found.

Considerable efforts have been made to preserve the islands marked biodiversity. Seychelles government has established several nature preserves and marine parks, including the Aldabra Islands and Valle de Mai National Park, both UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Aldabra Islands, a large atoll, are the site of a preserve inhabited by tens of thousands of giant tortoises, the worlds oldest living creatures, which government conservation efforts have helped rescue from the brink of extinction. Valle de Mai National Park is the only place where all six of the palm species endemic to Seychelles, including the coco de mer, may be found together. Cousin Island is home to a sanctuary for land birds, many endemic to the islands, including the Seychelles sunbird (a type of hummingbird) and the Seychelles brush warbler. The nearby Cousine Island is part private resort and part nature preserve, noted for its sea turtles, giant tortoises, and assorted land birds. Bird Island is the breeding ground for millions of terns, turtle doves, shearwaters, frigate birds, and other seabirds that flock there each year.

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Seychelles | Culture, History, & People | Britannica

Seychelles Map / Geography of Seychelles / Map of …

The Republic of Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands located in the Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar.

Pre-European colonization the islands were known by Arab navigators on trading voyages, but were never inhabited.

Eventually Seychelles was settled by France in the 18th century, but it wasn't long before the British fought for control. A lengthy struggle between France and Great Britain for the islands ended in 1814, when they were ceded to the latter.

Although the new governor to the islands was British, he governed according to French rules, and allowed previous French customs to remain intact. Slavery was completely abolished in 1835, and the island nation subsequently began to decline as exportation decreased.

The anti-slavery stance was taken very seriously by the British government, and conditions started improving when it was realized that coconuts could be grown with less labour.

In the late 19th century, Seychelles became a place to exile troublesome political prisoners, most notably from Zanzibar, Egypt, Cyprus and Palestine.

Independence for the islands came in 1976, after the Seychelles People's United Party was formed and led by France-Albert Rene, campaigning for socialism and freedom from Britain.

Socialism was brought to a close with a new constitution and free elections in 1993. President France-Albert Rene, who had served since 1977, was re-elected in 2001, but stepped down in 2004.

Vice President James Michel took over the presidency and in July 2006 was elected to a new five-year term.

Upon independence in 1976, economic growth has steadily increased, led by the tourism sector and tuna fishing. In the past few years, the government has also created incentives for foreign investments. Per capita, Seychelles is the most indebted country in the world and currently had a population of 90,024.

This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.

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Seychelles Map / Geography of Seychelles / Map of ...

Seychelles Tourism Board CEO: Stay home and travel later – we are all in this together! – eTurboNews | Trends | Travel News

Sherin Francis is one of the hardest working CEOs in the travel and tourism industry, welcoming visitors to her island nation with open arms for many years.

Sherin is the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, a country that is relying on tourism for its people to prosper. Seychelles is also paradise on Earth in a lot of ways, recognized as one of the most beautiful travel destinations and tourism infrastructures in the world. Located in the Indian Ocean, Seychelles is fragile, like any island region. Seychelles is also a country where everyone is a friend, and no one is considered an enemy.

Its important to maintain Seychelles as a beautiful travel destination and to protect its people.

Today Sherin Francis addressed friends of Seychelles and the world with this heartwarming message and advice:

The world as we know has taken a challenging turn on 30 January 2020, when the WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.

We anticipated that we would be affected as a destination but even more so as individuals, we were concerned for our families, friends, acquaintances, business partners all over the world.

In the past few weeks, we have witnessed the spreading of an aggressive virus that has proven difficult for the medical corps around the world to understand and manage. Our thoughts go to everyone around the world as we are all affected by this crisis.

Over the past few weeks, I believe people have realized that the tourism industry is a very fragile one; everything that happens locally and internationally can affects the industry we all depend on as a country.

It is a sad moment for us to see the industry we cherish be brought to its knees; borders closing, airlines and cruise companies shutting their operations, hotel partners announcing the reduction of their activities.

The fast evolution of the situation makes it very difficult at this point for us as the Tourism Board to estimate and analyze the impact and damage to the industry and much less to plan the recovery of our industry. These sad days are fuelling our motivation as a Tourism Board to work harder to make sure that our industry now critically incapacitated shines again when brighter days will come.

We are currently working on various plans to bring Seychelles Tourism to new dawn basing ourselves on a short-term and a long-term plan.

Our short-term plan would be on the assumption that the situation does not deteriorate. If people are required to stay in confinement at home or if there is a countrywide fear, we will have to wait for these to pass before it can be executed.

Since at STB, we believe there are positive things that come out of everything even from crisis as this one, we now have the possibility to shift our marketing efforts locally and provide some supports to partners who are willing to tap into the staycation segment. We are looking forward to this new challenge!!!

On the long run, our recovery plan to get back on our feet as a destination after this crisis will depend on six major things including:

Above all, for our plan to work, we will need your continued support.

I would like to commend all STB staff for their dedication in this time of need. A special thought to the frontline staff at the Seychelles International Airport, at the Praslin Airport, the La Digue Jetty and also all staff stationed in the four corners of the world.

I am grateful to the industry partners, as most of them have responded positively in all instances when contacted by our teams. This has reassured us in showing that they have our industry at heart and are dedicated to its wellbeing.

My message to the industry and our partners is to remain strong in these trying times, encourage travelers to postpone and not cancel their travel. To all of our travelers, I am urging you to postpone your travel, stay home and travel later.

Remember we are all in this together!

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Seychelles Tourism Board CEO: Stay home and travel later - we are all in this together! - eTurboNews | Trends | Travel News

President Faure visits La Digue and Praslin following announcement of measures in response to COVID-19 outbreak – Office of the President of the…

24 March 2020 | Enterpreneurship Development

President Danny Faure visited La Digue and Praslin this morning following the announcement of a series of measures on Friday to address the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The President announced that on Monday an office would open on both Praslin and La Digue to provide information on the measures in place, the guidelines that need to be followed, and provide any clarifications. Speaking to the Vice-Chairman of the La Digue Business Association, Mr Robert Pool, the President said, Seychelles is likely to remain in this state for some time to come. We are economically very vulnerable and what is key for Government is guaranteeing the salaries of all our people in this time.

Mr Pool had the opportunity to brief the President on the reality facing citizens and businesses on La Digue and thanked him for the economic measures in place that would safeguard wellbeing and economic activity.

The President also visited Logan hospital on La Digue and spoke with the nurse in charge, Ms Maria Cousin. She outlined the preparations that the hospital has made. The President thanked her and all health professionals for their dedication and hard work during the crisis.

President Faure also visitedPraslin today where he met with the Chairman of the Praslin Business Association, Mr Christopher Gill. Mr Gill discussed the difficult situation facing Seychelles and assured the President of Praslin Business Associations support to stabilise the countrys economy. He also made some suggestions of further economic measures the President could consider putting in place, and some of the more specific needs of the Praslin community.

The President visited Baie Ste Anne hospital where he met with the nursing manager Ms Myra Ernesta, who described the ongoing training for health professionals and the rapid response system in place. He also met with Mr William Rose at the Baie Ste Anne jetty who was able to share his first-hand experience of the effects of the pandemic so far.

Speaking to the press following his visit, the President said, My visit today has made the difficult reality the country is facing without tourism even clearer. This is a reality that we will face for some time to come and it will be tough, due to factors beyond our control. We need to ensure that the economy stays afloat, which is why Government has put a series of measures in place. After 12 years of hard work, we must be ready to face the economic crisis that is coming, worse than what we went through in 2008. There are measures and precautions we can take to keep ourselves, our family and the community safe. Changing our habits takes time, but the precautions are necessary if we want to ensure Seychelles is able to get through this difficult time. This is a moment that requires understanding, solidarity and discipline.

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President Faure visits La Digue and Praslin following announcement of measures in response to COVID-19 outbreak - Office of the President of the...

‘We better go home’: Kearney couple returns from 11-country world tour, is now isolating – Kearney Hub

KEARNEY Mary and Ron Scott had traveled to 75 foreign countries before their last trip an 11-nation round-the-world journey that they concluded March 16.

The couple is back home in Kearney, but they must log another several days in self-quarantine before theyre free to leave their house.

The Scotts departed on Jan. 3 and intended to travel for three months. The first 10 weeks carried them to beautiful and exotic places. There were few signs of the COVID-19 pandemic that might have prompted them to abandon the trip that they had been planning since October.

Some airports were scanning travelers for fever, and the couple had to fill out health forms, but otherwise the trip seemed mostly worry-free, they said.

Nobody was wearing masks. We were ahead of it. We were surfing the coronavirus wave, Ron said.

A dose of reality finally struck as Mary and Ron headed toward Cartagena, a city on the Atlantic coast of Colombia. From there they planned to visit Ecuador and Panama before returning to Kearney.

Travel bans made the remaining Central American stops an impossibility, so the couple faced a choice: Travel elsewhere and risk being marooned in international airports or return to Nebraska.

Mary said, We woke up on March 16 and said, We better go home.

Since their return theyve been passing time mostly indoors, but theyve taken a few neighborhood strolls keeping their distance from others.

After more than a week in isolation, the couple was happy to share some of the details of their journey, which took them to Hawaii, Bali, Singapore, Myanmar, India, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Dubai, Portugal, Canary Islands and Netherlands.

Amsterdam wasnt on their itinerary until the Scotts began searching for flights back to Kearney.

Most of their trip took them to places that arent well-known among American travelers, and they didnt encounter large groups of tourists until Portugal. Otherwise, the Scotts visited the worlds tallest building, saw the legendary Taj Mahal in India and witnessed what Ron described as ... weird-looking rocks on beaches in the Seychelles.

They also were able to share part of the trip with friends from the Kearney area.

Chris Raymond, who grew up in Kearney, works in public health and lives in Jakarta, Indonesia. He hosted the Scotts in Bali.

They also met friends Marsha and Jim Fairbanks of Shelton and shared time in Myanmar.

David and Carolyn Fairbanks of Lexington hosted them in their Hawaii home.

Myanmar was the strangest place. We took a balloon ride over a big area with many Hindu temples, Ron said. The pilot radioed to the chase team Landing in field one. ... and then he said, Landing in field two. ...

We cruised on a river. It was just so different, the jungles and temples, and the people were so friendly, Mary said about Myanmar.

All the kids were giving us high-fives while we rode by, Ron said about scooting around in three-wheel taxis called tri-shaws.

The Scotts planned their trip with a company named Air-Treks.

Mary said, Thats all they do is trips around the world. They were so good to help us when we had trouble. We are so grateful.

There was something very liberating about doing this on your own, Ron said, and also somewhat scary.

Mary and Ron said the two weeks in self-quarantine will be a part of their memory. Theyve been passing the time in various ways, taking their temperature each day, walking in the neighborhood and waiting for their daughter, Kathy Bokenkamp, to drop by with food.

Married 52 years, the Scotts said their longtime motto has been, Travel when you can. There will be a time when you cant.

Mary said after the coronavirus adventure, that may change.

Go when you can and get home when you can. Thats our new motto, she said.


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'We better go home': Kearney couple returns from 11-country world tour, is now isolating - Kearney Hub

Sans Soucis Housing Estate officially opened – News – Office of the President of the Republic of Seychelles

20 March 2020 | Housing

President Danny Faure attended the official opening of the Sans Soucis Housing Estate at Bel Air this afternoon. The President was accompanied by the Minister for Habitat, Infrastructure and Land Transport, Mrs Pamela Charlette, and had the honour of unveiling the plaque to officially declare the estate open.

24 families registered in the Bel Air district received keys to their new house today. The Sans Soucis Housing Estate comprises of 16 two-bedroom units and 8 three-bedroom units, at a cost of around 35 million Rupees. It was built by local contractor Turnkey Solution who began their contract in June 2018 and completed the work last month.

Speaking at the event, Minister Charlette said that as the country faces an extraordinary crisis, it is important that the Government continues to lead and bring comfort to its people. She stated that this will not be the last housing project in the Bel Air district, as it is in the programme for the construction of 2500 houses as announced in the Presidents State of the Nation Address last month.

With the official opening of this housing estate, this represents 276 housing units completed and allocated under the 24-24 housing project.

The ceremony was also attended by the Minister for Family Affairs, Mrs Mitcy Larue, Member of the National Assembly for Bel Air district, Hon Norbert Loizeau, Principal Secretary for Social Affairs, Mrs Linda William-Mlanie, Bel Air District Administrator, Ms Denise Dufrene, staff from the Ministry of Habitat, Infrastructure and Land Transport and PMC, and other distinguished guests.

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Sans Soucis Housing Estate officially opened - News - Office of the President of the Republic of Seychelles

President Faure chairs first Joint Command Chain meeting – Office of the President of the Republic of Seychelles

21 March 2020 | Defence

This afternoon, President Danny Faure chaired the first joint command chain meeting with the Seychelles Peoples Defence Forces, the Police and Intelligence Service.

The joint command chain has been established with the task of maintaining law and order in the country under any eventuality that may arise as a result of measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. It serves as a mechanism to ensure proper coordination and support for the Department of Health, and compliance for its advisories.

In the meeting, officials present had the opportunity to receive a full briefing on the existing public health emergency situation from the Department of Health, and discuss preparations for any additional measures that may be required to effectively respond. It was confirmed that there are currently no cases of community transmission in Seychelles.

Present at the meeting this afternoon was the Vice-President, Mr Vincent Meriton, Designated Minister, Mrs Macsuzy Mondon, Chief of Defence Forces, ColonelClifford Roseline, Commisioner of Police, Mr Kishnan Labonte, Attorney General, Mr Frank Ally, Secretary of State for Presidential Affairs, Mrs Aude Labaleine,Secretary of State for Health, Ambassador Marie-Pierre Lloyd, Chief of Staff of SPDF, Colonel Michael Rosette, Principal Secretary for Risk and Disaster Management, Mr Paul Labaleine, CEO of the Healthcare Agency, Dr Danny Louange, the Public Health Commissioner, Dr Jude Gedeon,Assistant Commisioners of Police, Mr Ted Barbe and Mr Romano Songore and Director General of the Seychelles Inteligience Service, Mr Benediste Hoareau.

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President Faure chairs first Joint Command Chain meeting - Office of the President of the Republic of Seychelles

President Faure meets with economic sector representatives following announcement of measures to tackle COVID-19 impacts – Office of the President of…

21 March 2020 | State House

President Danny Faure chaired a meeting with representatives of the economic sector at State House this morning, to discuss the way forward following his address yesterdaydetailing various measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Seychelles.

The President thanked the representatives for sharing their ideas over the last 2 weeks and stressed on the importance of continuing to work as a team for the benefit of the people and the country.

We need to ensure from here on out we work together and adopt a coordinated approach, where Government and private sector ensures our economy remains stable and there is food and job security for our people, said President Faure.

Discussions centred on how to mitigate the impacts on the economy as well as other critical short and long-term concerns and implications the various sectors anticipate. As such, during the meeting this morning representatives were also able to share their feedback and views on the economic measures announced and together identify potential new measures required.

The President has also today created two new high-level committees focused on the critical aspects of providing financial support to businesses in need and ensuring food security. The committees are responsible for establishing the criteria for eligibility and the level of assistance that businesses will be able to receive. The Committees will meet on a daily basis under the Chairmanship of the Secretary of State for Finance, Mr Patrick Payet, and the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr Charles Bastienne respectively.

The first meetings of both committees will take place on Monday 23 March and be chaired by the President.

Present for the meeting this morning at State House, was the Minister of Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning, Mr Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, the Secretary of State for Finance, Mr Patrick Payet, The Governor of the Central Bank, Ms. Caroline Abel, the Economic Advisor to the President, Mr Bertrand Belle, Principal Secretary for Finance, Mr Damien Thesee, the Chief Executive of STC, Mrs Christine Joubert, the Chief Executive of SEYPEC, Mr Conrad Benoiton, Chairman of the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Oliver Bastienne, Chairman of Air Seychelles, Mr. Jean Weeling, Chairman of the Agricultural Producers Association of Seychelles, Dr. Barry Nourrice, Chairman of Seychelles Fishing Authority, Mr Cyril Bonnelame, and Chairperson of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association, Mrs Sybille Cardon.

Following the meeting, representatives of key sectors including tourism, agriculture, fisheries and business spoke to the press. To listen to the full interview please click the link below:https://youtu.be/qkoDOrZJSi0

An Extra-Ordinary Cabinet meeting was also held this morning to discuss and action on measures required by Government, in addition to the revised Budget for 2020.

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President Faure meets with economic sector representatives following announcement of measures to tackle COVID-19 impacts - Office of the President of...

He’s the travel writer whose globetrotting adventures have won him legions of fans… but few of them have any idea that Tim Ecott grew up in Northern…

Travel writer Tim Ecott has been all over the world, from the Seychelles to the Faroe Islands and from Mozambique to Maine - which could be one reason why nobody in Northern Ireland ever recognises the accent.

ut no, he says - despite being born and reared here - he never had the accent, and continues to find it mildly irritating that people here dont accept him as Irish.

As you can tell, I dont sound Irish and I never have - its not a case of losing the accent or disguising it, he says.

My father was English and my mother had lived abroad a lot, so they didnt have Irish accents particularly.

Even though I was born there and christened there and went to school there and went to Queens University, its always, you know, even at Queens, people in the shops would say Are you here on your holidays?. Sometimes I would just say yes because I couldnt be bothered to explain.

A journalist and broadcaster whose work has taken him all over the world, Tim has slowed the pace right down for his latest written work, The Land of Maybe, an in-depth love letter to the Faroe Islands and its people, documenting the 18 remote North Atlantic islands through a calendar year.

He follows the arrival of the migratory birds, the overwintering of the sheep and the changing demands of the natural environment, where people still hunt seabirds and herd pilot whales to supply their dietary needs. Tim admits he did see some similarities between those remote Viking Isles and the landscape where he was brought up.

I was offered a travel writing assignment there about 11 or 12 years ago. I just took the opportunity and went there and fell in love with it pretty quickly, he says.

I think actually it reminded me of the Mountains of Mourne - I felt very at home there straight away. It was a very different and foreign place in many ways but there are a lot of cultural, historical and geological connections with Ireland. Its a very close-knit society and theres a lot of music, theres a lot of writing, theres a lot of poetry.

People are very family oriented - the church is still very strong - and there are lots of similarities with the Ireland in which I grew up, certainly the Ireland of my grandparents, and I think I responded to that on some level.

I also loved the remoteness of it and the harshness of the weather and the fact that it was underpopulated - you could get up in the mountains and be away from people quite easily. But at the same time, I found the people there were the friendliest, most hospitable people Ive ever met anywhere in my travels all over the world.

Born in Newtownards, Tim now lives in a village near Oxford with his wife Jessica, who did the line drawings for this book, and has a son and daughter of university age. He grew up in Ballyholme, attending Bangor Grammar School. My father was in the Army and moved around a lot - that is why I dont have the accent, he says.

While his dad Stuart was English, his mum Pamela had roots in Northern Ireland - her dad came from a farming family in Lurgan and fought in the First World War with his five brothers before staying on in the Army.

My mother was actually born in Egypt, when my grandmother was on my way out to join my grandfather in India. But they returned to Newcastle after India and thats where my grandparents spent the rest of their life.

In previous memoirs, Tim has documented how his dads role in the Army meant stints of living in Wales, Germany and Malaysia, but he left the Army once the family returned to Northern Ireland from overseas.

He was convinced that education in Northern Ireland was superior, and he loved living there more than England - slightly to my mothers frustration who was always dreaming of escaping the weather which she hated, having spent her childhood in India, Tim says.

As a child, Tim wanted to be a vet, admitting he was obsessed with animals.

My mother bred Siamese cats and we always had dogs and cats and whatever else, and I kept fish. Because we had so many cats and dogs I was always the one who had to go to the vet and I would take the stitches out and I was obsessed with looking after the animals, he says.

From the age of about six all I wanted to be was a vet and then the reality of not doing very well in my Physics O-Level hit home and that was the end of my veterinary ambitions.

Instead he went to Queens in 1982 to read English Literature, but soon fell in love with anthropology and switched courses.

Im sure being exposed to so much talk of foreign places etc drove my interest in anthropology, he muses.

If were talking about the Northern Irish side of my life, the Queens time is probably the most interesting and the happiest.

I loved every minute of being there and was sorry when it came to an end. Queens was a little bubble or oasis of peace. I was very, very active in the Queens University boat club - so many dark and grizzly winter days were spent down on the Lagan. I carried on rowing even when I worked at the BBC and I eventually was a member of London Rowing Club.

In his last year at school, Tims parents, brother and sister had emigrated to South Africa, so he was there in the holidays and returned to Belfast in term time.

I would usually go in the summer and work in Johannesburg to save up money for the coming academic year, he says.

Part of the final exam was to produce a 10,000 word dissertation and I was lucky enough to be able to use my summers in South Africa to be able to do the field work.

In Tims case, however, his field work didnt focus on a tribal or ethnic study - but a German restaurant, putting his summer job as a wine waiter to good use.

I wrote my thesis on power structures in a German restaurant in South Africa. So it was a kind of study of how somebody may on paper look like hes the boss, but maybe somebody lower down the food chain has more influence than you would expect because of their personal relationship, he says.

Its about collecting very detailed information about how the people worked together and the things they said off the record and behind each others backs and how that played out and what went on in the actual day-to-day running of the restaurant.

I think a lot of my friends at Queens thought I was swanning off to Africa to lie beside the swimming pool while servants brought me iced tea, but in fact I worked.

After Queens he did a postgraduate anthropology at Cambridge, then went into the film industry, before applying for a job at the BBC. While he didnt get the job, his CV went across to BBC World Service and he was offered a job in the Africa service.

I worked for a live current affairs and news programme that ran four times a day, something like the Today Programme but Africa. So we covered the whole of sub Saharan Africa and part of our job was to be familiar with the politics and conflicts all over the continent, but we would also make regular duty trips to do in-depth reporting, he says.

I also had a two-year stint working for the African service in Johannesburg, and actually my time there coincided with Fergal Keane so we did some jobs together. I also did another two years in the Indian Ocean based in Seychelles.

I was based in Johannesburg the year that Mandela was released and therefore the run-up to the democratic elections - that was a very interesting time to be in South Africa because all kinds of things were changing and all kinds of contacts with the outside world were being renewed.

I did a lot of interesting stories, everything I think from covering Crystal Palace coming to play in Soweto to Neil Simon coming and doing a concert with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. I interviewed Christian Barnard about his life and his pioneering work as a heart surgeon and I became quite friendly with the King of Lesotho - so lots of interesting stuff really.

During his time in the Seychelles, Tim learned to scuba dive, which stood him in good stead when he left the BBC and went freelance as a travel writer.

Because I was a very experienced diver, I got a lot of great assignments, everywhere from Tahiti to Mozambique to Maine to Fiji, you name it Ive been there, done it.

The new book focuses on nature and the landscape in the Faroes Islands, as well as how history and climate have shaped the culture.

There are more sheep than people there and everybody owns some sheep, so Ive learned a lot about sheep and shepherding and Ive done a lot of rounding up of sheep, weighing of sheep, shearing of sheep, counting of sheep, slaughtering of sheep and butchering a sheep and eating bits of sheep that I never knew existed, Tim says.

Ive also been out catching seabirds and Ive also witnessed pilot whale hunting. The book is about how we make decisions, which animals we think its okay to kill and eat and how we make judgments about other cultures - and its about sustainability.

If a species is not endangered, is it better to kill and eat that animal locally, rather than buy imported meat which has been kept on a farm and wrapped in plastic and shipped in in a container or flown in? Is that morally better than catching things that are on your doorstep and killing them with a knife - Im not sure it is.

But he admits experiencing an internal battle over the pilot whale hunting.

Its a complex issue, and I think people are very quick to react on an emotional level. Because of my marine science background and my years spent diving, and some of my happiest and most spiritual encounters in my life have been with marine mammals, so the very idea of witnessing pilot whales being killed at first hand was something I wasnt sure I wanted to see, he says.

I didnt know how I would cope with it, so a big part of the journey in the book, if you like, is how I deal with that.

Tim says that globalisation has been affecting the islands ever since the Irish monks arrived in the 4th century, but the islanders have their own language and a strong social cohesion.

About 40% of the total population now live in the capital, and the remote villages on the smaller islands are becoming depopulated, certainly in the winter, he says.

But a lot of Faroese people have returned to the islands - for many years there was a net outflow of people but in the last five or 10 years, people have been returning to the islands because they want their children to grow up with Faroese culture - they want that strength of community, they want that family, that safety.

Its a very safe place - crime is still almost unheard of, people dont lock their cars.

They could go on holiday for two weeks to Spain and dont lock that house while theyre away.

The Land of Maybe: A Faroe Islands Year by Tim Ecott is published by Short Books on March 12, 14.99 hardback

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He's the travel writer whose globetrotting adventures have won him legions of fans... but few of them have any idea that Tim Ecott grew up in Northern...

WATCH | Government puts nature centre stage in the Seychelles | Living – Euronews

The white sand, turquoise water and bright wildlife of the Seychelles just can't help looking like a tourism advert at all times. For long, this paradise was seen as an exclusive destination, however, reflecting a global trend, this group of 115 islands off the coast of East Africa is seeing visitor numbers climb ever higher. Many islands in the archipelago are at a crossroad in terms of tourism growth: some are facing the risk of a declining product and visitor experience due to unsustainable growth.

And yet tourism is a vital part of this nation's economy, accounting for more than sixty percent of its GDP. The key issue for the government is working out how to maintain this industry, without letting it overrun the place.

Protecting the fragile ecosystem is already at risk, as plastic washes up on the country's shores hardly touched by mankind.

On the one hand, nearly half of the Seychelles, 455 square kilometres, are classed as protected areas including two UNESCO world heritage sites: the Mai Valley and its indigenous coco de mer palm trees, and the Aldabra Atoll, home to the Seychelles' famed giant tortoises. By later this year, 30 percent of the country's 1.3 million square km of marine territory will have protected status too.

As part of their conservation efforts, the government introduced a temporary ban in 2015 on the construction of new hotels on the three main islands. "Development is kept to a minimum and that it does not really destroy what we inherited", said Tourism Minister Didier Dogley to AFP.

However, new resorts, approved before the 2015 ban, will add an additional 3,000 hotel rooms to the already existing 6,000. "We believe that we can go up to 500,000 tourists, that is just an estimate for the time being," said Dogley.

The tourism industry has implemented a certification programme Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label and by 2023 half of the large hotels and guesthouses shall be certified, states the latest strategy of the government. The Seychelles Tourism Master Plan: Destination 2023 has been created last year, aiming to increase investment in sustainable tourism, support small establishments and increase locals' participation in the sector.

The Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Foundation has been advocating that the archipelago becomes a Global Sustainable Tourism Council certified destination. Poverty alleviation, gender equity and environmental sustainability (including climate change) are the main cross-cutting issues addressed in the criteria.

Large hotel groups have put measures in place to limit their impact on the environment, such as having their own vegetable gardens and reducing plastic and energy use. Smaller, Seychellois-owned establishments, though not leaving the same ecological footprint, sometimes lack the resources to match these efforts, despite government incentives.

The small, hilly country is forced to import more than 90 percent of its goods, and most of the energy needed to keep the islands running is derived from oil-powered generators. Still, the pursuit of eco-friendly growth over profit alone has struck a chord with some visitors.

"We didn't know much about the ecological side of tourism in the Seychelles... but once here, it really hit us," said Romain Tonda, a 28-year-old French tourist on his honeymoon on Cousin Island, fringed by coral reef. "It's not perfect, but we can see that it's something that is important for the Seychellois."

Watch the video to learn more about the efforts to preserve the Seychelles' natural resources.

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WATCH | Government puts nature centre stage in the Seychelles | Living - Euronews

Believe it or not: No coronavirus death recorded in 87 countries and territories – The News International

Believe it or not: No coronavirus death recorded in 87 countries and territories

LAHORE: As humans fear fellow homo sapiens in at least 196 countries and territories of the world, where 407,000 people have been affected by coronavirus and over 18,200 people have died from this deadly and ruthless disease till the filing of this report at around 11pm Pakistan Standard Time on Tuesday, there are 87 lucky nations that have not even recorded a single death due to this pandemic, reveals a painstaking research undertaken by the Jang Group and Geo Television Network.

These 87 lucky countries and territories with no recorded death despite confirmed COVID-19 cases (number listed in brackets) include:

Qatar (501 cases), Oman (84 cases), Kuwait (191 cases), Russia (495 cases), Nepal (2 cases), New Zealand (155 cases), Estonia (369 cases), Vietnam (134 cases), Malta (110 cases), Bhutan (2 cases), Angola (2 cases), Brunei (104 cases), Jordan (127 cases), Croatia (361 cases), Armenia (249 cases), Slovakia (204 cases), Latvia (197 cases), Uruguay (162 cases), Sri Lanka (102 cases), Cambodia (91 cases), Senegal (86 cases), Venezuela (84 cases), Myanmar (2 cases), Mauritania (2 cases), Belarus (81 cases), Georgia (70 cases), Kazakhstan (70 cases), South Africa (554 cases), Cameroon (66 cases), Palestine (59 cases), Liechtenstein (51 cases), Trinidad and Tobago (52 cases), Fiji (4 cases), Northern Cyprus (40 cases), Kyrgyzstan (42 cases), Guinea (4 cases), Namibia (4 cases), Uzbekistan (49 cases), Vatican City (one cases), Syria (one case), Somalia (one case), Liberia (3 cases), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (one case), Mozambique (one case), Papua New guinea (one case), Grenada (one case), Kenya (16 cases), Jersey (16 cases), Maldives (13 cases), Eretria (one case), East Timor (one case), Belize (one case), Dominica (one case), Antigua and Barbuda (one case), Rwanda (36 cases), Kosovo (31 cases), Zambia (3 cases), Chad (3 cases), Central African Republic (3 cases), Isle of Man (13 cases), Barbados (17 cases), Djibouti (3 cases), Honduras (30 cases), Bolivia (28 cases), Ivory Coast (25 cases), Macau (25 cases), Monaco (23 cases), Guernsey (20 cases), Laos (2 cases), Saint Lucia (2 cases), Niger (2 cases), Nicaragua (2 cases), Eswatini (4 cases), Suriname (6 cases), Benin (5 cases), Bahamas (4 cases), Congo (4 cases), Haiti (5 cases), El Salvador (5 cases), Uganda (9 cases), Seychelles (7 cases), Mongolia (10 cases), Madagascar (12 cases), Tanzania (12 cases), Equatorial Guinea (9 cases), Ethiopia (12 cases) and Togo (20 cases).

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the actual number of infections and cases in all countries are likely to be higher than reported, but impossible to ascertain.

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Believe it or not: No coronavirus death recorded in 87 countries and territories - The News International

Nature is prized above mass tourism in Seychelles – The Star Online

In a shady patch along a pristine white beach on Mahe Island, a radio spits out reggae and snapper sizzles on the barbecue, as Seychelloise Nareen tops up her rum and Coke on time off from her job aboard a luxury yacht.

Her family is spending the weekend at the beach where a couple dipping their feet into the turquoise waters off in the distance are the only foreign tourists in sight.

We dont have mass tourism in Seychelles, and thats great. That is how we want it, says Nareen, 32, who asked for her full name not to be published.

Nevertheless, like most citizens, she earns her living from tourism, which makes up more than 60% of GDP in the Seychelles, the only country in Africa that is considered high income by the World Bank.

The Indian Ocean archipelago, a chain of 115 islands, is a byword for luxury holidays, Instagram-perfect beaches and has gained a reputation as a honeymoon idyll.

But it is confronting a tug-of-war over how to keep the economy growing, while protecting its fragile ecosystem.

More tourists means its better for the economy, but its not the only thing that comes into play, Nareen says.One island, one resort

High-end tourism, from Europe mainly, helped pull the Seychelles from the brink of financial ruin after the 2008 economic crisis.

Visitor numbers almost doubled in the decade that followed, to around 360,000 in 2018, nearly four times the countrys population.But now the Seychelles is grappling with how many visitors it can realistically accommodate. An official study commissioned into the matter is due to begin soon.

In the meantime, the government placed a moratorium in 2015 on the construction of large resorts on the three main islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue.

It wanted both to protect the environment and encourage the growth of smaller, locally run hotels. On further-flung islands, the Seychelles practises a one island, one resort policy.

Its about controlling the number of tourists that come here, through controlling the number of rooms in the hotels that exist, Tourism Minister Didier Dogley said.

The Seychelles has 6,000 hotel rooms, but another 3,000 are in the pipeline, having been approved before the moratorium took effect, Dogley said.

We believe that we can go up to 500,000 tourists, that is just an estimate for the time being, he said.

White-tailed tropicbirds on Cousin Island, a nature reserve island managed by Nature Seychelles, national environmental NGO, Seychelles.

World heritage

Nearly half of the Seychelles 455sq km are classed as protected areas. By later this year, 30% of its 1.3 million sq km of marine territory will have protected status too, under a special arrangement in which conservation groups agree in return to pay a small portion of Seychelles national debt.

The country has two Unesco world heritage sites: the Mai Valley and its indigenous coco de mer palm trees, and the Aldabra Atoll, home to the Seychelles famed giant tortoises.With a few exceptions such as the popular Beau Vallon Beach on Mahe or Anse Source dArgent on La Digue, regularly named one of the worlds most beautiful beaches, tranquillity reigns on the islands.

Most beachside resorts keep a low profile, blending into the jungle backdrop that reaches into the islands interior from the white sands bordering the azure shores.

It all depends on the standards that you want to maintain, said Nirmal Shah, executive director of environmental NGO Nature Seychelles. He believes that some of the more popular sites have already reached their full capacity.

The Seychelles, he said, really do not want to become an eyesore like some beaches in Europe, crowded by umbrellas and edged by concrete.

Yan Coquet, the programme coordinator of a conservation boot camp, swimming in the clear waters in Cousin Island.

Room to improve

On Grand Police, in the south of Mahe island, locals have been angered by a Gulf companys plans to build a new resort, approved before the 2015 ban.

The project is unpopular over concerns about the health of a local marshland but also because most large resorts are owned by foreign groups.

The government has promised to talk to those behind the new resort to explore how the proposal could be dropped.

Despite environmental pledges and efforts, Dogley said that much still had to be done in Seychelles to ensure a sustainable tourism industry.Large hotel groups have put measures in place to limit their impact on the environment, such as having their own vegetable gardens and reducing plastic and energy use.

Smaller, Seychellois-owned establishments, though not leaving the same ecological footprint, sometimes lack the resources to match these efforts, despite government incentives.Given our small population, the number of tourists is huge, and it is difficult to absorb the footprint of so many visitors, said Shah.

More than a quarter of the workforce is foreign, he pointed out, especially in the tourism and construction industries unemployment is only around 3.5%.

The tourism industry faces other constraints, too.

The small, hilly country is forced to import more than 90% of its goods, and most of the energy needed to keep the islands running is derived from oil-powered generators.Still, the pursuit of eco-friendly growth over profit alone has struck a chord with some visitors.

We didnt know much about the ecological side of tourism in the Seychelles... but once here, it really hit us, says Romain Tonda, a 28-year-old French tourist on his honeymoon on Cousin Island, fringed by coral reef.

Its not perfect, but we can see that its something that is important for the Seychellois. AFP

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Nature is prized above mass tourism in Seychelles - The Star Online

Where will Bafana play home Afcon qualifier against Sao Tome in March? – SowetanLIVE

The SA Football Association (Safa) are still in the process of finalising the venue for Bafana Bafanas home 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Sao Tome e Principe in March.

TimesLIVE understands that it will be an inland stadium and Safa may well go for Soweto with a quick turnaround between the home and away fixture against the tiny West African islands.

The exact dates for the fixtures have also yet to be released but the Fifa window runs from March 23-31.

Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki will be eager to minimise the travel for his players to give them maximum time to prepare and that means being as close to OR Tambo International as possible.

It is the same formula that was used when they had a double-header against Seychelles in the 2019 qualifiers playing the home leg at the FNB Stadium before a meeting with the Indian Ocean Island team in Victoria just three days later.

In that instance they could at least get a direct flight from Johannesburg to the Seychelles but face a much more convoluted path to Sao Tome e Principe.

The quickest route to the islands is via Luanda on Angolan Airlines though flying via Portugal is also an option though a longer way round.

Bafana will meet Sao Tome e Principe for the first time and could need back-to-back wins to ensure they at least finish second in their qualification pool and reach the finals in Cameroon next January/February.

They will also be eager to make use of the altitude of the Highveld to tire the visiting players just as they did when they romped to a record 6-0 victory over Seychelles.

The return will be altogether different though on a sub-standard artificial surface in Sao Tome that will test the skills of Bafana perhaps more than the opposition players.

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Where will Bafana play home Afcon qualifier against Sao Tome in March? - SowetanLIVE

Critics of Blackwater mercenary Erik Prince fear AG Barr will quash DOJ case against him: report – AlterNet

U.S. Attorney General William Barr has been consistently protective of President Donald Trump and his allies, and according to Law & Crime reporter Colin Kalmbacher, one of those allies might be Erik Prince brother of Betsy DeVos (secretary of education in the Trump Administration) and former head of the infamous private security firm Blackwater.

Kalmbacher reports that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is reportedly in the 11th hour of its decision-making process on whether to charge professional mercenary Erik Prince with the crime of lying to Congress amid the Russia probe in 2017. Princes critics, Kalmbacher notes, allege that he gave false testimony to the House Intelligence Committee in 2017 when discussing his meetings with a Russian banker in the Seychelles Islands earlier that year. Prince described that meeting as a chance encounter and told House Intelligence members that he was not acting on Trumps behalf, but his critics allege that he was.

One of Princes most vocal critics is Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who now chairs the House Intelligence Committee (which was in Republican hands back in 2017 during Princes testimony). Schiff alleges that former special counsel Robert Muellers final report for the Russia investigation demonstrates that Prince made false statements that hindered the Committees ability to fully understand and examine foreign efforts to undermine our political process and national security.

In a letter to Barr, Schiff asserted, As the (Mueller) Report makes clear, evidence obtained by the special counsel. differs materially from Mr. Princes testimony, under oath, before the Committee on November 30, 2017. The Report reveals that Mr. Princes testimony before the Committee was replete with manifest and substantial falsehoods that materially impaired the Committees investigation.

Schiff added, In particular, Mr. Princes testimony about his January 11, 2017 meeting in the Seychelles with Kirill Dmitriev, the chief executive officer of Russias sovereign wealth fund, differs from the (Mueller) Report in (several) material respects.

But despite Schiffs allegations against Prince, Kalmbacher reports, the case has long languished for unclear reasons. And now that prosecutors are getting into position. to potentially charge Prince, critics of Trump and Barr are largely unconvinced the case will move forward.

On February 11, Prince critic Harry Litman (a Washington Post writer and former federal prosecutor) tweeted, Prince plainly lied. We are really getting upriver here.

Another Prince critic, Dr. Dena Grayson (who ran for Congress as a Democrat) tweeted that the DOJ has been weighing charges of lying to Congress against Prince but noted the possibility that Barr quashes it.

a little context here too: Prince plainly lied. we are really getting upriver here. https://t.co/fts8iTbka2

Harry Litman (@harrylitman) February 11, 2020

DOJ is weighing CRIMINAL charges against @BetsyDeVosEDs brother Erik Prince for arms trafficking & LYING to Congress about his secret #Seychelles meet with a close Putin adviser to establish a secret backchannel with #Russia.

Until Barr quashes it.https://t.co/2qMdHVNJjg

Dr. Dena Grayson (@DrDenaGrayson) February 11, 2020

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Its through the generosity of our supporters that were able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone cant pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

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Critics of Blackwater mercenary Erik Prince fear AG Barr will quash DOJ case against him: report - AlterNet

Air Seychelles to receive second A320neo in Mar-2020 – CAPA – Centre for Aviation

CAPA publishes more than 400 global News Briefs every weekday, covering all aspects of the aviation and travel industry. Its the most comprehensive source of market intelligence in the world, with around 50 per cent of content translated from non-English sources. The breadth of our coverage means you wont need any other news sources to monitor competitors and stay informed about the latest developments in the wider aviation sector.

Our daily News Briefs are only available to CAPA Members. Membership provides access to more than 400 News Briefs every weekday, with quick links to our Analysis Reports, Research Publications, Data Centre and more.

Its easy to keep your News Briefs relevant by customising your email alerts based on topic, region, sector, frequency and more. Once youve saved your settings, you can stay up-to-date wherever you are, by quickly scanning our News Briefs online or via the CAPA mobile app.

Membership also provides full access to our Analysis Reports, in-depth Research Publications and comprehensive Data Centre. Premium CAPA Members can also access add-ons such as our exclusive Fleet Database, Airline Cask Data tools and more, to enjoy the full capabilities of our global platform.

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Air Seychelles to receive second A320neo in Mar-2020 - CAPA - Centre for Aviation

Report: Erik Prince May Face Indictment For Lying To Congress In Russia Probe – The National Memo

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

While Robert Muellers Special Counsels Office has long since closed up shop, a key mysterious figure in the Russia investigation may still face charges related to the probe.

Erik Prince, an ally of President Donald Trump and the founder of the military contracting company formerly called Blackwater, is under investigation by the Justice Department for potentially lying to congressional investigators who interviewed him as part of the House of Representatives Russia investigation, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. That investigation is reportedly in its late stages.

In addition to investigating potential lies to Congress, the Justice Department is also probing whether Prince violated U.S. export laws, the report said.

Prince came under scrutiny for a meeting he held with an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin in January of 2017, just weeks before Trump was inaugurated. In Muellers report on the conclusions of the special counsels investigation, some details about the meeting in Seychelles remained mysterious.

But the report did indicate that Prince had lied to Congress in his account on key aspects of the meeting. Some criticized Mueller for not pursuing criminal charges for these apparent lies, given that he hadnt hesitated to indict other Trump allies for their criminal deceptions. After the report was released, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the chair of the House Intelligence Committee that interviewed Prince, sent the Justice Department a letter recommending that his testimony be reviewed for potential criminal statements.Schiff flagged six claims Prince madein testimony that contradicted the report in material respects. For example, Prince had claimed that the Seychelles meeting was a chance encounter, while Mueller found evidence that it was planned well in advance.

The Justice Department only recently replied toSchiffs letter, informing the chair on Feb. 4 that it was referring his request to the proper agency.

But according to the Journal, the investigation gathered steam in recent months with the cooperation of several witnesses.

An attorney for Prince told the Journal: There is nothing new here. The attorney claimed his client cooperated completely with Mueller.

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Report: Erik Prince May Face Indictment For Lying To Congress In Russia Probe - The National Memo

Barclays banks in Africa rebrand to Absa – Nehanda Radio

Barclays Africa is no more after its banks in seven African countries Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania and Zambia were rebranded Absa on Monday.

Absas subsidiaries in Uganda and Mozambique were renamed in November. In 2016, the UK controlling shareholder of Barclays Africa Group, Barclays Plc, announced that it wanted to sell its 62 percent stake of its African banks, which included Absa SA and banks in 11 other countries in Africa.

The sale that netted more than R37.5 billion, was completed by the end of 2017 leaving Barclays Plc with a minority 16.5 percent shareholding.

On Monday, the name changes came into legal effect across the continent, which Absa called a substantial milestone in the three-year process to take over from UK Barclays.

More than a name change, this is a milestone that brings us closer to realising our ambition as a leading African bank to support growth and development on the continent and beyond, Absa group chief executive officer, Mr Daniel Mminele.

We are now united under a single brand in 12 countries in Africa.

Today, we as the Absa Group, reaffirm our commitment to contributing to growth and economic development in Africa. We have a long-established and respected legacy in all our African markets, which will serve us well for the future, said Mr Peter Matlare, Absa group deputy chief executive officer and chief executive of Absa regional operations.

Absa also has representative offices in London and New York. The rebranding started in SA when it launched its new logo in the country in July 2018. Absa has a presence in 12 countries in Africa, with about 42 000 employees.

In 2017, Barclays plc concluded a transaction in which it disposed an effective 42,7 percent of its shareholding in Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe to the Mauritius registered FMB Capital Holdings, which is now the major shareholder while Barclays plc retained 10 percent shareholding.

First Merchant Bank (FMB) is a financial institution established in 1995, and is listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange and also has equity interests in banking operations in other regional countries. Business Day/Business Reporter

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Barclays banks in Africa rebrand to Absa - Nehanda Radio

FlightHub and JustFly on 16 of the Safest and Most Popular African Countries – Canada NewsWire

South Africa:

With nearly 10 million foreigners visiting annually, South Africa is a tourism gem. First, this coastal country is home to cities like Cape Town, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth. It features stunning shorelines and is recognized as one of the most biodiverse places on Earth.

Top Tourist Attractions in South Africa:


Tourism is a big part of Kenya's recent economic growth. More than 400,000 Kenyans work in the travel and hospitality sector. Known for its warm and welcoming spirit, it's one of Africa's safest and most visited countries. Another reason to visit is the versatile landscape, including deserts, mountains, wilderness and more. Its diverse environment makes it the perfect place for the wide range of wildlife there.

Top Tourist Attractions in Kenya:


Surrounded by land, Zambia is one of the least visited African countries on this list. That's changing thanks to a new focus on tourism. And natural attractions are leading the charge. Meet some of the world's most majestic animals face to face, in unaffected habitats. Considering a trip to Zambia? Book it fast. The country is modernizing quickly. Furthermore, it's legitimately stunning.

Top Tourist Attractions in Zambia:


Terrorist attacks caused the Tunisian travel and tourism industry to grind to a near stop. Since then, the industry has rebounded. And it's showing no signs of slowing down. Nearly 7 million people visit this North African haven annually. Because of history and proximity, it's a popular destination for French and German travelers alike.

Top Tourist Attractions in Tunisia:


Morocco is one of the most popular North African countries. It's also one of the wealthiest. In past years, more and more international travelers have touched down in this tropical and arid destination. With beautiful weather, mouth-watering food, and storied cities, it's not difficult to understand why Morocco is a must-visit country.

Top Tourist Attractions in Morocco:


Mauritius is pure paradise. Relax on white sand beaches. Swim in blue water lagoons. Gaze at waterfalls. Hike through rain forests. See an abundance of wildlife. Where else in the world can travelers experience nuggets of French, Dutch, British, African and Indian culture all in one?

Top Tourist Attractions in Mauritius:


Spoiler alert: Remember that scene in the Lion King where Mufasa dies saving Simba? It's a sped up, animated version of a spectacular natural occurrence: The Great Migration. Due to instinct, each year, over 2 million (literally) animals pass through the Serengeti. They go to the Masai Mara in pursuit of the best vegetation in Tanzania and Kenya. Few things in the world are more impressive. Did we mention there are dreamlike beaches and modern cities too?

Top Tourist Attractions in Tanzania:


Namibia is proof that deserts can be beautiful too. Pictures do not do it justice. It's extremely safe and has preserved large parts of its traditional culture. Leave the desert to experience stunning wildlife up close and personal. Finally, the rates of local and international tourism are on the rise in past years. The time to visit Namibia is now.


For reasons that were largely political, safety was once a serious concern for travelers to Egypt. However, the climate is now peaceful, and Egypt is once again thought to be safe by international tourism standards. And that's great news. This predominantly Arab North African jewel has a lot to offer. It's also one of the oldest tourist destinations in the world for travel and religious purposes.

Top Tourist Attractions in Egypt:


Botswana has come a long way from its British colonial past. It's easy to travel and is a great starting point for newcomers to Africa. Most locals speak English. Transportation is easy and cheap. Similarly, to other African countries on this list, it's natural beauty and wildlife is breathtaking.

Top Tourist Attractions in Botswana:


Ethiopia is historically and culturally diverse. In contrast to coastal countries and islands, it's landlocked in East Africa. It boasts archaeological artifacts more than 3 million years old. The Danakil Depression (lowest point of all African countries) is also there. When in the Horn of Africa, a visit to Ethiopia is a must.

Top Tourist Attractions in Ethiopia:


Madagascar is a special country. It is the fourth largest island on Earth. Physically, it was separated from Africa millions of years ago. As a result, 75 percent of its wildlife cannot be found off the island. While it's filled with natural wonder, its people are just as magical. And it's a bucket list destination for anyone who loves to travel.

Top Tourist Attractions in Madagascar:

The Gambia:

It's narrow but has big tourism appeal. A coastal location means it offers gorgeous views of the North Atlantic Ocean. The Gambian government has prioritized the safety of residents and visitors alike. Gambians are known to be charming and warm. It's also filled with a rich ecosystem and number of beautiful animal species.

Top Tourist Attractions in the Gambia:


Seychelles is plainly picturesque. It is adorned with coral reefs, beaches, unique animal species and more. Regular tourists and first timers enjoy it equally. Some of its national parks cover entire islands. And a low population means a visit to Seychelles will be safe, unique and memorable.

Top Tourist Attractions in Seychelles:


Versatile landscapes, ancient sites, and friendly towns are what describe Zimbabwe. This landlocked country is known for its troubled government history. Despite this, it remains safe for travel. The people are hospitable. And tourists of the country insist it's one of the most impressive African nations. But don't take our word for it. The best way to find out is to visit.

Top Tourist Attractions in Zimbabwe:


The pride of West Africa, Ghana does not disappoint. It serves as an example of what the continent of Africa has the potential to be. Thanks to a strong and consistent democratic government, it's developing rapidly, and bringing tourism along for the ride. With buzzing cities and a wealth of culture and history, there are very few reasons not to visit Ghana.

Top Tourist Attractions in Ghana:

While the media does no favors for African tourism, a little research will show that Africa is an exceptional place. With tourism in African countries on the rise, a trip to Africa should be on your bucket list. You won't regret it.

About FlightHub

FlightHub makes travel accessible, allowing more than 5 million people per year to visit new places and explore different cultures by offering the cheapest flight on worldwide destinations. This is achieved by investing heavily in both technology and people, ultimately streamlining and optimizing the customer experience. Visitflighthub.comto book online or call an agent at 1-800-900-1431 for 24/7 service. For inspiration on travel destinations, tips on budget travel, and the latest travel news, follow FlightHub onFacebook,Twitter,Instagram,PinterestandLinkedIn.

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FlightHub and JustFly on 16 of the Safest and Most Popular African Countries - Canada NewsWire

PPresident Faure receives the Rotary International District Governor to Seychelles – Office of the President of the Republic of Seychelles

28 January 2020 | Community Development

The President of the Republic, Mr Danny Faure, met with the District Governor for Rotary International, Mr Raja Somasundaram, accompanied by his wife Mrs Mangala Somasundaram and Members of the Seychelles Rotary Clubs, at State House this morning.

President Faure welcomed Mr Somasundaram and delegation as he expressed his appreciation for the exemplary work of the active members the Rotary Clubs in Seychelles, which includes the Victoria and Coco de Mer Rotary Club, and their contribution to improving the quality of life of Seychelles' citizens. The President gave the engagement of the Government to continue working with the Rotarians and consolidate the already excellent relations.

The Rotarians present discussed their desire to continue helping the community through small and medium sized humanitarian projects in education and health. They also spoke to the President about the bigger projects they have completed in collaboration with other partners such as the North East Point Hospital and Hospice and the eradication of polio.

Headed by Rotary International District Governor Mr Somasundaram, Seychelles forms part of District 9220 along with five other countries: Mauritius, Reunion, Mayotte, Comoros and Djibouti. The district will now be headed by him for the period of his tenure.

Present at State House for the courtesy call was the District Governors wife Mrs Mangala Somasundaram, Assistant District Governor, Mr Nandu Raghvani, President of the Rotary Club of Victoria, Mrs Sarka Viktorova, President nominated for the Rotary Club of Victoria, Ms Angele Low, Current President of the Rotary Club of Coco de Mer, Mr Georges Bibi and Incoming President of the Rotary Club of Coco de Mer, Mr Vincent Hoareau.

Editors Note:

- Rotary is a worldwide organization of more than 1.2 million businesses, professionals, and community leaders. There are over 32,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. The clubs are non-political, nonreligious, and open to all, offering voluntary service and humanitarian support.

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PPresident Faure receives the Rotary International District Governor to Seychelles - Office of the President of the Republic of Seychelles