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Death toll in Tunisia bus accident rises to 262 minutes read

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Tunisian security forces check the debris of a bus that plunged over a cliff into a ravine, in Ain Snoussi in northern Tunisia on December 1, 2019. - The bus, with 43 people on board had set off from the capital Tunis to the mountain town of Ain Draham, the tourism ministry said.
Tunisian security forces check the debris of a bus that plunged over a cliff into a ravine, in Ain Snoussi in northern Tunisia on December 1, 2019. (Photo by Fethi Belaid / AFP)

Officials say at least 26 people were killed when their bus plunged into a ravine in the northwest of Tunisia.

The health ministry said late Sunday that 17 people were also injured in the accident which occurred in a mountainous region popular with Tunisian tourists.

The ministry confirmed that all those aboard the bus were Tunisians. 

The bus had set off from Tunis towards the picturesque northern mountain town of Ain Draham, a popular autumn destination for domestic visitors.

Death toll in Tunisia bus accident rises to 26
Tunisian security forces check the debris of a bus that plunged over a cliff into a ravine, in Ain Snoussi in northern Tunisia on December 1, 2019. (Photo by Fethi Belaid / AFP)

The interior ministry had earlier reported the deaths of 22 out of the 43 people aboard, saying the bus had “fallen into a ravine after crashing through an iron barrier”.

The health ministry in a new toll said four more passengers had died from injuries.

Read Also: 9 injured in double suicide attacks in Tunis

At the scene of the fatal accident was the twisted remains of the bus in the ravine near a river bed, surrounded by scattered bodies.

The top of the bus appeared to have been torn off and seats were strewn across the site.

Death toll in Tunisia bus accident rises to 26
Tunisian President Kais Saied (C-L) speaks with officials at the scene of a road accident that saw a bus plunged over a cliff into a ravine in Ain Snoussi in northwestern Tunisia on December 1, 2019. (Photo by FETHI BELAID / AFP)

President Kais Saied and outgoing Prime Minister Youssef Chahed have visited the site.

It was not immediately clear what caused the accident but forensic experts are investigating.

The World Health Organization in 2015 reported that Tunisia had the second-worst traffic death rate per capita in North Africa, behind only Libya.

Death toll in Tunisia bus accident rises to 26
A forensic expert checks the debris of a bus that plunged over a cliff into a ravine, in Ain Snoussi in northern Tunisia on December 1, 2019. (Photo by Fethi Belaid / AFP)

The accident triggered renewed public anger over what one social media user called the country’s “roads of death”.

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UN condemns use of IEDs against civilians in Libya

“UNSMIL strongly condemns these acts, which serve no military objective, provoke extreme fear among the population, and violate the rights of innocent civilians…,” the UN said.

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A man inspects the wreckage of a car outside the Khadra General Hospital which is dedicated to treating people infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Libyan capital Tripoli on April 8, 2020, after it was targeted by forces loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar. (Photo by Mahmud TURKIA / AFP)

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has condemned the use of improvised explosive devices against civilians in the southern part of Tripoli, as the armed conflict between the east-based army and the UN-backed government continues.

UNSMIL “is extremely concerned about reports that residents of the Ain Zara and Salahuddin areas of Tripoli have been killed or wounded by improvised explosive devices placed in or near their homes,” UNSMIL said in a statement Monday.

“UNSMIL strongly condemns these acts, which serve no military objective, provoke extreme fear among the population, and violate the rights of innocent civilians who must be protected under international humanitarian law,” the statement said.

UNSMIL called on all individuals to “seek information and heed security advice to stay away from areas that have not been declared safe to enter by a competent authority or items of unknown origin which may be explosive devices”.

UNSMIL also commended the search and clearance work by Libyan Police and Military Engineers, reaffirming its continued support to Libyan partners, communities, and stakeholders “who are working tirelessly to rid Libya of the threat of explosive remnant of war (ERW)”.

The UN-backed government’s forces accused the rival east-based army of planting mines before withdrawing from conflict areas in southern Tripoli.

Since April 2019, the east-based army has been leading a military campaign attempting to take over Tripoli and topple the UN-backed government.

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Strike looms as public sector wage dispute enters arbitration in South Africa

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The ongoing face-off between workers in the public sector and the South African government continues. According to the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC), disagreement between the trade unions and government has moved the talks to arbitration for further hearing.

PSCBC General Secretary, Frikkie De Bruin explains that the arbitration hearings will begin by mid-June. An arbitrator will issue an award after the hearings are complete, with the matter potentially heading to court or resulting in a strike if the unions aren’t happy.

Ordinarily, public sector workers make up a third of South Africa’s expenditure. But with the coronavirus lockdown and income reduction, Pretoria seems unwilling to incur more debt.

If not handled carefully to appease the workers, the ruling African National Congress, (ANC) could lose its political dominance in the next local elections.

If no resolution is reached and the workers decide to resolve it an industrial action, it could erode all effort made by the government in the fight against the coronavirus.

The dispute started in February when the government affirmed that it could not fulfil its 2018 agreement on a three-year wage agreement.

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Ethiopia to divest 40% of Ethio Telecom

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The Ethiopian government is finalizing plans to sell a 40 percent stake in Ethio Telecom- the country’s sole telecommunication provider . The plan was announced by Ethiopia’s State Minister of Finance, Eyob Tekalign Tolina.

Ethiopia’s telecommunication industry is considered one of the last closed markets. It has been one of the government’s plans to liberalize the country’s economy launched by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Ethio Telecom has a large market serving a population of around 110 million.

The government will retain ownership of the remaining 60 percent.

Foreign firms in the telecom sector will be invited to bid and a percentage of the minority stake will be sold to Ethiopian citizens. South Africa’s MTN and Kenya’s Safaricom have shown interest in expanding into Ethiopia in the past.

Ethiopia’s communications regulator says the country would proceed with the privatisation of the telecommunications sector despite the novel coronavirus outbreak.

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