Algeria declared malaria-free

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that Algeria and Argentina are now free of malaria.

This means that there has not been a single case of anyone catching the disease in either country over the past three years.

The WHO's declaration is good news in the face of concern that malaria may be making a resurgence as according to the most recent annual figures, global malaria cases are no longer falling.

Latest malaria figures

Algeria is the second country Africa to be officially recognised as malaria-free, after Mauritius, which was certified in 1973, the WHO says.

It puts the success down to work "ensuring no-one was left behind in getting the services they needed to prevent, detect and cure the disease".

“Algeria and Argentina have eliminated malaria thanks to the unwavering commitment and perseverance of the people and leaders of both countries,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom, WHO Director-General, said.

“Their success serves as a model for other countries working to end this disease once and for all.”

Tension ahead of Algeria poll deadline

Ahmed Rouaba

BBC News

Algerian students take part in a demonstration near the government palace in the capital Algiers on 21 May 2019
Students have been out on the streets on Tuesday protesting against the vote

The protesters who were instrumental in bringing about the resignation of Abdelaziz Bouteflika as Algeria's president last month are now threatening to boycott the country's presidential elections.

The demonstrators remain unhappy that allies of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was in power for 20 years, are organising the polls.

On Friday, they held protests and renewed their call for interim President Abdelkader Bensalah and Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui to resign.

Dozens of mayors also marched through the capital, Algiers, last weekend in support of the protesters, rejecting moves to go ahead with the presidential elections, which are scheduled to take place on 4 July.

The Constitutional Council has so far received 73 presidential candidate applications, according to the government.

To make it on to the ballot, a candidate has to provide the endorsement of 60,000 voters by 25 May so it is not clear if all 73 applicants will qualify.

Ahmed Taleb Ibrahimi, a former foreign minister, high-profile human rights lawyer Ali Yahia Abdennour and Rachid Benyelles, a retired general, issued a joint statement over the weekend calling on the military to start a “frank and honest” dialogue with the protesters.

But army chief of staff Gen Ahmed Gaid Salah, the de facto man in charge, was quoted on Monday by a local TV as saying that the electoral timeline had to be respected to avoid a power vacuum.

Algeria's former PM faces corruption inquiry

BBC World Service

Algerians hold up signs depicting former prime minister Ahmed Ouyahia (R) dressed as a Zouave alongside another showing current PM Noureddine Bedoui with a caption below reading in Arabic "biggest election forger", during an anti-government demonstration in the northeastern city of Annaba on 12 April 2019.

The former prime minister of Algeria, Ahmed Ouyahia, has become the latest high-profile figure to appear in court as part of a major corruption inquiry.

On Monday, the finance minister and former police chief appeared in court separately. Five billionaires are also under investigation.

The judicial moves come in the wake of mass protests that forced the resignation of long-time President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

The protesters are continuing to demand a complete overturning of the political, military and business elite that's ruled Algeria for decades.

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Bouteflika allies in court appearance

The Algerian finance minister and the former police chief have appeared in court as part of investigations launched in the wake of the mass protests that forced the resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Mohamed Loukal was previously governor of the central bank and only became finance minister last month.

State television said his court appearance was connected to an inquiry into the suspected misuse of public funds.

The former police chief, Abdelghani Hamel, was reported to have been summoned to court as part of an investigation into influence peddling and abuse of office.

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