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  1. Algeria dismantles Syria-Europe migrant smuggling ring

    David Bamford

    BBC World Service News

    Seaside landscape, North Africa, Oran, Algeria on January 13, 2023 in Oran, Algeria
    Image caption: The migrants are said to pass through the Algerian port of Oran for clandestine sea crossings to Europe

    Algerian media say the authorities have dismantled a network involved in smuggling migrants from Syria to Europe.

    Fifteen suspects have reportedly been arrested - nine of them Syrians and six Algerians.

    A five-month investigation is said to have uncovered how the people smugglers transported undocumented migrants from Syria and Lebanon to an airport in eastern Libya.

    From there, they were taken along desert tracks to the Algerian port of Oran for clandestine sea crossings to Europe.

  2. Tunisia IMF deal 'critical' US says - AFP

    The US has said that it is vital that Tunisia reaches a deal with the IMF, the AFP news agency reports, amid warnings of a looming economic collapse in the country.

    "The most critical thing they can do on the economic side is actually get an IMF agreement," said US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

    "We would strongly encourage them to do that because the economy risks falling off the deep end," he added.

    The IMF has proposed a $2bn (£1.6bn) loan for Tunisia, but also wants to see reforms in the country.

    Tunisia has a long history of economic hardship, having never recovered from the years of political turmoil that followed the overthrow of President Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali in 2011.

  3. Ten die as fishing vessel sinks off Western Sahara

    Commercial fishing boat, Morocco
    Image caption: The disputed Western Sahara has a long coastline and rich fishing waters (file photo)

    At least 10 fishermen drowned on Tuesday when a Moroccan fishing trawler sank off the coast of the disputed Western Sahara.

    Five sailors were rescued while two crew members were still missing, the authorities said, with a search under way.

    The incident happened in the province of Aousserd, 220 km (136 miles) away from Dakhla city, the state-run Moroccan news agency, MAP, said.

    It was not yet clear what caused the trawler to sink.

    Western Sahara, which is disputed between Morocco and the Algeria-backed Polisario movement, has a long coastline and access to rich fishing waters.

  4. Tunisia dismisses EU warning of economic collapse

    David Bamford

    BBC World Service News

    Hundreds of opposition supporters gather to protest against the rule of President Kais Saied and demanded the release of human right activists, journalists and political and juristic figures opposed to the president who have been arrested in recent weeks in Tunis, Tunisia on March 05, 2023.
    Image caption: The EU has warned of a looming economic collapse in Tunisia

    Tunisia has dismissed concerns expressed by the European Union's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, warning of a looming economic collapse in the country.

    Mr Borrell said on Monday that a very dangerous situation was developing in which new flows of migrants would head from the North African country to southern Europe.

    Tunisia's foreign ministry described the comments as "overblown".

    Italy, which lies just north of Tunis, has expressed its fears of a Tunisian collapse.

    On Tuesday, the Italian prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, said Rome was making every effort to ensure a proposed $2bn (£1.6bn) IMF loan for Tunisia goes ahead.

  5. Actor says working women should stay at home

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Egyptian actor Mostafa Hashish has been quoted by several Egyptian outlets as saying he does not believe that women should work, and that it was better for them to stay at home to take care of their children.

    The remarks created a row on social media, especially among some prominent pundits.

    Writer Ibrahim Eissa said that "women were qualified to lead a country".

    Media outlets also highlighted remarks made by President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, during a ceremony marking International Women's Day, including his belief that Egypt's women deserve greater representation at all levels of public life and for progress towards equal pay.

  6. Video content

    Video caption: Iraq War: The helmet that saved a Black Watch soldier's life

    Black Watch veteran Kevin Stacey served three tours of Iraq, despite being seriously injured by a roadside bomb.