Emigration on the increase
The number of young adults going abroad has swelled 14 percent in the past four years, many of them seeking better opportunities as economic malaise grips their nation, according to government figures picked up by the newspaper Le Figaro. There are now 155,266 emigres aged 18 to 25, the newspaper said. A sampling survey carried out in January by the Deloitte and Ifop firms found that 27 percent of young people who obtained a university degree in the past three years saw their professional future outside France — up from 13 percent last year. “With an unemployment rate reaching 25 percent [in their age group], young people naturally want to go abroad to avoid the bad start they would feel for several years” of their working lives, Stephane Carcillo, a professor at the Sciences-Po university in Paris, told the daily. Overall unemployment tops 10 percent and the country has seen thousands laid off in recent months.
Machinegun killer beheaded
Authorities yesterday beheaded a man in Medina after he was convicted of shooting dead another man, the Ministry of the Interior said. Sultan bin Rashid al-Mutairi had been found guilty of using a machinegun to kill Mused bin Nayer al-Mutairi after a dispute between the pair, the ministry said in a statement carried by the SPA news agency. Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death in the nation.
‘Prophet’s’ followers jailed
A court has sentenced 182 followers of a Catholic prophet, who claims to see visions of the Virgin Mary, to up to five years in jail for defying police orders, a court spokesman said on Saturday. The disciples of the 30-year-old prophet, Zebiya, were arrested on Tuesday morning after defying a ban to gather on a hilltop that has become a place of pilgrimage. Zebiya has reportedly seen visions on the hill on the 12th day of every month. “Fifteen adults thought to be the leaders of the group were sentenced to five years each,” said Elie Ntunwanayo, the Supreme Court spokesman. Court documents showed 182 people had been sentenced, with jail terms varying between three years and six months. Twenty children under 14 years old were released by the court. The trial took just over five hours, with a verdict reached at about midnight on Friday. Last month, police clashed with Zebiya’s followers, leaving at least six people dead and 35 wounded. Violence broke out after hundreds of her followers were blocked by police as they tried to gather at her hilltop shrine.
Smoke shuts down airport
The main airport for the capital was closed for several hours on Saturday because smoke from forest fires reduced visibility. Civil aviation agency spokesman Ezequiel Oliva says visibility fell to about 3.2km during the closure. The Toncontin International Airport outside Tegucigalpa was closed for about four hours, affecting about 500 passengers. Almost a hundred fires burned in the pine-covered hills around the capital last week. Four such closures have affected Toncontin and two other airports in the space of a month.