TAP win the Best News Item 2023

Conservationists join forces to protect endangered sea turtles in Monastir

Written by: Ahmed Gaddeh

(TAP/ Ahmed Gaddeh)- The coastal governorate of Monastir is renowned for its stunning coastline, pristine beaches and thriving marine ecosystem. Among its many inhabitants, sea turtles hold a special place in the hearts of many locals and visitors alike. These ancient creatures have been part of the Mediterranean's rich biodiversity for millions of years, and their presence continues to play an important role in maintaining the delicate balance of the ecosystem.


There are seven species of sea turtle in the world, including three in the Mediterranean, which have been observed in the waters around Monastir.


They are the leatherback turtle (Dermochelyscoriacea), the green turtle (Cheloniamydas) and the loggerhead turtle, also known as Carettacaretta. All of these species are listed as threatened or endangered, with populations at risk from a variety of factors, including human impact and environmental degradation.


The most common sea turtle species found in the area is Carettacaretta, which is critically endangered worldwide. Loggerhead turtles are the largest of the hard-shelled sea turtles and are easily recognised by their massive head and powerful jaws.


Monastir, and in particular the island of Kuriat, is a favourable environment for the nesting of this particular species. The nearest permanent nesting site for these turtles is thousands of kilometres to the east, in Libya, according to experts.


Sea turtles are important to the Mediterranean ecosystem for several reasons. They play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of the food chain, providing a source of food for other marine species such as predatory fish and birds, and feeding on jellyfish, sea grass and other organisms that would otherwise overrun the ecosystem if left unchecked.


Researcher MalekChaarana told TAP that jellyfish populations have flourished in recent years. "The Mediterranean has become a favourable environment for jellyfish to proliferate as a result of the decline in sea turtles and also because of pollution. Jellyfish are more efficient at resisting pollution than other sea creatures," said Chaarana, who is also an eco-guardian with the Notre Grand Bleu organisation, which works to protect sea turtles in Tunisia.


The presence of sea turtles in the Mediterranean is also crucial because they help regulate the temperature and salinity of the sea. The turtles swim long distances between their nesting and feeding grounds, helping to distribute nutrients and oxygen throughout the ocean. This in turn supports the growth and survival of other marine organisms.


Sea turtles are also an important part of the cultural heritage of many coastal communities, including Monastir. These creatures have been revered for centuries as symbols of good luck and fortune, and their presence is an important part of local identity. They are also a major tourist attraction, with many visitors coming to Monastir specifically to see the turtles in their natural habitat.


In this regard, the local delegate for tourism, Faouez Ben Halima, cited joint activities with civil society to raise awareness, while benefiting from the presence of these species to promote the tourism sector. "After treating injured and sick sea turtles, the Tourism authority organises turtle releases in hotels in the region to involve tourists in these events and promote the sector."


Despite their importance to the ecosystem and the local community, sea turtle populations in Monastir and across the Mediterranean face many challenges. One of the biggest threats to the species is the loss of nesting habitats.


Fortunately, the uninhabited Kuriat Island in Monastir is entirely reserved for their nesting. Civil society activists, researchers and local authorities have unanimously agreed that the island should be cleared of all tourists and human presence at nightfall to give the shelled creatures the natural environment they need.


The island will only be open to tourists from 9am to 5pm during the summer season, Ben Halima told TAP. "This decision was taken to allow the turtles to come out and lay their eggs without being disturbed by lights and human presence."


Another major threat to sea turtles in Monastir is fishing gear and plastic pollution. Sea turtles are often accidentally caught in fishing gear, resulting in injury or death. In addition, plastic waste thrown into the sea can be mistaken for food by the turtles, damaging their digestive systems, according to Hamdi El Hamzaoui, environmental officer at Notre Grand Bleu. "This plastic pollution can also damage their habitats and upset the delicate balance of the ecosystem," he added.


Notre Grand Bleu works to protect and conserve sea turtles and their habitats. Its activities are dedicated to the protection and conservation of sea turtles, providing education and outreach programmes to raise awareness of the importance of these species.


"We regularly organise awareness-raising programmes for the public, especially fishermen's children, as well as for decision-makers and journalists," said El Hamzaoui.


These creatures play an important role in maintaining the delicate balance of the Mediterranean ecosystem and are an important part of the local community's cultural heritage.


Despite the many challenges they face, these flippers in the waves continue to capture the hearts of those who encounter them, serving as many inspiring examples of resilience and survival in the face of adversity.


The organisation insists on the collective responsibility to protect and conserve these species and to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to experience their beauty and majesty in the wild.


This requires ongoing education and awareness campaigns, as well as concrete action to reduce human impact on their habitats and mitigate the threats posed by fishing gear and plastic pollution.


"By working together and taking a multidisciplinary approach, we can ensure that sea turtles in Monastir and the Mediterranean continue to thrive for generations to come, as they have since the dawn of time, and that their vital role in the ecosystem is recognised and valued by all."



 2022 - SANA story  win the Best News Item

 Written by: Mhd Imad Aldaghly

 Translated by: Mazen Eyon

 The Syrians are the first to invent seals in the world

10 August، 2022


Damascus, SANA-Seals possess keys to the secrets of life in ancient historical times, they are one of the most important archaeological finds from which the researcher in archeology inspires his/her information about previous eras, and Syria is the cradle land of the oldest discovered seals in the world, according to historian Dr. Mahmoud El-Sayyed.

This Syrian antiquities� expert and reader of ancient inscriptions at the General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums said that in Syria, the oldest seals were invented and then spread to all parts of the world according to the current archaeological data. Archaeological Ras Shamra �Ugarit Kingdom� in Lattakia province is attributed to the second half of the seventh millennium BC. Then seals appeared in the form of a plug in 5800 BC. From this date, pottery colored in one color, brown and red on an orange background, appeared for the first time in the world.


At the site of �Abu Huraira� in Syrian Jazeera region, copies of a seal dating to the period between 6500-5500 BC were discovered. At Tal Abu Hurayrah, a flat seal made of pottery dating to the period between 6000-5500 BC was also discovered.


The expert went on to say that the use of seals on pots and baskets carrying goods, dated to the end of the sixth millennium BC were discovered in Syria. Those seals were also discovered at the site of Tal al-Sabi al-Abyad on the left bank of the Upper Balikh River. Most of them are geometric in shape, including zigzag lines, circles, triangles, and intersecting lines, some of which are engraved with the shapes of plants and animals. Like goats with big horns and deer.


According to Dr. Al-Sayed, Syria possesses hundreds of seals, unique in content and very rare in the world, including a unique seal print, that has distinct characteristics in the structure and content of writing, as well as individual iconography. The seal was discovered in the Kingdom of Qatana, located in the province of Homs which dates back to the second millennium BC. It is engraved with a decorative frieze with ribbons, intertwined and divided into five indexes located on top of each other, some carry writing in cuneiform script arranged in a column opposite the ornamental decoration twisted at an angle of 90 degrees, which is a very rare and only stamp in the world discovered so far for dual reading.






On the stone seal of �Ishkhi Adad,� the king of countries, and the Lord of his name, we read in the carved copy of the original inscription �Perhaps God Adad can save me.� In the reverse version of the print on the locks, we read Adad, a lord whose name is Ishkhi Adad, the king of countries.


According to the Syrian historian, a cylindrical seal of hematite dating from the eighteenth or seventeenth century BC was also discovered in the Kingdom of Qatana, on which were engraved very small images distributed in equal columns.

Of the illustrated symbols, there are 73 symbols. These symbols consist of people, hands, bull heads, lions, birds, Syrian sphinxes, and symbols that express the God.


Dr. El-Sayed concluded by saying that the above documents, with archaeological material evidence, Syria�s global role in laying the foundations of human civilization and dedicating the concept of using seals, and the benefits that this has achieved for humanity, which we are still reaping its fruits to this day.






2019 - TAP story  win the Best News Item

Tunisia's coast dying slowly: industrial pollutants are blocking valleys and environment is heating up 

Written by Abdel Basset al-Faridi

Sixty-year-old Khalid al-Hami, a sad, grueling figure, straddles a rock off the sea between the suburbs of Rades and Ezzahra from the governorate of Ben Arous, near Tunis.
He took a deep breath and then sighed with regret. The sea was no longer the one he had known decades ago after the government banned swimming in this area in 2017 as a result of pollution.

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2018 - MAP story  win the Best News Item

Migration: After the Balkan, the central Mediterranean route makes EU dizzy

Written by: Rahal Taoussi

Thursday, February 2, 2017 at 12:16 pm
Brussels - After drying up the migratory route of the Balkans thanks to the agreement with Turkey in March 2016, the 28 countries of the European Union have to deal with the rising central Mediterranean route, which gives a hard time to the European leaders.

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APS get distinction for the news item 2018

Rat extermination, a risky operation in Oran�s Habibas Islands

Written by Ms Lamia Brahimi

ORAN - The control of rat invasion in the marine protected area of the Habibas Islands, located about 12 km off the Algerian coast, northwest of Oran is a "risky operation" because of the use of chemical substances, said experts.

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ATAget distinction for the news item 2018

Written by Zina Tosku

"... thirsty for a "rescuing" hand to come"

 TIRANA, Nov 29 /ATA/ -- A baby boy, only two months old, wearing blue clothes, all ripped and wet, was found floating face down on the Aegean Sea.

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2017 - LUSA story  win the Best News Item

 REPORT: Migrations:
Nigerian leaves family, crosses Sahara with dream of becoming football star in Europe

 Written by Fabiola Ortiz

 Oujda, Morocco, Dec. 17 (Lusa) - Onoma Anigorigo, a 25-year-old citizen of Nigeria now living in Morocco after crossing the Sahara, is awaiting his chance to continue on to Europe to follow his dream of becoming a football star.

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2016 - MAP story  win the Best News Item

In Brussels, solidarity in action to offer bed and board for refugees (Story)

Written by Adil ZAARI JABIRI

Brussels, 4th September 2015 (MAP) - Not far from the glass and steel buildings of the European institutions in Brussels, passers-by can't miss the view of a park covered with tents, arbors and shacks. Hundreds of refugees, coming from Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan patched there together a makeshift camp.

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2016 - TAP receive Distinction for best stories

 Between asylum, illegal residence and plight of displacement, Syrians in Tunisia tell a story of suffering

Written by Mounira Rabii

 Tunis, Oct. 23, 2015 (TAP) - Children in "Ettadhamen", the most densely populated neighbourhood in the capital, were used to their neighbours Shady (5 years) and Rima (4 years), who came from the neighbourhoods of Homs, Syria two years ago. They live in a modest house still under construction with their parents Mohammed Fawaz and Sajida, a home provided to them by "good people," as the husband Mohammed Fawaz said.

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2015 - SANA story  win the Best News Item

 The goddess of love and beauty, a symbol that endured for millennia of human history

Written by: Rasha Milhem & Imad Dghli

Damascus, SANA (14.08.2014) - Artifacts uncovered from various archaeological sites in Syria document the creativity shown by ancient artists from various eras and cultures in embodying a figure that symbolizes two values humanity has cherished throughout history: Ishtar, Inanna, Aphrodite, Venus, the goddess of love and beauty.

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2015 - EFE receive Distinction for best stories

The perks of being an Egyptologist in Luxor

Written by: Edu Marin

Luxor, Egypt, Dec 12 (EFE)- At five o'clock in the morning, the Egyptian city of Luxor wakes up to the sound of Muslim prayer and the braying of donkeys. At that same time, Spanish Egyptologist Milagros Alvarez Sosa and her team begin to prepare for a 3,500-year journey backwards in time to the Pharaonic era.

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2014 - MAP story  win the Best News Item

When Tazmurt's sugar refineries shaped parts of Mediterranean history (Feature)

Written by:  Houcine MAIMOUNI

Tazmurt (South of Morocco), 15th July 2013 (MAP)- Richly furnished during this fasting month of Ramadan with sweets of all tastes and sorts, the stalls of Moroccan markets seldom miss tantalizing shoppers about a specific item: Sugar. This product, today deeply settled, happened to be one that made the glory of Morocco, shaping from Tazmurt's refineries (South) the course of Mediterranean history.

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 2013 - TAP story  win the Best News Item

Death voyages to Italian coasts do not prevent from braving dangers

 Written by Bahija Belmabrouk

TUNIS, Sep. 23, 2012 (TAP) - "I risked being eaten by fish after the shipwreck. I almost turned into a memory for my family who might have looked for me among the corpses recovered by the Italian coast guards or among the missing," young Fethi Essalmani, a native of the Jelma region, in the Governorate of Sidi Bouzid, pointed out to TAP news agency special correspondent to the Lampedusa Immigrant Reception Centre.

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 2012 - CNA story  win the Best News Item

Faneromeni High School: a nest of multiculturalism

 Written by Maria Antouna

 Nicosia, Nov 25 (CNA) - One might be surprised to come across a hub of lively young children, from all over the world, right in the heart of this divided capital city, Nicosia, where damage and destruction is but a breath away, as buildings stand derelict and abandoned for the past few decades, in the UN-controlled buffer zone.

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2011 - WAFA story  win the Best News Item

Floral Splendor in Palestine

  Written by Jamil Dababat

  NABLUS, February 1, 2010 (WAFA) - The GPS device connected to the satellite (407 m) records mountain elevation from sea level. Here, in the north of the West Bank as in all historic Palestine, roses grow and blossom according to the climate.

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 2010 - NNA story  win the Best News Item

Impoverished people from Lebanon

 Written by JosiannE Saade Sarkiss

November 30 - You can see them sleeping under the bridges and on the bridges. You can see them barefooted, semi clad and many of them turn garbage dumping places into shelters to protect themselves from scorching heat and severe cold.

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 2009 - EFE story  win the Best News Item

The 'European dream' is worth sleeping for a month in the woods.

 Written by Mr. Rafael Peñas

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 2008 - TANJUG story  win the Best News Item

"Save the children, all of them"

Written by Vera Raskov - Djurovic

 BELGRADE, Nov 16 (Tanjug-spec)  - The realisation of the rights of the Roma, particularly the inclusion of the Roma children in the society's educational system, represents a crucial step in improving the status of this most numerous community in Serbia which consists of more 450,000 people.

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2007 - LUSA story  win the Best News Item

Immigration/EU: Clandestine Immigrants the 'Slaves of Modern Times'

 Written by Ricardo Bordalo

 Dakar, Oct. 8 (Lusa) - Joseph N'Diaye, the curator of the House of Slaves on Gore Island, Senegal, considers the current wave of clandestine immigration to Europe from the West African coast to be "the slavery of modern times." 

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2007 - APS receive Distinction for best stories

Once upon a time Oran's "small reader"

Written by Malika BASSI

Oran - "The trip to a thousand places starts with a step" is the motto adopted by "Le petit lecteur" (small reader), an association striving, since its creation in 1993 in Oran, to spread the love for reading in children and youths.