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A view of the Benghazi port, 2013
A view of the Benghazi port, 2013
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Libya ( /ˈlɪbiə/ ( About this sound listen); Arabic: ليبيا‎, romanizedLībiyā), officially the State of Libya, ( Arabic: دولة ليبيا‎, romanizedDawlat Lībiyā) is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad to the south, Niger to the southwest, Algeria to the west and Tunisia to the northwest. The sovereign state is made of three historical regions: Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica. With an area of almost 700,000 square miles (1.8 million km2), Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa and is the 16th largest country in the world. Libya has the 10th-largest proven oil reserves of any country in the world. The largest city and capital, Tripoli, is located in western Libya and contains over three million of Libya's seven million people.

Libya has been inhabited by Berbers since the late Bronze Age as descendants from Iberomaurusian and Capsian cultures. The Phoenicians established trading posts in western Libya and ancient Greek colonists established city-states in eastern Libya. Libya was variously ruled by Carthaginians, Persians, Egyptians and Greeks before becoming a part of the Roman Empire. Libya was an early center of Christianity. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the area of Libya was mostly occupied by the Vandals until the 7th century when invasions brought Islam to the region. In the 16th century, the Spanish Empire and the Knights of St John occupied Tripoli until Ottoman rule began in 1551. Libya was involved in the Barbary Wars of the 18th and 19th centuries. Ottoman rule continued until the Italo-Turkish War which resulted in the Italian occupation of Libya and the establishment of two colonies, Italian Tripolitania and Italian Cyrenaica (1911–1934), later unified in the Italian Libya colony from 1934 to 1947.

During the Second World War, Libya was an area of warfare in the North African Campaign. The Italian population then went into decline. Libya became independent as a kingdom in 1951. A military coup in 1969 overthrew King Idris I. The " bloodless" coup leader Muammar Gaddafi ruled the country from 1969 and the Libyan Cultural Revolution in 1973 until he was overthrown and killed in the 2011 Libyan Civil War. Two authorities initially claimed to govern Libya: the House of Representatives in Tobruk and the 2014 General National Congress (GNC) in Tripoli which considered itself the continuation of the General National Congress, elected in 2012. After UN-led peace talks between the Tobruk and Tripoli governments, a unified interim UN-backed Government of National Accord was established in 2015 and the GNC disbanded to support it. Since then, a second civil war has broken out, with parts of Libya split between the Tobruk and Tripoli-based governments as well as various tribal and Islamist militias. The two main warring sides signed a permanent ceasefire on 24 October 2020.

Libya is a member of the United Nations (since 1955), the Non-Aligned Movement, the Arab League, OIC and OPEC. The country's official religion is Islam, with 96.6% of the Libyan population being Sunni Muslims.

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Portrait of Moussa Koussa, made in September 2010
Koussa in September 2010

Moussa Muhammad Koussa ( Arabic: موسى كوسا‎, Arabic pronunciation:  [ˈmusaˌkosa]; born 1949?) is a Libyan political figure and diplomat, who held several high-profile positions in the Libyan government, lastly as Minister of Foreign Affairs from March 2009, into the Libyan Civil War, when he resigned his position on 30 March 2011.

Koussa previously headed the Mukhabarat el-Jamahiriya (national intelligence agency) from 1994 to 2009, and was considered one of the country's most powerful figures and a member of Gaddafi's inner circle. When he arrived in the United Kingdom in March 2011, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office released an official statement saying that Koussa no longer wished to represent the Libyan government and intended to resign. No charges were pressed against him by the British government, and in the following months financial sanctions on him were lifted by the Obama administration. He now lives in a small house in a suburb of Doha, Qatar, after being asked to leave his suite in Doha's luxurious Four Seasons hotel. ( Full article...)

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Owumi warms up for the Scorchers in 2017

Alexander Owumi (born May 4, 1984) is a Nigerian-American professional basketball player and author. He became the subject of widespread media attention following his time with Al-Nasr, a Libyan team owned by the family of Muammar Gaddafi. Owumi plays for the Worthing Thunder of the National Basketball League Division 1 (NBL 1) in England.

Originally from Lagos, Nigeria, Owumi moved to Boston as a child. He played football and basketball from an early age and at the college level. He focused on basketball at the Community College of Rhode Island and was named a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-American. Owumi played his final two seasons at Alcorn State in Lorman, Mississippi, but he failed to attract any attention from National Basketball Association (NBA) teams. As a result, in 2009, he moved to France and played his rookie season with AL Roche-la-Molière where he was named most valuable player of the league. ( Full article...)


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