International News

UN chief urges CAR ceasefire, political transition

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday urged all sides in the Central African Republic's unrest "to put an immediate end" to fighting and advance the political transition.
As African-led peacekeeping forces (MISCA) transferred authority to the United Nations mission (MINUSCA), Ban urged "all Central African stakeholders to sustain their commitment to an inclusive political process to ensure the successful completion of the country's transition."
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Nkandla landscaping cost R16m

Architect Minenhle Makhanya built a garden fit for a king - eventually spending more than R16 million on landscaping at President Jacob Zuma’s home.
This has emerged from reams of official Department of Public Works (DPW) documents made public in pursuit of Zuma’s personal architect Makhanya.
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Islamic State kills another hostage

US Secretary of State John Kerry has been touring the Middle East to try to secure backing for his country’s efforts to build a coalition to fight the Islamic State militants who have grabbed territory in Syria and Iraq.
The United States resumed air strikes in Iraq in August for the first time since the 2011 withdrawal of the last US troops, fearful the militants would break the country up and use it as a base for attacks on the West. The addition of Arab fighter jets would greatly strengthen the credibility of what is a risky and complicated campaign.
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Pope defies doctrine in public wedding

Pope Francis this past Sunday officiated at the marriage of 20 couples, including some who already have kids - a sin under Catholic Church teaching.
The gesture, coming three weeks before a global meeting of bishops due to discuss family matters like premarital sex, was seen as a testimony of the pontiff’s belief in a “merciful” church.
“Those who will get married Sunday are couples like many others,” the diocese of Rome, who selected the couples to be married in the Basilica of St Peter, said in a statement earlier in the week.
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English compromised African culture - Jerry Rawlings

English is an opportunistic and intimidating language which has compromised African culture, former Ghanaian president Jerry Rawlings says.
“We must speak English with the integrity in our African culture. Our culture lost its integrity because of the way we educated people to use English to communicate,” he remarked at a dinner in Swakopmund on Sunday.
Rawlings said when Africans speak the foreign language; they must not detach it from the cultures on the continent in order to preserve the African cultures.
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At least 17 die in Nigeria church building collapse

Seventeen people were killed when a building collapsed at the mega-church of one of Nigeria's most famous preachers and televangelists, the country's main rescue body said on Saturday.
Ibrahim Farinloye, southwest coordinator for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) told AFP the death toll was 17.
Another 124 people were rescued from the rubble of the building in the Ikotun area of Lagos.
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Kerry seeks Cairo's support for war on jihadists

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday that Egypt was on the frontline against terrorism after he met its leadership to garner support to fight Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria.
Egypt's formidable army is unlikely to take part in a military coalition against IS, but has closely cooperated with the United States on counter-terrorism.
The Arab world's most populous state boasts the prestigious Sunni Muslim authority Al-Azhar, which Kerry said would fight back against the Islamic State's use of the religion.
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Scotland prepares for historic independence vote

Scots head to the polls on Thursday for an independence referendum that could end its three-centuries-old union with England and create Europe's newest country since the collapse of Yugoslavia.
The election is like no other that Scotland has ever seen and has stirred fevered debate, as well as concern on the financial markets about how to separate two deeply intertwined economies.
The possibility of a "Yes" victory was dismissed as pie in the sky just a few weeks ago but is now being seriously entertained as the polls have narrowed and the two camps appear almost equal.
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Syrian opposition backs US anti-IS plan

Syria’s opposition National Coalition has welcomed a US plan to tackle the jihadist Islamic State group , but also urged action against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
In a statement, the group said it backed a US plan for air strikes in Syria and training of rebel forces, but that a “stable and extremist-free region” required “degrading and ultimately removing the Assad repressive regime.”
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UN peacekeepers arrive in CAR

A new UN peacekeeping mission gets off the ground next week in the Central African Republic, one of Africa’s most fragile states, despite questions over what peace there is to keep.
About 1 500 troops from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia and Morocco, among other nations, will join 4 800 African troops already on the ground who will be “re-hatted” to serve in the MINUSCA mission.
Senior UN officials and CAR’s President Catherine Samba-Panza are to attend a formal ceremony in Bangui on Monday to launch the UN’s 9th mission in Africa and 16th worldwide.
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