International News

US-Cuba in diplomatic breakthrough

Pope Francis led a chorus of global plaudits for Wednesday's breakthrough in US-Cuban relations, hailed as "historic" in Europe and South America and prompting celebrations on the streets of Havana.
In a personal coup for the pope, it emerged that the Vatican had played a central role in bringing together the global capitalist superpower and the tiny communist island.
The Argentinian pontiff sent "warm congratulations" to the former arch-foes for overcoming "the difficulties which have marked their recent history".
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Islamists kill 32, kidnap scores in Nigeria

Boko Haram militants killed 32 people and kidnapped scores of others in an attack on the village of Gumsuri in the restive northeast, local officials and a witness said yesterday.
The two officials, who requested anonymity, said locals were still counting those abducted in the attack Sunday in the remote area but that the figure could pass 100 and included women and children.
"After killing our youths, the insurgents have taken away our wives and daughters," said Mukhtar Buba, who fled Gumsuri to the Borno state capital Maiduguri.
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Shame in China as village votes to expel HIV-positive boy

The plight of a Chinese boy with the HIV virus, reportedly pushed to leave his home by 200 villagers who signed a petition, sparked intense online soul-searching in the country yesterday.
The case has highlighted the stigma attached to HIV in China, where many sufferers face widespread discrimination.
The boy’s guardian, his grandfather, was among those in the southwestern Sichuan province who signed an agreement to expel the eight-year-old to “protect villagers’ health”, the Global Times reported.
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Ebola centres overflow

Ebola centres in Sierra Leone overflowed on Wednesday as health workers combed the streets of the capital Freetown for patients, after the government launched a major operation to contain the epidemic in West Africa’s worst-hit country. President Ernest Bai Koroma said on national television that travel between all parts of the country had been restricted as part of “Operation Western Area Surge”, and public gatherings would be strictly controlled in the run-up to Christmas.
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Namibia welcomes Cuba, US diplomatic relations

The Namibian government has joined world leaders in welcoming a historic move by the US to end more than 50 years of hostility towards Cuba and restore diplomatic relations.
On Wednesday, US President Barack Obama announced moves to “normalise” his country’s diplomatic ties with Cuba. In a brief statement yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Obama’s decision was a demonstration of political courage, statesmanship and foresight.
Government also welcomed the exchange of prisoners between the two countries.
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Pakistan mourns 141 killed in school massacre

Pakistan yesteday began three days of mourning for the 132 children and nine school staff massacred by the Taliban in the country's deadliest ever terror attack, as the world united in revulsion.
Across the country many schools closed as a mark of respect, while those that opened held special prayers for the 141 killed in Tuesday's assault on an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar.
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Tunisia readies for presidential elections

Tunisians vote in the second round of a presidential election on Sunday, capping off four years of a sometimes chaotic transition since their country sparked the Arab Spring.
Incumbent Moncef Marzouki faces political veteran Beji Caid Essebsi in the vote - the first time Tunisians will be allowed to freely elect their president since independence from France in 1956.
It was protests in Tunisia and the 2011 ouster of longtime ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali that set off the chain of revolts that saw several Arab dictators toppled by citizens demanding democratic reforms.
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EFF delegates walk out own conference

Delegates at the EFF national people’s assembly disrupted their own conference after a group of angry members burned T-shirts, swore, argued and walked out of the hall at the University of Free State's campus in Bloemfontein on Monday.
What started as a well-organised gathering, with well-behaved delegates, was thrown into disarray when it was time to elect 35 additional members to form part of the Economic Freedom Fighters' central command team.
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Why was he on bail?

One year before Man Haron Monis laid siege to a Sydney cafe, he was released on bail after being accused of involvement in his wife’s murder, adding to a string of sex charges against him.
Authorities admitted yesterday that the 50-year-old self-styled sheikh “slipped through the cracks” despite the serious allegations and bizarre behaviour that should have raised alarm.
His 30-year-old wife Noleen Hayson Pal was the victim of a gruesome murder in April 2013, stabbed 18 times and set alight in western Sydney.
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Cannabis on a high in 2014

It’s been something of a breakthrough year for marijuana, the once shunned intoxicant that is steadily gaining ground as a legal high in parts of the world.
In 2014, Uruguay may have been the only country to fully legalise pot, but a growing number of US states followed parts of Europe in moving in a similar direction.
And news that the family of the late reggae great Bob Marley has approved the marketing of “Marley Natural,” an upmarket marijuana brand, reinforced the upbeat mood among cannabis campaigners.
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