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    Rohingya militants say Myanmar refugee return plan 'deceitful'
    20.01.18
    AFP

    Rohingya militants on Saturday hit out at a repatriation plan for refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar set to begin next week, saying it aims to trap the Muslim minority in long-term camps while their ancestral lands are seized. Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed to send back around 750,000 refugees who arrived since October 2016 over the next two years, a process set to begin as early as Tuesday. But the deal has been pilloried by many Rohingya refugees who say they do not want to return to Rakhine after fleeing atrocities including murder, rape and arson attacks on their homes. Rights groups and the UN say any repatriations must be voluntary with safety assured in a state where...

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    Gambians enjoy freedom post-Jammeh, but criticise economy
    20.01.18
    AFP

    A year ago, Gambians wept for joy as Yahya Jammeh went into exile, bringing the curtain down on a brutal 22-year rule. Today, many say freedom of speech in this small west African state is a right they cherish under President Adama Barrow's administration. "There is a democracy, everybody feels free. Disappearances without a trace -- all that's over now," said teacher Kalipha Dampha, referring to the dreaded work of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the "Junglers," as Jammeh's death squad was called. But The Gambia's faltering economy has barely improved and tensions over mass unemployment are rising. Today,...

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    Amazon's indigenous people 'never so threatened': pope
    19.01.18
    AFP

    Pope Francis sounded a stark warning about the future of the Amazon and its peoples during a visit to the region on Friday, saying they had "never been so threatened." In a speech to thousands of tribe members on the edge of the rainforest in Peru, he said the Amazon and its peoples bore "deep wounds."  Francis lamented "the pressure being exerted by great business interests that want to lay hands on its petroleum, gas, lumber, gold and forms of agro-industrial monocultivation." He later highlighted the "endless violence" endured by the region's women. Bare-chested tribesmen, their bodies painted and their heads crowned with colorful feathers, danced and sang for the pope when he...

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    Pro-apartheid S.Africa 'homeland' leader dies
    19.01.18
    AFP

    A former leader of a black tribal homeland that was one of the so-called Bantustans that helped to underpin South Africa's apartheid system has died, local media reported on Friday. Lucas Mangope, 94, was president of Bophuthatswana until democracy in 1994 after which the 10 small apartheid-created states were dismantled and South Africa's first democratic president Nelson Mandela described him as a "forgotten man". "Mangope was among the African personalities... that sustained the apartheid social engineering of ethnic division," the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party said in a statement. "Mangope was an outspoken opponent...

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    Families of Japanese 'kidnapped by N. Korea' seek ICC probe
    19.01.18
    AFP

    Japanese families who believe their relatives were abducted by North Korea want the International Criminal Court to investigate the disappearances and punish the country's leader, a support group said Friday. They will submit a petition to the court next week, at a time when attention is already heavily focused on Pyongyang and its nuclear weapons and missile drive. North Korea admitted in 2002 that it had dispatched agents to kidnap 13 Japanese in the 1970s and 1980s who were tasked with training its spies in Japanese language and customs. Five of the abductees were allowed to return to Japan but Pyongyang has insisted -- without...

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    Defence minister for toppled Ivory Coast regime jailed
    19.01.18
    AFP

    A former defence chief for the Ivory Coast's ousted leader was sentenced to 15 years on Thursday for conspiring against the government, the latest top aide of the former regime to be jailed. Moise Lida Kouassi, a defence minister under strongman Laurent Gbagbo, was convicted by a court in Abidjan of "conspiring to destroy or change the constitutional system" alongside three other defendants.  Gbagbo was forced out after months of violence that followed his refusal to step down when rival Alassane Ouattara won elections in November 2010. At least 3,000 people were killed. Gbagbo was arrested with the help of UN and French troops, and handed over to the International Criminal Court,...

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    AFP and Reuters journalists detained covering Sudan protests
    19.01.18
    AFP

    Journalists working for Agence France-Presse and Reuters were among three reporters being held by Sudanese authorities on Thursday a day after they were arrested covering demonstrations against rising food prices that were dispersed by police. Abdelmoneim Abu Idris Ali, a 51-year-old who has worked for AFP in Khartoum for nearly a decade, was covering the protests on Wednesday in the Sudanese capital's twin city of Omdurman, where riot police fired tear gas on some 200 protesters. Idris Ali was unreachable after the protest and authorities informed AFP on Thursday that he had been arrested along with two other journalists, including one working for Reuters, and was being held at a...

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    Hundreds mourn slain Kosovo Serb politician at funeral
    18.01.18
    AFP

    Hundreds of people mourned at the funeral of moderate Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic on Thursday, two days after his murder raised tensions in the volatile region. Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, several government ministers and opposition leaders joined a crowd of more than a thousand for the burial at Belgrade's main cemetery Novo Groblje. Ivanovic was shot dead from a car Tuesday morning as he arrived at his party's headquarters in the nothern Kosovo town of Mitrovica. His killers have not yet been identified. Ivanovic was buried in so-called Alley of Great Men, reserved for Serbian luminaries. He lies...

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    Croatia leader visits site of wartime massacre of Muslims
    18.01.18
    AFP

    Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic made an unexpected visit Thursday to the site of a massacre of Muslim civilians by Bosnian Croats during the country's 1990s war, an atrocity that led to several war crimes convictions. Grabar-Kitarovic, on an official visit to Bosnia, paid her respects to 116 Muslim civilians, among whom 33 children and women, killed by Bosnian Croats in the village Ahmici in central Bosnia in April 1993. Such gestures are still rare among leaders in the former Yugoslavia, torn apart by a series of bloody wars in the 1990s. "I like to visit those sites of piety in silence, to bow to the victims and think...

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    Hundreds mourn slain Kosovo Serb politican at funeral
    18.01.18
    AFP

    Hundreds of people mourned at the funeral of moderate Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic on Thursday, two days after his murder raised tensions in the volatile region. Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, several government ministers and opposition leaders joined a crowd of more than a thousand for the burial at Belgrade's main cemetery Novo Groblje. Ivanovic was shot dead from a car Tuesday morning as he arrived at his party's headquarters in the nothern Kosovo town of Mitrovica. His killers have not yet been identified. Ivanovic was buried in so-called Alley of Great Men, reserved for Serbian luminaries. He lies...

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    Human Rights Watch hails resistance to Trump-style populism
    18.01.18
    AFP

    The policies of US President Donald Trump and his embrace of populist strongmen have dealt a blow to rights campaigns around the world but resistance is building, Human Rights Watch said Thursday. In its annual report, the group denounced rights abuses in unstable states like Syria and Myanmar as well as authoritarian trends in powers like Turkey and China -- while also weighing in on the first year of Trump's term. Under Trump, the United States cosied up to leaders like the Philippines' Rodrigo Duterte and encouraged Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's bloody intervention in Yemen, HRW said. But in an interview with...

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    Germany charges Afghan Taliban suspect with war crime
    18.01.18
    AFP

    German prosecutors on Thursday filed a war crime charge against an Afghan Taliban suspect who allegedly killed a policeman by savagely beating him in the head and later shooting him. The 20-year-old suspect, named as Omaid N., is also charged with one count of murder over the killing, prosecutors said in a statement. The man is believed to have joined the Taliban in early 2013 and had helped transport weapons for the Islamist militant group on at least one occasion. Together with other members of his Taliban unit, he allegedly beat a captured policeman on the head using wooden slats, prosecutors said, adding that the suspect also...

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