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Sunday 24 September 2017

In brief: Main Syrian opposition group votes in favour of attending peace conference

The President of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SNC) Ahmad al-Assi al-Jarba
The President of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SNC) Ahmad al-Assi al-Jarba

Associated Press

The main, western-backed Syrian opposition group has voted in favour of attending this week's peace conference aimed at ending the country's bloody civil war.

The Syrian National Coalition's media office said that of 73 voters yesterday, 58 voted in favour of attending the conference. The Coalition was under huge pressure from its Western and Arab sponsors to attend the peace talks, scheduled to open on Wednesday in the Swiss city of Montreux.

The Syrian government has said it will attend the talks.

CEASEFIRE IMMINENT IN SOUTH SUDAN

Leaders for warring sides in South Sudan said yesterday they are close to signing a ceasefire in a conflict that the UN says has created a "horrifying human rights disaster".

Military spokesman Philip Agur, meanwhile, said army forces retook the key city of Bor yesterday, defeating a coalition of some 15,000 rebels. In Juba, the capital of South Sudan, presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said he believed a ceasefire would be signed today or tomorrow.

FRENCH FIRST LADY LEAVES HOSPITAL

French first lady Valerie Trierweiler left hospital in Paris yesterday, a week after reports emerged that her partner, President Francois Hollande, was having an affair with the actress Julie Gayet, Paris Match magazine said.

Trierweiler left the Pitie Salpetriere hospital and went to the president's official residence at La Lanterne in Versailles to rest, said the magazine, for which Trierweiler works. Hollande's office declined to comment. Sources close to Trierweiler were not immediately reachable.

HEPATITIS C TREATMENT GETS GREEN LIGHT

A TREATMENT for hepatitis C which is potentially more effective and quicker than other therapies has been given the green light by the European Commission. With the EC's approval for the drug sofosbuvir, a once-daily inhibitor, "many more patients are offered the opportunity of a cure", said the makers, Gilead Sciences."It is a game changer," said Professor Mark Thursz, a professor of hepatology at Imperial College, London.

REFUGEE CAMP RECEIVES FOOD SUPPLIES

A PALESTINIAN official said food supplies have begun entering a besieged rebel-held Palestinian refugee camp in Syria's capital for the first time in months.

Anwar Raja, a spokesman for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command, said the first batch of supplies entered the Yarmouk camp yesterday.

Yarmouk is one of the areas hardest hit by food shortages in Syria. Residents there said 46 people have died since October of starvation, illnesses exacerbated by hunger or because they couldn't obtain medical aid.

TWO ITALIANS KIDNAPPED NEAR BENGHAZI

TWO Italians have been abducted in an Islamist stronghold in Libya, a security source said yesterday.

The two construction workers were kidnapped in Derna, east of Benghazi, where they had been working on a road project, the source said. "We are trying to establish the identity of the kidnappers, to find out about their demands," the source added.

DIPLOMAT KILLED IN DRIVE-BY SHOOTING

AN IRANIAN diplomat has been killed in a drive-by shooting in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa.

Officials said the diplomat was leaving the Iranian ambassador's house when assailants opened fire on his car. They said that the diplomat, who is in charge of administrative affairs in the embassy, died in hospital.

Irish Independent

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