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Sunday 17 December 2017

In brief: Gbagbo's government seeks to expel UN peacekeepers from Ivory Coast

THE government of the Ivory coast, led by President Laurent Gbagbo, has told UN and French peacekeeping missions to leave the country.

"The government demands the departure of the UNOCI and Licorne forces in Ivory Coast and is opposed to any renewal of their mandate," a spokeswoman said yesterday.

The West African country has been in turmoil since a November 28 election in which Mr Gbagbo claimed victory with backing from the nation's top legal body, rejecting as fraudulent results showing he lost to rival Alassan Ouattara.

Court urges arrest of Sudan's leader

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said yesterday he had evidence that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has stolen billions of dollars from his impoverished country.

"From different sources, we have information about possible accounts that could belong to Mr al-Bashir in foreign banks," Luis Moreno Ocampo said in a statement. But he said that his prosecution is focused on Mr al-Bashir's alleged orchestration of genocide in Darfur and not suspected embezzlement.

Suicide blast kills two in Afghanistan

A suicide bomber blew himself up yesterday near an armoured car carrying a district chief in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, killing two civilians -- including a child -- and wounding another nine, Afghan authorities said. The bomber's target was unharmed.

Elsewhere, a NATO member was killed yesterday in an insurgent attack in the east of the country, the military coalition said, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a surprise visit to her nation's troops in the north.

US to let gays serve openly in military

THE US Senate last night voted to let gays serve openly in the military, giving President Barack Obama the chance to fulfill a campaign promise and repeal the 17-year policy of "don't ask, don't tell."

Mr Obama was expected to sign it next week, although the change wouldn't take immediate effect. The legislation says the president and his military advisers must certify that lifting the ban won't hurt troops' fighting ability.

Paris 'Vogue' editor-in-chief quits

Paris Vogue says its editor-in-chief, Carine Roitfeld, has decided to leave after a 10-year tenure in which the French fashion monthly became "a worldwide reference and indispensable magazine".

The magazine says on its website that Ms Roitfeld's years as the top editor were marked by "constant growth" both in terms of circulation and advertising.

Mother seeking justice is shot dead

Anger over Mexico's justice system boiled over last week after a mother who waged a two-year battle to bring her daughter's killer to justice was herself shot to death, possibly by the same man suspected of murdering the girl.

A security video recording shows masked men pulling up in a car in front of the governor's office in Chihuahua. One appeared to exchange words with anti-crime crusader Marisela Escobedo Ortiz, who was holding a vigil outside.

She tried to flee by running across the street, but the gunman chased her down and shot her in the head.

Bad weather halts Korean war games

Military manoeuvers planned by South Korean troops for yesterday did not take place because of bad weather on a border island shelled by North Korea last month, as the UN Security Council scheduled an emergency meeting at Russia's request amid concerns over rising tensions on the divided peninsula.

The North warned it would strike harder than before if the South went ahead with planned one-day firing drills it planned to conduct between Saturday and Tuesday.

Four people died last month in the North's attack on Yeonpyeong Island near the tense sea border.

No further survivors from boat crash

Officials say no more survivors are expected to be found after a deadly boat crash on a craggy Australian island last week. Memorial services will be held at the Christmas Island detention centre today and tomorrow for the 30 people known to have died in the incident.

Officials have said the boat could have been carrying up to 100 Iraqi, Iranian and Kurdish asylum seekers when it shattered against cliffs in stormy seas last Wednesday.

End of era for CNN's anchorman King

Larry King ended his 25-year run at CNN on top of the ratings. An estimated 2.24 million people watched the last episode of Larry King Live.

He beat the usual leader in cable news during that time slot, Fox News. King had been averaging 672,000 viewers a night this year, third in his slot after Fox and MSNBC.

Sunday Independent

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