Wednesday 22 November 2017

In brief: New Ivory Coast president hopes inauguration signals end of conflict

Alassane Ouattara was inaugurated as president of Ivory Coast yesterday in a ceremony most Ivorians hope will put a decade of conflict and instability behind them and mend a once-prosperous economy.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy, whose troops helped end an impasse after Mr Ouattara's election was disputed, attended the ceremony in the former French colony's official capital Yamoussoukro.

Mr Ouattara singled out France and Mr Sarkozy for particular praise for helping end the crisis. "This day is a historic day for all Ivorians," he said.

30 arrested on spying charges in Iran

Iran's intelligence ministry said it has arrested at least 30 people allegedly linked to a spy network run by the CIA. In a statement read on state TV yesterday, Iran's secret service said its agents uncovered activities of a CIA-run espionage network that sought to recruit Iranian spies through US diplomatic missions that include the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and Turkey.

The report didn't provide further details, but claimed the recruits had been asked to spy on Iran's research inst-itutes, universities, nuclear programmes and other sites.

Palestinians seek membership of UN

Palestinians will seek recognition as a United Nations member state in September given the deadlock in US-brokered peacemaking with Israel, a senior Palestinian official said yesterday.

Nabil Shaath urged US President Barack Obama, who last week criticised the planned move at the UN general assembly, to join other countries in endorsing a Palestinian state taking in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Cypriots to vote in legislative election

Cypriots go to the polls today for legislative elections in an important test of leftist President Dimitris Christofias's handling of long-running talks with breakaway Turkish Cypriots to re-unify the ethnically split island.

The results will also be used to gauge voter sentiment over the Greek Cypriot president's three years in power, including his handling of the economy.

Syrian police gun down mourners

Syrian forces killed at least six people in a funeral procession today for eight anti-government activists killed yesterday, raising the two-day death toll to at least 50.

At least 900 civilians have been killed by the security forces since Syrian citizens began protesting against the Assad's family's 40-year grip on power.

23 wounded, six killed in Taliban bomb

A suicide bomber struck a tent filled with medical students eating lunch at a military hospital in Kabul yesterday, killing at least six people and wounding 23, Afghan officials have said.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was targeting foreign trainers and Afghan doctors who work with them.

Nato claims Gaddafi now 'in hiding'

NATO'S bombing campaign in Libya has crippled the government's ability to attack rebels fighting to topple Muammar Gaddafi and effectively forced the leader into hiding, the alliance said on Friday.

Meanwhile, Russia has stepped up its criticism of the Nato-led air operation in Libya, calling for increased UN and African Union efforts to stem the violence.

Boy, 3, drowns in birthday accident

A little boy's birthday party went tragically wrong when a double-decker tour boat capsized during a storm in southern Vietnam, killing 15 people -- including the three-year-old being honoured and four other children, officials said yesterday. The incident remains under investigation, but bad weather is being blamed.

Astronauts examine damaged shuttle

Astronauts on the space shuttle Endeavour took a close, detailed look at a small gash in the belly of their ship yesterday, to ensure their safety when they return to Earth in a week-and-a-half's time. Meanwhile, Pope Benedict XVI was set to make the first papal call to space, phoning the 12 astronauts from the Vatican.

Stranded whales start to swim south

A pod of whales threatened with being stranded in shallow waters off Scotland's Western Isles were leaving the area yesterday, rescuers said. The charity British Divers Marine Life Rescue said the 60 pilot whales seemed to be trying to swim south.

The animals have been in water off the coast of South Uist near Loch Carnan since last Thursday.

Mob blinds woman for 'witchcraft'

Eleven people stormed into a house in a central Indian village in Chattisgarh state and assaulted a woman whom they accused of witchcraft, blinding her and her husband by stabbing them in the eyes with scissors, local police said yesterday.

Bid of £75,000 for Beatrice's hat

Auction site eBay has said a bidder has offered €85,000 for the spiralling headpiece worn by Britain's Princess Beatrice to last month's royal wedding.

Beatrice has taken the resulting joking in her stride and put the hat on sale for charity. Proceeds will go to Unicef and Children in Crisis. The auction ends today.

Korea and China leaders visit Japan

The leaders of Japan, China and South Korea gathered yesterday to demonstrate their shared desire for Japan's earthquake and tsunami recovery and to smooth out differences over Japan's handling of its nuclear crisis.

Japan hopes the visit by the two leaders will help ease concerns and import restrictions on Japanese produce. The summit was expected to focus on the nuclear crisis and ways for each country to help Japan's recovery.

Sunday Independent

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