Today 13 December
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa's government was confronted Friday with a new and chilling allegation about the bogus sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial: He was reportedly accused of murder 10 years ago.
Congolese security forces must be deployed rapidly in areas liberated from the grip of armed groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) so as "not to leave a vacuum," a senior UN official warned Friday. Herve Ladsous, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said it was also urgent for Kinshasa to implement a program of reintegration of some 2,300 former members of armed groups, notably M23 and Mai Mai rebels.
Bangui (Central African Republic) (AFP) - France warned Friday of a dangerous spiral of sectarian violence in the Central African Republic as the UN said more than 600 people had died in recent unrest. French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian flew into the capital Bangui early Friday and met some of the 1,600 French troops deployed in the country before he was due to hold talks with the country's interim authorities. UN refugee agency UNHCR said that more than 600 people had been killed in the violence in CAR in the past week, including 450 in Bangui and 160 in other parts of the country. "The spiral of confrontation has abruptly worsened," Le Drian said in a speech to about 200 French soldiers in Bangui, also warning of "the early beginnings of a humanitarian crisis".
In the first such transfer in about a year, 1,500 ethnic South Sudanese are to return to their ancestral homeland from Khartoum area squatter camps on Saturday, the International Organisation for Migration said. "They want to go home," Mario Lito Malanca, IOM's chief of mission in Sudan, told AFP. The group leaving for South Sudan's Northern Bahr El Ghazal state are among almost 20,000 who the IOM says have been "stranded" in Khartoum for more than two years. South Sudanese have been classed as foreigners in Sudan since April last year, restricting their access to employment and services following the independence of South Sudan in July 2011.
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Freshly greased plantain leaves, a kitchen splattered with corn meal, and festive music accompanied by generous amounts of alcohol all make up one of Venezuela's most-enduring Christmas traditions: the gathering of family to prepare a corn dough tamale known as the hallaca.