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page 18 S/AFRICA Zuma survives impeachment vote Parliament in South Africa has voted not to impeach President Jacob Zuma, despite a court ruling against him.…

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S/AFRICA

Zuma survives impeachment vote

Parliament in South Africa has voted not to impeach President Jacob Zuma, despite a court ruling against him.

The governing African National Congress (ANC) defeated the opposition-sponsored motion, saying Mr Zuma was not guilty of “serious misconduct”.

Last week, South Africa’s highest court said he had breached the constitution by failing to repay public money used to upgrade his private home.

The opposition said Mr Zuma was a “crooked” president, not fit to govern.

After a rowdy debate, with MPs heckling and shouting at each other, a vote was called in the lower house, the National Assembly. The motion was backed by 143 MPs and opposed by 233.

Mr Zuma was not present.

The ANC had denounced the impeachment proceedings as a publicity stunt.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) needed a two-thirds majority – 267 MPs out of 400 – to impeach Mr Zuma.

The party has 89 seats, and the combined opposition 151.

KENYA

ICC terminates case against Kenyan Deputy President

The International Criminal Court has dropped charges of crimes against humanity against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto.

The ICC said Tuesday that judges voted 2-1 to vacate the charges against Ruto and co-defendant Joshua Arap Sang.

Judges Chile Eboe-Osuji and Robert Fremr said prosecutors did not present sufficient evidence to warrant a trial, but added their decision “does not preclude further prosecution in the future, either at the ICC or in a national jurisdiction.”

Eboe-Osuji declared a mistrial in the case, saying the lack of evidence might be explained by “witness interference and political meddling.”

Ruto was charged with being criminally responsible for acts of murder, forcible transfer of population and persecution during the 2007 and 2008 post-election violence in Kenya.

Sang, a Kenyan radio executive, was accused of playing a role in the same crimes.

An estimated 1,100 Kenyans were killed during weeks of ethnic violence that followed the disputed polls, with more than a half million others forced from their homes.

CHINA

China restricts trade with N/Korea over nuclear tests

China on Tuesday banned most imports of North Korean coal and iron ore, the country’s main exports, in a significant increase in pressure on the North under U.N. sanctions against its nuclear and missile tests.

China buys an estimated two-thirds of impoverished North Korea’s exports, making Beijing’s cooperation essential for trade penalties approved by the U.N. Security Council last month to succeed.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has intensified nuclear activities in defiance of U.N. sanctions, conducting his country’s fourth nuclear test explosion in January and test-firing missiles.

In a sign of growing frustration with its ally, China signed onto Security Council sanctions last month that include mandatory inspections of cargo bound to and from North Korea. The council called on all countries to “redouble their efforts” to enforce the sanctions.

ICELAND

Iceland’s PM resigns over Panama Papers scandal

The prime minister of Iceland has resigned – the first major casualty of the Panama Papers leaks which have shed an embarrassing spotlight on the world of offshore finance.

The leaks, from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca, showed PM Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson owned an offshore company, Wintris, with his wife.

He was accused of concealing millions of dollars worth of family assets. A big protest was held in front of parliament in Iceland on Monday. Reports suggest the agriculture minister will be the new PM.

Dozens of high-profile global figures are named in the huge Mossack Fonseca leak.

Mr Gunnlaugsson had earlier called on the President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson to dissolve parliament, but that was refused. Mr Grimsson said he wanted to speak to political parties first.

FRANCE

France to reopen embassy in Libya to help unity gov’t

France hopes to reopen its embassy in Tripoli as a sign of support for Libya’s new unity government, Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Tuesday, in what would be the first reopening of a Western diplomatic mission there.

Western governments are growing increasingly concerned about Islamic State’s success in establishing a firm foothold in Libya while two rival factions operating two governments fought for power.

The West is now backing a U.N.-brokered national unity government, which arrived in Tripoli from Tunisia last week and has been operating from a naval base as it seeks to establish its authority.

“Tunisia has reopened its embassy … We are working on it if the security conditions are guaranteed … It would be an extremely strong signal to show that we don’t give in to terrorists,” Ayrault told reporters after a meeting with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

UGANDA

Ugandan opposition leader Besigye arrested again

Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye was re-arrested Tuesday just hours after he left his home.

The move came despite assurances by authorities that he was free to attend prayers at his party headquarters Tuesday.

Besigye, who often draws large crowds wherever he travels, had been under house arrest since the presidential poll on February 18.

His arrest came as supporters joined his procession from the outskirts of Kampala and followed him as he made his way into the city.

Besigye was taken to Nagalama police station outside Kampala. A police spokesperson said he has been charged with participating in an unlawful procession.

Besigye was arrested several times in the run-up to the February 18 polls. He was placed under house arrest for a month and half after the vote.

SYRIA

Rebels shoot down second Syrian jet in a month

Rebels shot down a second Syrian warplane in less than a month on Tuesday and reportedly captured its pilot in an area near Aleppo where heavy fighting has erupted in recent days despite a cessation of hostilities agreement.

The Syrian army said the jet was shot down with an anti-aircraft missile – the same type of weapon it says was used to shoot down a warplane in western Syria in March – but rebels accused Damascus of fabricating the claim, saying the plane was downed with anti-aircraft guns.

Foreign-backed rebels have long demanded anti-aircraft weapons to fight against devastating aerial raids by Syrian and, since September, Russian forces. But their backers, which include Western and Sunni Muslim regional states, are wary of delivering weapons that could fall into the hands of hardline groups.

The aircraft crashed in the Talat al-Iss highland south of Aleppo city, an area where al Qaeda-affiliated insurgents have come under heavy bombardment by Syrian and Russian warplanes since capturing it in recent days, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

CAR

CAR abuse: UN troops tried in DR Congo

Three UN peacekeepers accused of sexual abuse in Central African Republic (CAR) have gone on trial in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Two of the Congolese troops denied charges of raping minors, while a third denied a charge of attempted rape, the prosecutor said.

More than 100 people have come forward with allegations of sexual abuse by UN and French forces in CAR.

French prosecutors have opened a new enquiry into the case, AFP reports.

The troops were deployed to end conflict which broke out in 2013.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has said he was “shocked to the core” by the latest allegations, which include bestiality.

INDONESIA

Two aeroplanes collide at Jakarta airport

Two planes collided at an airport in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, resulting in a wing bursting into flames.

A Batik Air passenger plane was taking off when its wing clipped the tail of a TransNusa aircraft being towed across the runway.

Authorities said there were no injuries in the Monday night incident, and all passengers were evacuated safely.

Indonesia has had a dismal air safety record amid a boom in air travel, particularly with budget carriers.

The incident took place at the largely-domestic Halim Perdanakusuma airport in Jakarta, causing the temporary closure of the airport.

The Batik Air plane was carrying 49 passengers and crew.

ARMENIA

Armenia and Azerbaijan call Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire

Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces have agreed on an immediate ceasefire after nearly four days of fighting in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The announcement came from the Armenian separatists and Azeri defence ministry.

Ethnic Armenians have controlled the mountainous enclave in Azerbaijan and adjacent territory since the 1990s.

Earlier Azerbaijan said 16 of its troops had died in two days of clashes. The Christian Armenians and mainly Muslim Azeris are longstanding rivals.

The separatists accuse Azerbaijan of using heavier weapons, including Smerch multiple rocket launchers.

Azerbaijan threatened a “major attack” on the region’s capital, Stepanakert. The conflict – halted in 1994 – flared up again on Saturday.

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