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Chinese troops in Africa

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Going by recent troop deployments, there is widespread speculation that China is set to establish military bases in key spots of Africa in a move seen as a direct challenge to the military presence of the US and the European Union on the continent, writes Franklin Adesegha Lately, Chinese peacekeepers have deployed to countries in which Beijing has significant political and economic interests. For instance, Chinese peacekeepers deployed to Liberia only after Liberia agreed to cut off diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

Features | Franklin Adesegha | 2 October 2014 | Hits: 16

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Venezuela: Dangerous Inertia

The streets of Venezuela’s major cities are now largely calm, following several months of violent clashes between opposition demonstrators, security forces and civilian gunmen that left more than 40 dead. The crisis, however, is not over. The opposition is demanding freedom for several dozen activists jailed during the unrest and an end to the threat of prosecution against more than 2,000. The underlying causes have not been addressed, and calls to restore autonomy and independence to the justice system and other key institutions have not been heeded.

Features | International Crisis Group | 2 October 2014 | Hits: 16

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The Ebola plague

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The American President Barack Obama has made a dramatic pledge to send 3,000 US troops to West Africa to halt the spread of the Ebola plague. Starting with Liberia they will erect 17 treatment centres and train thousands of health care workers. They will establish a control centre in Monrovia to co-ordinate all efforts across West Africa that are trying to combat the disease. So far 2,400 people have died of the Ebola plague, mainly in the three small interlinked countries of West Africa – Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Features | Guy Arnold | 2 October 2014 | Hits: 14

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Hong Kong: Chinese regime under attack

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Hong Kong’s reputation as a safe enclave for global commerce is on the verge of being tarnished following the recent confrontation between pro-democracy protesters and riot police officers, Franklin Adesegha writes Pro-democracy students had stormed Hong Kong government headquarters in protest against the Chinese government’s tightening grip on the former British colony. Police used pepper spray on protesters who forced their way through a gate and scaled high fences surrounding the compound to oppose Beijing’s decision to rule out free elections for the city’s leader in 2017.

Features | Franklin Adesegha | 2 October 2014 | Hits: 11

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Cameroon: Prevention is better than cure

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Cameroon’s apparent stability and recent government reforms can no longer hide its vulnerabilities. While the government of President Paul Biya has manipulated the electoral system to his advantage, options for effective political expression by the opposition are minimal, social discontent is widespread and new security threats are emerging. The combination of external pressures (Boko Haram and the Central African Republic crisis) and long lasting internal social and political deadlock is a destabilising mix. Yet, ironically, for the moment, it is the principal source of support

Features | International Crisis Group | 2 October 2014 | Hits: 14

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Sarkozy’s political comeback

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The former French President Nicols Sarkozy decided last month to return to France’s frontline politics pointing out in his facebook page that he “didn’t just want to return” but that “he didn’t have a choice”. In a primetime interview with FRANCE 2, Sarkozy outlined his bid to lead the opposition UMP party and launched a scathing attack on his successor socialist President François Hollande and his disastrous economic policies.

Features | Ali Bahaijoub | 2 October 2014 | Hits: 12

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Ukraine, Russia and the West

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The Ukraine crisis has proved a revelation in the attitudes it has revealed. At the beginning of September President Vladimir Putin was raising the issue of statehood with clear implications about the future of western Ukraine. The United States and the European Union were threatening to increase sanctions unless Putin withdrew Russian support for the separatists and the EU gave Russia a week to comply.

Features | Guy Arnold | 2 October 2014 | Hits: 12

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More countries join US coalition against ISIS

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The US struck Islamic State (IS) targets in Syria for the first time on 22 September, According to early reports, the US-led strikes were focused on the IS strongholds of Ar-Raqqah, Dayr az-Zawr, Al-Hasakah, and Abu Kamal, destroying checkpoints, compounds, and equipment, and killing dozens of militants. “Given that these operations are ongoing, we are not in a position to provide additional details at this time,” Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said.

Features | Ali Bahaijoub | 2 October 2014 | Hits: 20

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Kenya: Al-Shabaab – Closer to Home

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One year after the Westgate Mall terrorist attack in Nairobi, Al-Shabaab is more entrenched and a graver threat to Kenya. But the deeper danger is less in the long established terrorist cells that perpetrated the act – horrific as it was – and more in managing and healing the rising communal tensions and historic divides that Al-Shabaab violence has deliberately agitated, most recently in Lamu county. To prevent extremists from further articulating local grievances with global jihad, the Kenyan government – including county governments most affected – opposition politicians and Kenyan Muslim leaders, must work together to address historical grievances

Features | International Crisis Group | 1 October 2014 | Hits: 12

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Yemen rivals sign peace deal but will it last

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After the Houthis rebels took over a number of government buildings in the capital including the defence ministry’s headquarters, the army headquarters, the parliament building, the Central Bank and the national radio and TV station in the capital, Sanaa, UN special envoy Jamal Benomar, who had held talks with Houthi leader Abdulmalek al-Houthi in their home province of Saada, announced that an agreement had been reached to end fighting. Yemen’s President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi urged all sides in the crisis to abide by the deal.

Features | Ali Bahaijoub | 1 October 2014 | Hits: 15

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Attacks urged on Egyptian security forces and dissenters rot in jail

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Islamic State urged insurgents in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula to press ahead with attacks against Egyptian security forces, a call likely to deepen concern over ties between the militant groups. A roadside bomb blast killed three police officers near Egypt’s foreign ministry in downtown Cairo last month. The blast also injured several civilians when it exploded in the neighbourhood of Boulaq Abu Eila, sending a plume of smoke over the government building. Security officials speaking under condition of anonymity said that the roadside bomb had targeted a police checkpoint near the back entrance of the Nile-side ministry building.

Features | Alan Brown | 1 October 2014 | Hits: 15

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US airstrikes against ISIS to last for months

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The airstrikes - which employed U.S. Tomahawk missiles, B1 bombers, F16, F18 and F22 strike fighters and drones and fpor the first time the stealth F-22 Raptor fighter jet- were backed by support from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) - a coalition of nations that has agreed to assist with the destruction of ISIS. That was ‘only the beginning’ of a ‘credible and sustainable, persistent’ coalition effort to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIS militants and other extremist groups, the American military said.

Features | Ali Bahaijoub | 1 October 2014 | Hits: 16

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Global reactions to Scottish referendum

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Political leaders and commentators worldwide have given mixed reactions to Scotland voting against leaving Britain, writes Franklin Adesegha. While much of the international coverage of the referendum result has been positive, with everyone from Chinese media to German ministers cheering the no vote, other countries were less supportive. Among those criticizing the way the independence referendum

Cover Stories | Franklin Adesegha | 1 October 2014 | Hits: 11

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Did Scotland reject independence after promised reforms?

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British Prime Minister David Cameron is on the back foot after angry backbenchers from his ruling Conservative party slammed his ‘reckless’ election promises to Scotland during the country’s failed independence bid, writes Franklin Adesegha London mayor Boris Johnson, widely tipped to become the next Conservative party leader, criticised Mr Cameron for his ‘reckless’ promise to protect the subsidy handed to Scotland under the ‘Barnett Formula’, a vow made by all three main party leaders in the dying days of the referendum campaign.

Cover Stories | Franklin Adesegha | 1 October 2014 | Hits: 14

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What happens now in Scotland?

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Scotland will remain as part of the United Kingdom (UK), with its own Parliament. The UK and Scottish governments will continue to make the changes to the powers of the Scottish Parliament that were agreed in the Scotland Act 2012. Further devolution of financial powers to the Scottish Parliament will come into effect from April 2015 and April 2016. The next powers to be devolved are: 1. Stamp duty land tax and landfill tax

Cover Stories | Ali Bahaijoub | 1 October 2014 | Hits: 11

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Scotland: Where next for Britain?

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The exciting finale to the bid for Scottish independence has opened a Pandora’s box of questions none of which will be answered either easily or justly. The referendum saw the highest electoral turnout since 1951, ranging between 84 and 86 per cent of registered voters. The world, meanwhile, watched unbelieving that a united Britain would destroy itself after 300 years of union but in the event the vote was 55 to 45 to maintain the Union. What the referendum did do was reveal the deep flaws in the British political system. The last minute spectacle of the three political leaders David Cameron (Conservative party in government), Ed Miliband (Labour), and Nick Clegg (Liberal and part of government Coalition) jointly journeying to Scotland to promise reforms to save the Union only emphasised the shameful way they had treated the Scottish question in the past.

Cover Stories | Guy Arnold | 1 October 2014 | Hits: 15

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