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World in Brief: 23/5/2014

Germany's top criminal court claims jursidiction over Ukrainian alleged SS commander; West Bank PM Rami Hamdallah to lead new Palestinian unity government; Libyan Islamists converge on Tripoli to face renegade general

GERMANY: The country’s highest criminal court ruled yesterday that it has jurisdiction over the case of a retired carpenter accused of being a former commander in a nazi SS-led unit.

The Federal Court of Justice ruled that 95-year-old Michael Karkoc’s service in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defence Legion made him the “holder of a German office” even though he is not German himself.

The court says someone in that role “served the purposes of the nazi state’s world view.”

Federal prosecutors sent the case to the court after deciding there was enough evidence to pursue murder charges against Mr Karkoc, who now lives in the US.

SOUTH AFRICA: The National Union of Mineworkers said yesterday that it was saddened and disgusted that one of its members was stabbed and killed on his way to work at Union Mine in Limpopo province.

“Our member was killed at Sondela squatter camp in Rustenburg on his way to work,” the union said.

“He is one of the NUM members who returned to work last week and he was threatened that he should stop going to work by striking workers.”

PALESTINE: West Bank Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah will head the new consensus government with Hamas, an official said yesterday.

The new joint West Bank and Gaza administration “is nearly ready,” the official added.

Hamas’s Prime Minister Ismail Haniya’s advisor said the Gazan PM “had no objection” to the appointment.

ALGERIA: The cabinet announced on Wednesday night that it will move forward with the exploitation of the country’s large shale gas reserves.

Politicians gave the green light to finding foreign partners to exploit the reserves.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, Algeria is third richest globally, after China and Argentina, in technically recoverable shale gas with 707 trillion cubic feet of reserves.

ALBANIA: Fourteen sacked civil servants have started a hunger strike outside government headquarters in protest at what they say is a politically motivated cull of workers.

The five women and nine men put up tents near the government centre on Wednesday and vowed to starve themselves indefinitely.

They were backed by the opposition Democratic Party, which accuses the Socialist-led government of firing 7,000 people from public-sector posts since coming to power eight months ago.

BAHRAIN: Main opposition group Al Wifaq said yesterday that a 15-year-old protester has died after being shot in the chest at close range with birdshot.

The country’s largest Shi’ite political group said the protester was shot on Wednesday in Sitra. The group says the boy’s injuries are consistent with those caused by a weapon commonly used by Bahraini police.

Bahrain’s interior ministry claimed police were attacked with firebombs during a funeral procession and responded.

NIGERIA: Teachers closed chools across the country yesterday to protest against the government’s failure to rescue the hundreds of schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram and the killings of scores of teachers by the Islamist extremists.

Families of some of the kidnapped girls and their supporters also marched to the presidential villa in Abuja to carry their complaints to President Goodluck Jonathan.

They were met by police in riot gear and fire engines with watercannon.

LIBYA: Islamist-led militias streamed into the capital Tripoli yesterday to face fighters loyal to renegade general Khalifa Haftar, whose offensive has won support from officials, diplomats and army units but has split the government from parliament.

The militias, known as Libya Central Shield, are composed of groups from the city of Misrata. They are under the command of the country’s chief of staff, who answers to parliament.


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