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World in Brief: 30/05/14

AFGHANISTAN: Roadside bombings across the country killed four people yesterday as Taliban forces stepped up their offensive against the government.

A district official, his bodyguard, a police officer and an intelligence commander were all killed and a number of other officials and police injured.

Officials also reported that a Nato soldier died and 15 others were wounded on Wednesday when a helicopter crashed into a communications antenna in Kandahar.

 

CHINA: Health officials revealed yesterday that the country is preparing for two million extra babies a year as a result of a loosening of its one-child-per-family policy.

The Communist Party introduced birth limits in 1980 to curb population growth and ease demand for water and other resources.

But it announced in November 2013 that couples in which either parent was an only child would be allowed to have a second baby in some areas.

 

MALAYSIA: Airline union leader Mohamad Jabbarullah Abdul Kadir urged the resignation yesterday of Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya.

Mr Jabbarullah said that new management was needed to revive the beleaguered state-owned airline.

He added that staff had done their best in light of four years of losses, together with the Flight 370 tragedy, but the CEO and his team had failed to show leadership.

 

SOUTH AFRICA: Judge Thokozile Masipa has ordered the Justice Ministry to decide within 30 days whether to grant parole to former apartheid police commander Eugene de Kock, who confessed to murder and other crimes and was sentenced to life in prison.

Mr de Kock has been in jail since 1994 and says he acted on instructions from leaders who were never punished.

 

LEBANON: Hundreds of Syrians living in Lebanon took advantage of the extension of expat voting by a day yesterday to cast their ballots in the presidential election.

The voting window was extended after clashes on Wednesday between Syrians and Lebanese troops posted outside the Syrian embassy in Yarze, south-east of Beirut.

 

NIGERIA: President Goodluck Jonathan announced on Democracy Day yesterday that he had authorised security forces to use any means necessary under the law to ensure that terror group Boko Haram is defeated.

“I am determined to protect our democracy, our national unity and our political stability, by waging a total war against terrorism,” he declared.

 

PALESTINE:  President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree yesterday calling on West Bank Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to form a national unity government.

A unity government would consist of technocrats backed by the president’s Fatah movement and Islamic resistance group Hamas.

The two parties have been negotiating for five weeks over who should be in the unity cabinet, with consensus on the names of most ministers but disagreement on who should serve as the foreign and interior ministers.

 

SUDAN: Local media reported yesterday that Christian woman Meriam Ibrahim, who was sentenced to be hanged for apostasy earlier this month, gave birth to a daughter in prison on Tuesday.

The judge who ordered her death, together with 100 lashes for illegal sexual relations with her husband, allowed her two years for breast-feeding before her execution.

Ms Ibrahim and her South Sudanese Christian husband Daniel Wani, who has US citizenship, were married in a church in 2011 and have an 18-month-old son who is with her in prison.

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