Today 19 December
Nigeria's opposition said Thursday the country should expect a more accountable democracy after the party which has ruled since 1999 lost its majority in parliament. Thirty-seven lawmakers elected as members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defected to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday, stripping the PDP of its majority in Nigeria's 360-seat lower house. "I think there is a window of hope after 14 years," APC spokesman Lai Mohammed told AFP, a reference to the PDP's complete dominance of national politics since military rule ended in 1999. President Goodluck Jonathan's PDP has suffered a series of unprecedented political blows in recent months, including the defection of five powerful state governors in November.
By Michael Holden, Costas Pitas and Drazen Jorgic LONDON/MOMBASA (Reuters) - Like many teenage boys growing up in soccer-obsessed Britain, Michael Adebolajo enjoyed kicking a ball around the school yard. Those who knew him then say he was just a regular lad: not the next David Beckham, nor bottom of the class. On Thursday Adebolajo, a 29-year-old convert to Islam, and a second man, 22-year-old Michael Adebowale, were convicted of murdering off-duty soldier Lee Rigby in daylight on a street in Woolwich, southeast London, in May. Their guilt had hardly been in doubt. One of them happens to be British military and, unfortunately, the war continues to this day." Adebolajo, a father of six, described in a police interview played to the court how he hacked at the soldier's neck after he and Adebowale ran the soldier over in their car.
South Africa's government on Thursday cleared President Jacob Zuma of any wrongdoing during a controversial $20-million revamp at his private home, in a move criticised as a whitewash. Unlike a recently leaked watchdog report, the state probe into the spending of 206 million rand (14.5 million euro) on security upgrades at his rural village home handed Zuma the all-clear. "Allegations that the president had used state resources to build or upgrade his personal dwellings are unfounded," Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi told a news conference. The splurge on the house nestled in the verdant hills of Zuma's political stronghold has sparked an uproar amid an economic crunch in a country where 10 million live on social grants and many have only tin shacks above their heads.
PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Nelson Mandela's ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, has denied that his family is engaged in a "succession or dynasty" battle amid media reports of a family feud. She also said the anti-apartheid fighter's eldest daughter is now the head of the family.
Bangui (Central African Republic) (AFP) - The US envoy to the United Nations was in Central African Republic Thursday to urge political and religious leaders to end brutal violence, warning the people were "in profound danger". Samantha Power is the highest-level US official to visit the CAR, which has plunged into anarchy with sectarian violence that has killed hundreds of people. Power, who before joining the US administration was a journalist and vocal human rights activist, said US leaders were "deeply disturbed" by atrocities which have forced some 400,000 people to flee their homes. "The people in Central African Republic are in profound danger, and we all have a responsibility which we must meet to help them move away from the abyss," Power told reporters on Wednesday.