Today 08 December
PARIS (AP) — France is coming to the rescue again, deploying soldiers in a former African colony to help stave off catastrophe — dirty work that Paris says it doesn't really want. France has its eyes on a dynamic new Africa that is creating jobs, not conflicts.
Bangui (Central African Republic) (AFP) - France said its troops will begin to disarm rebels in the Central African Republic on Monday, as terrified residents in the capital Bangui holed up in their homes after a wave of sectarian violence left nearly 400 dead. Speaking on Sunday evening, the French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned that the operation to disarm rebel groups would begin "tomorrow morning". "The period of impunity is over," he said, speaking on French radio station RTL. French army spokesman Colonel Gilles Jaron said the contingent had reached its full strength of 1,600 by Sunday and troops were on patrol "throughout" Bangui as well as other towns and forest areas.
African Union leaders gathered Sunday to mourn the death of Nelson Mandela, honouring the former anti-apartheid leader's fight for pan-Africanism and liberation on the continent. "Madiba's life was the mirror image of the continent for the liberation of which he so relentlessly fought," AU Chairman and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said, referring to Mandela. Photos of Mandela flanked the AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, while video footage of the former South African president played throughout the memorial service. Mandela died Thursday at the age of 95.
Former president Thabo Mbeki on Sunday challenged South Africa's leadership to ask if they are living up to Nelson Mandela's standards, in a pointed public challenge to his ANC comrades. Mbeki -- who succeed Mandela as president in 1999 and was ultimately ousted by Jacob Zuma in a party coup -- questioned whether current leaders were living up to Mandela's values. "To say: 'to what extent are we measuring up to the standard they (Nelson Mandela and his generation) set in terms of the quality of leadership?'" Mbeki said the remaining task of transforming South Africa into a truly free, fair and equal society was "in many respects more difficult than the struggle to end the system of apartheid".
Scientists from Saudi Arabia and China said on Sunday they have completed mapping the genome of the date-palm tree, whose fruit is a staple food in many regions. Scientists from Riyadh's King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology and China's Shenzhen-based BGI have been working on the project since 2008. The sequencing could help increase productivity as well as prevent and help in the treatment of diseases affecting date palms, Saudi research institute head Mohammed al-Suwail told reporters. Saudi Arabia has 450 varieties of the 2,000 species known worldwide, according to scientists.