Today 19 December
The conflict, which has so far killed up to 500 people, has alarmed South Sudan's neighbors. African mediators held talks with President Salva Kiir on Thursday to try to broker peace. The fighting that erupted around the capital Juba on Sunday night has quickly spread, pitting loyalists of the former Vice President Riek Machar, a Nuer, against Kiir, a member of the dominant Dinka clan. Rivals have fought fierce gunbattles over the town of Bor, north of Juba, the scene of a 1991 massacre by soldiers loyal to Machar of hundreds of Dinkas.
BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) — The American ambassador to the United Nations delivered a stern message on Thursday to the leaders of the strife-torn Central African Republic to stop the cycle of violence.
Port Elizabeth (South Africa) (AFP) - South Africa has suspended oil and gas exploration off the east coast following a complaint over the impact of underwater sound pollution on sea life, an official said Thursday. The government-run Petroleum Agency of South Africa (Pasa) halted seismic surveys along a pristine stretch of coast pending discussions between international oil firms and an environmentalist who blew the whistle on the out-of-season tests. "The agency has deemed it imperative to suspend seismic operations until the process of consultation is completed, and a report submitted to the agency this week," spokeswoman Althea Adonis told AFP. After studying the report, Pasa will "apply its mind and decide whether to allow seismic operations to recommence or not," she added.
BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO called on European Union leaders Thursday to improve their cooperation on defense in the face of dwindling military budgets or face American disengagement from Europe.
By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - Syrian activists and other citizens have vanished into secret detention as part of a "widespread campaign of terror against the civilian population" and a tactic of war by the Damascus government, U.N. investigators said on Thursday. The state-run practice of enforced disappearances in Syria - abductions that are officially denied - is systematic enough to amount to a crime against humanity, they said in a report. ...
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