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JERUSALEM (AP) — When Isaac Herzog was a child, his Egyptian-born, French-speaking mother thought him to be as pretty as a doll. So she blended its Hebrew word, "buba," with a French-sounding term of endearment, "joujou," to create a distinct nickname that would stick with the boy for life — "Bougie."
CAIRO (AP) — During his year as president, Egypt's Mohammed Morsi cultivated ties with Islamic radicals, making them a key support for his rule by pardoning dozens of jailed militants, restraining the military from an all-out offensive against jihadis in Sinai and giving their hard-line sheiks a platform to spread their rhetoric.
Dunedin (New Zealand) (AFP) - New Zealand's Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor tamed the toothless West Indies attack on the opening day of the first Test on Tuesday, both scoring centuries as the home side reached an imposing 367 for three. At close of play McCullum was 109 not out off just 122 balls, with Taylor unbeaten on 103. Hamish Rutherford (62) and Peter Fulton (61) earlier chipped in with half centuries on a dispiriting day for the tourists. New Zealand lost the toss but quickly made the West Indies attack look ordinary despite a green-tinged wicket and cloud cover for much of the day.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois lawmakers were poised Tuesday to vote on a plan to solve the state's $100 billion pension crisis — a proposal many are calling the most important vote of their careers and one that could deeply reduce the retirement benefits of hundreds of thousands of workers and retirees.
By Abdrahman Hussein and Ismail Taxta MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Somalia's parliament on Monday sacked Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon, citing his government's poor performance over the past year. The prime minister, a political newcomer appointed in October last year, fell out with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud over the composition of a new cabinet, prompting Monday's no-confidence vote. "(Shirdon) and his cabinet ministers had failed," Somali legislator Ibrahim Suleiman told Reuters. "This toppled government had low capacity." It could be months before a new cabinet is appointed and then approved by the parliament, which could jeopardise the modest security gains and the limited progress made on building a federal state.
South Africa's government launched a widely unpopular road toll around the economic hub of Johannesburg on Tuesday, a move likely to heighten tensions with its union allies and alienate some voters in the run-up to next year's elections. The electronic levies, known as e-tolls, have fuelled public anger and strained relations between President Jacob Zuma's African National Congress (ANC) and COSATU, the labour federation that has supported the ruling party since the end of apartheid in 1994. Traffic was light on several motorways around Johannesburg as some commuters attempted to avoid tolls by using back roads, while others made rude gestures as they drove through the tolling gantries, local media said. The tolls on motorways in and around Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria, will go towards repaying a $2 billion loan used to finance extensive upgrades to Africa's busiest road network.
Nigerian authorities imposed a 24-hour curfew in the main northeastern city of Maiduguri on Monday after Islamist militants attacked an air force base and army sites overnight, the military said. Baba Ahmed Jidda, a spokesman for the government of Borno State, of which Maiduguri is the capital, announced the curfew in a statement, but gave no details of the attacks and did not say if they had caused casualties. The Nigerian military has periodically imposed curfews on Maiduguri, birthplace of the Boko Haram insurgency that is the gravest threat to Africa's top oil producer.
By Tife Owolabi YENAGOA, Nigeria (Reuters) - A large oil spill near Nigeria's Brass facility, run by ENI, has spread through the sea and swamps of the oil producing Niger Delta region, local residents and the company said on Monday. There are hundreds of leaks every year from pipelines that pass through the delta's creeks, damaging the environment and the profits of oil companies including ENI and Royal Dutch Shell, especially when production has to be deferred. Vast stretches of the delta's unique mangrove swamps are blackened and dead from oil pollution. "During loading operations on a tanker on November 27, an oil spill in the sea was seen.
DETROIT (AP) — A judge was expected to announce Tuesday whether Detroit can come up with a plan to get rid of $18 billion in debt in the largest public bankruptcy in U.S. history, a case that ultimately could crack a shield protecting public pensions and also put the city's extraordinary art collection up for grabs.
Ryan Anderson scored an NBA career-high 36 points and Jrue Holiday made the deciding 3-point play with 2.6 seconds remaining in triple overtime Monday as New Orleans edged Chicago 131-128. Eric Gordon added 23 points for the Pelicans, who were playing their first game without injured top scorer and rebounder Anthony Davis but were still able to complete a perfect three-game road trip, improving to 9-8. Britain's Luol Deng had 37 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in a losing cause as the Bulls fell to 7-9.
By Joe Bavier ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Ghana told a U.N. panel in July that Ivory Coast sent hit squads earlier this year to attempt to abduct or kill exiled supporters of ex-Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, the panel's report has revealed. Relations between the neighbours soured when thousands of Ivorians fled across the border during a 2011 civil war sparked by Gbagbo's refusal to accept defeat in an election in late 2010 to rival Alassane Ouattara, the current president. Gbagbo is awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court for suspected crimes against humanity during the war in which around 3,000 people died. A number of Gbagbo's top military and government officials are among the refugees living in Ghana.