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By Pete Jones INGA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) - Deep in the bowels of the giant Inga hydroelectric dam that straddles the mighty Congo river stands a fading map named "The motorways of electric power from Inga". From a dot in western Democratic Republic of Congo, lines extend across the African continent. They run southwards through Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, and northwards via Sudan and Libya, reaching as far as Morocco. For decades, governments dreamed of harnessing the Congo river's enormous energy at the Inga rapids with an expansion of the dam large enough to power half of Africa.
Kenya's president must request a leave of absence whenever he is unable to attend a session of his trial at the International Criminal Court, judges said on Tuesday in a ruling likely to further strain the ICC's relationship with the country. President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto face separate charges of crimes against humanity for their alleged role in orchestrating ethnic clashes after the 2007 elections, when more than 1,200 people died. But trial judges were told by an appeals chamber earlier this month that no suspect could be granted a blanket excusal. The court is already at odds with Kenya and its African Union allies, who warn that the charges against Kenyatta and Ruto risk destabilising the entire East African region at a time of a growing threat of violence from Somali Islamist militants.
The U.N. Security Council is considering imposing an arms embargo on the virtually lawless Central African Republic as well as putting a travel ban on people undermining the country's stability, fueling violence and abusing human rights. The landlocked, mineral-rich nation of 4.6 million people has slipped into chaos since northern Seleka rebels seized the capital, Bangui, in March and ousted President Francois Bozize. France has drafted a resolution that would not only see the council establish its first new sanctions regime in 18 months but also authorize African peacekeepers and French troops to take all necessary measures to protect civilians, restore security and help re-establish state authority. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, posted on Twitter on last week: "Long past time for swift deployment of AU forces and imposing sanctions on perpetrators of violence." The Security Council already has 13 sanctions regimes in place on Somalia/Eritrea, al Qaeda, Iraq, Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Sudan, Lebanon, North Korea, Iran, Libya, the Taliban and Guinea-Bissau.
Chevron claimed corrupt Ecuadoran plaintiffs mounted an elaborate fraud to win a multi-billion-dollar case against it for polluting the Amazonian rainforest, in arguments before a US court. "It was a scheme so audacious, so bold it would make a Mafia boss blush," argued Randy Mastro, a lawyer for the US oil giant. "But Chevron didn't give in and that's why Chevron is here to get justice." Chevron has asked US Judge Lewis Kaplan to block Ecuador from enforcing a $9.51 billion Ecuadoran court award against the American company, alleging widespread corruption in the case.
By Mariam Karouny BEIRUT (Reuters) - When he was agitating for revolution, urging fellow Syrians to rise up against President Bashar al-Assad, Abdullah dreaded the midnight knock at the door from the secret police. Now that the uprising has succeeded in his home town near Aleppo, pro-democracy activists are living in fear again - and this time those who brand them "traitor" don't bother to knock. Two years ago, after Abdullah broke off his studies to run social media campaigns against Assad, he was held and tortured by security men. This summer, it happened again - only now it was Islamist gunmen loyal to al Qaeda who smashed into his family's house, broke everything in their way and took him off to a cell where, once more, he was blindfolded and beaten.