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Benin police arrested on Tuesday a former militant leader from Nigeria's oil-rich Delta region, his lawyer said. Mujahid Dokubo-Asari led a rebellion in the Delta and famously pushed oil prices to record highs in 2004 through attacks on the OPEC member's infrastructure. His lawyer Festus Keyamo said in an emailed statement that Asari was arrested in the West African nation's capital Cotonou by Benin police. "We call on the Nigerian government to immediately intervene and ... to use all diplomatic means to secure his immediate release and safe return to Nigeria," he said.
Disney has given a chilly makeover to a traditional fairy tale in its latest animated release "Frozen," which could be in the running for an Oscar. The movie is based on Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen" -- 25 years after Disney's last Andersen adaptation, "The Little Mermaid" -- even if it takes substantial liberties with plot and characters. The studio's 53rd feature-length film, which has had positive reviews ahead of its release for the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, brings to fruition a project which was on Walt Disney's wish list although he never made it. "Walt Disney was passionate about trying to do a version of this," the film's co-producer Chris Buck told at a press conference to present the film at Disney's Burbank, California studios before its release Wednesday.
By Thomas Escritt AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A lawyer for former Congo vice-president and war crimes suspect Jean-Pierre Bemba went on trial himself on Wednesday on charges of colluding with his client and three others to mislead the court with forged documents and bribed witnesses. Aimé Kilolo Musamba, a Belgian citizen, was arrested in Belgium on an ICC arrest warrant on Saturday, along with three other people alleged to have conspired with Bemba to bribe witnesses and knowingly provide false evidence to the court. They included Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, another member of Bemba's legal team, who was arrested in the Netherlands, Congolese politician Fidele Babala Wandu, and Narcisse Arido, a defence witness.
Mali's three main political parties secured just 16 seats out of 147 available in the first round of a parliamentary election, provisional results showed on Wednesday. The election, which took place on Sunday amid low turnout and some voting abuses, was meant to complete the West African country's transition back to democracy after a coup last year led to an Islamist takeover of the north. The turnout in the election was 38.5 percent, Minister of Territorial Administration Moussa Sinko Coulibaly said late on Wednesday. The party of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, RPM, secured eight seats, according to party official Mahamadou Camara.
Mali's former junta chief, General Amadou Sanogo, has been detained and charged with complicity in kidnapping after being questioned by a judge on Wednesday, the government said on state television. Sanogo was taken into custody by soldiers earlier on Wednesday, the defence ministry said. "(A Bamako court) laid charges against Amadou Haya Sanogo who has been placed in custody," Mahamane Baby, spokesman for the government on state television said late on Wednesday. Mali's newly elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is under pressure to restore the state's authority over the army, which overthrew President Amadou Toumani Toure last year, plunging the country into chaos.
Tacloban (Philippines) (AFP) - Tens of thousands of desperately needed jobs are being created for survivors of a catastrophic typhoon in the Philippines by paying them to clear mountains of waste from ruined cities and farms. UN agencies are spearheading the "cash for work" programmes, which they hope will provide a triple-boost to communities destroyed by Super Typhoon Haiyan, with lifting morale as vital as cleaning up and helping economies. "This is not only important to help normalise the economy, but working gives a sense of dignity back in their lives," said Tim Walsh, leader of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) team deployed to the worst-hit city of Tacloban and nearby areas. The United Nations, working in partnership with the Philippine government, is hoping to create at least 200,000 jobs that could last for up to three years.
President Barack Obama's healthcare law is facing its biggest test this weekend since its disastrous October 1 launch, as Americans find out whether the administration has met a self-imposed deadline to fix its insurance shopping website. Another major outage of glitch-ridden HealthCare.gov could spell more political trouble for the president, who was forced to apologize for the botched rollout and admit burdening Democratic Party allies in their bids for re-election to Congress in 2014. If the website does not work on Saturday's deadline, that could turn off millions of uninsured Americans, especially young and healthy consumers whose participation in the new insurance exchanges are critical for keeping costs in check. Obama officials are confident that this second coming of HealthCare.gov will be much improved from the October 1 debut.
By David Lague HONG KONG (Reuters) - In late October, flotillas of Chinese warships and submarines sliced through passages in the Japanese archipelago and out into the western Pacific for 15 days of war games. The drills, pitting a "red force" against a "blue force," were the first in this area, combining ships from China's main south, east and north fleets, according to the Chinese military. Land-based bombers and surveillance aircraft also flew missions past Japan to support the navy units. In official commentaries, senior People's Liberation Army (PLA) officers boasted their navy had "dismembered" the so-called first island chain - the arc of islands enclosing China's coastal waters, stretching from the Kuril Islands southward through the Japanese archipelago, Taiwan, the Northern Philippines and down to Borneo.