The ANC called on Tuesday for South Africa's corruption watchdog to release a partially leaked report into a $21 million upgrade of President Jacob Zuma's private home, saying delays could dent his image ahead of at 2014 election. The Mail and Guardian newspaper reported last Friday that an investigation by the watchdog recommended that Zuma should pay some of the costs for the revamp of his rural homestead which included a swimming pool, a soccer pitch and a cattle enclosure. Thousands of South Africans called for Zuma's impeachment after the news report, outraged by what they saw as inappropriate public spending on luxury items. Zuma has always said his family, not the state, paid for the upgrades to his home.
By Ben Blanchard BEIJING (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden should not expect to make much progress in defusing tensions over the East China Sea if repeats "erroneous and one-sided remarks" on the issue during a visit to China, a top state-run paper said on Wednesday. Beijing's decision to declare an air defense identification zone in an area that includes disputed islands has triggered protests from the United States, Japan and South Korea and dominated Biden's talks in Tokyo on Tuesday. The United States has made clear it will stand by treaty obligations that require it to defend the Japanese-controlled islands, but it is also reluctant to get dragged into any military clash between rivals Japan and China. Biden, who arrived in Beijing on Wednesday, is scheduled to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and Vice President Li Yuanchao later in the day.
By Drazen Jorgic KISMAYU, Somalia (Reuters) - Al Qaeda-linked militants, drug smugglers and shadowy criminal networks stand in the way of the Somali federal government's hopes of hiring a foreign firm to manage the lucrative but run-down southern port of Kismayu. One of only three deep-water ports in Somalia, Kismayu's proximity to northern Kenya and Ethiopia has for decades made it integral to a thriving business smuggling arms, sugar and increasingly narcotics across porous east African borders. Foreign powers trying to curb militant Islam in Somalia fret about the money-spinning charcoal trade that remains a big earner for the Islamist group al Shabaab. Rehabilitating the port is not only essential for generating new state revenues and creating jobs for former Islamist fighters, it is also vital to cutting off a steady flow of cash to al Shabaab, which showcased its threat to regional stability with September's bloody attack on a Nairobi mall.
Armed men killed at least 12 civilians and wounded 30, including children, northwest of the Central African Republic capital, United Nations officials said on Tuesday ahead of a Security Council move to end anarchy in the country. The Council is to vote on Thursday on dispatching French reinforcements to restore order in Central African Republic, which has slipped into chaos since mainly Muslim rebels seized power, leading to tit-for-tat sectarian violence. BINUCA, as the United Nations office in Bangui is known, said unidentified armed men had targeted Boali, about 95 km (60 miles) from the capital at the weekend. Amy Martin, head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Bangui, said the attack occurred on Monday and that Christian militias known as "anti-balaka" appeared to have targeted Peul herders, who are mostly Muslim.
DETROIT (AP) — A judge has given Detroit the green light to cut pensions as a way out of the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, a decision that puts the case in the laps of thousands of retirees who had hoped that the Michigan Constitution would protect them from getting smaller checks in their golden years.
Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) - Manchester United manager David Moyes claimed his side's Premier League title bid will gather momentum before the end of the year as he prepares to welcome former club Everton to Old Trafford on Wednesday. The Red Devils have slipped to eighth place in the table after consecutive 2-2 draws on the road against Cardiff City and Tottenham Hotspur in their last two matches. But with fixtures against sides lower down in the league, including Aston Villa, Stoke, Hull and Norwich, to come after their game against Everton, Moyes does not think it will be long before his side will among the title challengers.
By Pairat Temphairojana and Jutarat Skulpichetrat BANGKOK (Reuters) - Protesters in Thailand trying to bring down the government rallied at national police headquarters on Wednesday and their leader said the fight would go on despite efforts to defuse the crisis. After days of violence in which five people were killed, authorities took the heat out of the confrontation on Tuesday, telling police to step aside and let protesters into state agencies they had besieged in their bid to bring down the government. The demonstrators returned to their Bangkok bases but said the fight was not over. Suthep, 64, who resigned as an opposition Democrat party lawmaker to lead the protests, wants a vaguely defined "people's council" to replace the government.