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Friday, December 19, 2014

World briefs

@ArdeeTheJourno

Central African Republic
After surrendering to the African Union during the weekend, about 200 militia fighters with the Muslim group Seleka fled the capital of Bangui on Saturday. According to the Agence France-Presse, Central African authorities claimed that the fighters left for the city of Kaga Bandoro, which is north of Bangui. They speculate that the Seleka troops fled to avoid revenge attacks from the Christian militia “Anti-Balaka” after the African Union seized Seleka troops on Saturday. The country has been in political crisis since a coup d’état in March last year.

France
Thousands gathered in the streets of Paris and Lyon on Sunday to protest the French government’s “family-phobia.” About 100,000 protesters stated that the legalization of gay marriage in France, which the government enacted last year, is harmful to traditional families, according to Reuters. Protesters also condemned new sex equality lessons that the government had recently required schools to hold and urged the government not to legalize medical procedures that would help same-sex couples to have children, Reuters reported.

Lebanon
For the third time in Lebanon, the extremist group Nusra Front has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in the country on Saturday. Late Saturday, the group posted on its Twitter account that the car blast, which occurred in the Shiite town of Hermel in northeast Lebanon, aimed to punish the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, which fights alongside Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. According to the Associated Press, at least three people were killed in the incident.

Saudi Arabia
Activists are expressing outrage about a counterterrorism law that the Saudi Arabian government passed Sunday. The law states that any act that “undermines” state or societal stability in the country can be tried as an act of terrorism in the country, the Associated Press reported. These acts include simple calls for regime change in the Middle Eastern country. Through the new law, Saudi Arabian authorities will also be permitted to monitor phone calls and Internet activity and to raid homes of suspected individuals.

Sri Lanka
The Sri Lankan government on Sunday rejected the United States’ push to issue a third United Nations human rights resolution against it. United States ambassadors decided to table a resolution against the country because of worsening allegations of war crimes committed by the military in its civil war that ended in 2009, Reuters reported. But Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Ministry said the country’s claims are “reckless and irresponsible statements without evidence,” according to Reuters.

South Africa
South Africa’s Constitutional Court announced Sunday that it will publicly reveal the last will and testament of former president Nelson Mandela on Monday, two months after his death. According to AFP, the Mandela Foundation will lead the unveiling and will read a summary of the former president’s final wishes in the planned media briefing. Mandela, who died on Dec. 5, became South Africa’s first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in prisons under the Apartheid regime.

Thailand
After three months of political turmoil, Thailand held a nationwide parliamentary election on Sunday. No incidents of violence have been reported throughout the duration of the election despite protesters forcing polling stations in Bangkok to close, the AP reported. Protests of thousands erupted in November after complaints of corruption against the government of current Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. The results of Sunday’s election will not be announced until a series of by-elections have finished. The first leg of the subsequent elections is on Feb. 23.

Ukraine
Amid three-month-old protests, Ukraine on Sunday has succumbed to Western pressures to liberate Dmytro Bulatov, an activist who was kidnapped, tortured and arrested by authorities. According to Reuters, Bulatov has fled to the neighboring Eastern European country of Lithuania, which is a member of the European Union. Bulatov’s bloody photos have been circulating in the media controlled by forces opposed to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, who rejected possible cooperation between his country and the EU.