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/ 6 February 2008

It’s no beauty pageant

Funny, isn’t it, how we have come this far in the United States election campaign, reaching the milestone of results from 24 states in the early hours of Wednesday morning, and still a mystery remains. What, exactly, do these warring candidates stand for?

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/ 27 January 2008

Sudan summons US envoy over Darfur comments

Sudan summoned the top United States diplomat in Khartoum saying he had interfered in the internal affairs of the country and rejected US criticism of the appointment of Musa Hilal to a central government post. US Charge D’Affaires Alberto Fernandez told Reuters that Khartoum’s lack of implementation of internal peace accords had created an environment of distrust.

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/ 2 January 2008

Gunmen kill US official in Sudan

Gunmen killed a United States government aid agency official and his driver in Khartoum on Tuesday, US and Sudanese officials said. The unknown assailants opened fire as the official from the US Agency for International Development was heading home in an embassy vehicle shortly after midnight on New Year’s Day, diplomatic sources said.

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/ 30 November 2007

US security firm runs into new trouble

Randel Parks pushed his hands into the pockets of his jeans and rocked back on the heels of his cowboy boots. ”I’ve been here 30 years,” he said, staring at the ground, ”and I’ve spent most of my adult life working on this property, turning it into my piece of paradise. I’ll be damned if I’m going to let them spoil it.”

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/ 21 November 2007

Bangladesh cyclone relief operation in full gear

A week after a cyclone killed nearly 3 500 people on the Bangladesh coast, relief workers said on Wednesday they had been able to get food, medicine and other provisions to almost all those affected. A relief operation by civil authorities and the army, navy and airforce was at full force after roads blocked by fallen trees has been cleared.

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/ 19 November 2007

Bangladesh storm toll nears 3 000

Nearly four days after Bangladesh’s worst cyclone since 1991 killed at least 2 350 people, rescuers were struggling to reach some devastated areas and officials feared the toll could climb sharply. Media reports and Bangladesh Red Crescent Society chairperson Mohammad Abdur Rob said the death toll had already surpassed 3 000, and was likely to go up.

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/ 5 November 2007

Pakistan police use tear gas on lawyers

Pakistan police used tear gas and batons on Monday against lawyers protesting at President Pervez Musharraf’s imposition of emergency rule and detentions mounted, prompting Washington to postpone defence talks. Musharraf cited spiralling militancy and hostile judges to justify Saturday’s action, and slapped reporting curbs on the media.

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/ 25 October 2007

Man arrested at US embassy may be scam victim

A man who may have been the victim of a money scam was arrested by police outside the United States embassy in Pretoria on Thursday. The man, who is in his early 40s and who was initially reported to have been planning an attack on the embassy, was praying and chanting across the street from the embassy when police were alerted.

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/ 10 October 2007

Outraged Iraqis condemn killings by foreign guards

Iraqi authorities on Wednesday condemned the killing in Baghdad of two women by foreign security guards, as the firm which hired the contractors defended its action. Tuesday’s bloodbath comes just days after Iraq vowed to punish United States security firm Blackwater after a probe found that its guards opened "deliberate" fire in Baghdad three weeks ago.

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/ 8 October 2007

Rebels: Sudan army attacks Darfur peace partners

Sudanese government troops and allied militia on Monday attacked a town belonging to the only Darfur rebel faction to sign a 2006 peace deal, rebels said. ”Government planes have attacked Muhajiriya, which belongs to us, and government forces and Janjaweed militia are fighting our forces” said Khalid Abakar, a senior representative from the Sudan Liberation Army.

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/ 8 October 2007

Iraq vows to punish Blackwater guards

Iraq has vowed to punish United States security firm Blackwater after a probe found that its guards were not provoked when they opened ”deliberate” fire in Baghdad three weeks ago, killing 17 civilians. The US embassy was tight-lipped on Monday on whether those involved in the September 16 killings would be handed over for prosecution.

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/ 29 September 2007

US warns of kidnap threat to tourists in Kenya

The United States on Friday warned that Somali Islamist militants might kidnap Western tourists on vulnerable Kenyan beaches. In a message to US nationals in Kenya, the US embassy in Nairobi said it had received information that Islamic extremists from southern Somalia may be planning kidnapping operations across the border.

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/ 22 September 2007

Iraq’s hired hands under fire

They needed to be hired fast after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. With too few United States soldiers on the ground, demand for private security guards was at a level not seen since the mercenary heyday of Congo in the 1960s. But the Iraq boom for private security firms is coming to an end, even without the Blackwater shooting row.