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Phuket Gazette World News: Central African Republic names new leader, EU to send troops

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Phuket Gazette World News: Central African Republic names new leader, EU to send troops | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Central African Republic names new leader, EU to send troops
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Central African Republic lawmakers chose their capital’s mayor to become interim president on Monday and lead the country out of months of sectarian killings, as the European Union agreed to send in 500 troops to help restore order.

The change in leadership and deepening international involvement in the former French colony follow waves of killing and looting that have forced 1 million people – nearly a quarter of the population – to flee.

The landlocked nation, impoverished for all its mineral reserves, descended into chaos when mainly Muslim rebels, known as Seleka, seized power in March.

Abuses by Seleka fighters triggered revenge attacks by Christian militia known as ‘anti-balaka’, fuelling unprecedented violence between communities that had lived side-by-side.

“I am the president of all Central Africans, without exception,” said Mayor Catherine Samba-Panza, succeeding Seleka leader Michel Djotodia who stepped down as interim president this month under international pressure over his failure to end the bloodshed.

“I appeal to my anti-balaka and Seleka children to listen to me and lay down your weapons,” said the Chadian-born politician, who moved to Central African Republic when she was 18.

A senior U.N. official warned last week of the possibility of genocide in the nation that borders six other countries in the heart of Africa, including strife-hit South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo.

But the appointment of a candidate with no links to either camp in the fighting raised hopes of an end to the slaughter.

People sang and danced in the streets of the riverside capital Bangui on Monday to celebrate the choice of post-colonial Africa’s third female head of state, after Malawi’s Joyce Banda and Liberia’s Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

A spokesman for a major group of anti-balaka fighters, which had earlier threatened protests against the vote, said they were happy with the result. “She is a woman who can bring peace,” Sebastien Wenezoui told Reuters.

New beginning

The EU mission, the bloc’s first major army operation in six years, follows heavy French lobbying for international support for their efforts to bolster an African peacekeeping mission.

“This means that in cooperation with the U.N. and with the African forces, Europe will militarily support Central African Republic, as we asked,” said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, whose country has already deployed 1,600 troops.

But Fabius said the new force under discussion was just 500-strong, smaller than the contingent of up to 1,000 that EU officials had earlier suggested could be dispatched.

Few EU countries have so far come forward with firm offers of troops and some of the EU force could be French soldiers, EU diplomats said.

EU officials hope the first troops could start arriving by next month and stay for up to six months before handing over to an African Union (AU) force due to reach 6,000 peacekeepers.

Central African Republic has seen little but sporadic rebellion and instability since independence from France in 1960. The latest crisis has simmered for over a year but spiked in December when Christian militia attacked Bangui, triggering violence in which more than 1,000 people were killed.

Many of the estimated 500,000 displaced people in sprawling camps around Bangui had been waiting for the outcome of Monday’s vote before deciding whether to return home.

French President Francois Hollande’s office congratulated Samba-Panza, who was chosen above seven other candidates by the interim assembly.

But, underscoring the sense of urgency, France also urged Samba-Panza to immediately set about restoring order, reconciling the country and preparing elections.

The United Nations said the vote must mark a “new beginning” and an end to “senseless violence”.

Donors at another meeting in Brussels pledged nearly half a billion dollars in humanitarian aid .

A spokesman for the U.N. World Food Programme told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that 1,500 tonnes of food – enough to feed 155,000 people for a month – was blocked on the border with Cameroon as truckers were too afraid to enter the country.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

World

Sir Sean Connery dies at 90 years of age

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Sir Sean Connery dies at 90 years of age | The Thaiger

Sir Sean Connery has died at the age of 90. The Scottish actor was best known for his portrayal of British spy 007 “Bond… James Bond”, doing his first Bond movie in 1962 in “Dr. No”. According to his son, Jason Connery, he died peacefully in his sleep in the Bahamas.

He was knighted by the Queen at Holyrood Palace in 2000. He also received the Kennedy Centre Honour, and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. Scottish newspaper The Sunday Herald called him “The Greatest Living Scot” while People Magazine didn’t just vote him “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1989 but “Sexiest Man of the Century” a decade later.

He was the first to bring the role of James Bond to the big screen , appearing in 7 of the Bond franchise films, and the first of 7 actors that have played the role. Sir Sean was often voted the best actor to have played 007 in the long-running franchise in many polls.

His acting career spanned 5 decades and he eventually won an Oscar in 1988 playing an Irish cop in “The Untouchables”.

Sir Sean’s other films included The Hunt for Red October, Highlander (a Thaiger favourite), Entrapment, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Rock.

Jason Connery said many of his family were with him and around when he died peacefully in his sleep.

“We are all working at understanding this huge event as it only happened so recently, even though my dad has been unwell for some time.”

“A sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor.”

Sir Sean was also a long-time supporter of Scottish independence, saying in interviews in the run-up to the 2014 referendum that he might return from his Bahamas home to live in Scotland if it voted to break away from the rest of the UK.

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Weather

This year’s most powerful typhoon will hit Philippines tomorrow

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This year’s most powerful typhoon will hit Philippines tomorrow | The Thaiger

Typhoon Goni continues to bear down on The Philippines in one of the South China Sea’s busiest storm years. 220,000 people have now been evacuated as of today.The typhoon, packing “destructive winds’, is expected to reach the south-east of the Philippine’s main island of Luzon tomorrow morning with the eye of the storm passing over during Sunday afternoon. Forecasters are expecting wind speeds of over 200 kilometres per hour.

Typhoon Goni is known locally as “Rolly”.

A warning has been issued “moderate to high risk” of storm surges up to 3 metres high along the east coast over the next 2 days.

On Wednesday this week Typhoon Molave smashed into Vietnam’s central coast, killing up to 35 people and flooding low-lying villages and then dropping heavy rain on southern Laos and Central Thailand. Molave killed 20 people as it passed over The Philippines.
This year's most powerful typhoon will hit Philippines tomorrow | News by The Thaiger
GRAPHIC: Typhoon Goni will reach Philippine’s island of Luzon tomorrow.

Schools are being used as emergency shelters as well as government-co-ordinated evacuation centres and gymnasiums. Authorities are ramping up preparations in the Bicol region southeast of Philippine capital Manila, readying rescue vehicles, emergency response teams and relief goods ahead of the storm.

The Philippines averages around 20 storms and typhoons every year, wiping out harvests, infrastructure and homes. The deadliest storm on record for The Philippines was Typhoon Haiyan, which dumped huge wave surges on the central city of Tacloban killing over 7,300 people in 2013.

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Economy

Dow and S&P 500 take a breath after an ugly week, tech stocks lead the way down

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Dow and S&P 500 take a breath after an ugly week, tech stocks lead the way down | The Thaiger

US stocks closed lower yesterday to end an ugly week downbeat with ‘uncertainty’ remaining the overwhelming sentiment. Tech stocks led the march downwards. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped in its biggest monthly collapse since March with investors reacting to rising Covid-19 cases in the US and Europe, peppered by nervousness ahead of next Tuesday’s US presidential election. The increased volatility forced all three major indexes seeing their biggest weekly declines since the worst of the coronavirus-inspired selloff 8 months ago.

The Dow fell around 157 points, to end near 26,502, according to preliminary figures, while the S&P 500 lost around 40 points, or 1.2%, to finish near 3,270. The Nasdaq Composite gave up around 274 points, or 2.4%, closing near 10,912. The Dow had a 6.5% weekly fall and a 4.6% monthly drop. Friday’s decline saw the Nasdaq negative for the month of October, falling 2.3%. The Nasdaq was down 5.5% for the week.

The Dow dropped more than 500 points at its session low with tech stocks – primarily Apple, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook – leading the market decline.

A number of stocks were on the move, down, following a slew of earnings, including from the tech giants. Twitter sank more than 20% on slowing growth, while Exxon reported its 3rd straight quarter of losses.

Key moments yesterday…

  • Dow closed down 0.59% for its 5th negative day out of 6
  • S&P 500 closed down 1.21% for its 4th negative day in 5
  • Dow closed down 6.47% this week for its worst week since March 20
  • S&P closed down 5.64% this week for its worst week since March 20 when the S&P lost 14.98%
  • S&P closed down 2.77% this month for its second-straight negative month
  • Nasdaq closed down 5.51% this week for its worst week since March 20 when the Nasdaq lost 12.64%

Dow and S&P 500 take a breath after an ugly week, tech stocks lead the way down | News by The Thaiger

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