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Iran satellite launch fails after U.S. warning


Iran’s bid to launch a satellite has failed, Telecoms Minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi said on Tuesday, after it ignored U.S. warnings to avoid such activity.

Washington warned Tehran this month against undertaking three planned rocket launches that it said would violate a U.N. Security Council resolution because they use ballistic missile technology.

‘El Chapo’ paid ex-Mexican president $100 million bribe: trial witness


Accused Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman once paid a $100 million bribe to former Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, an ex-Guzman associate testified on Tuesday that he previously told U.S. authorities.

Alex Cifuentes, who has described himself as Guzman’s onetime right-hand man, discussed the alleged bribe under cross-examination by Jeffrey Lichtman, one of Guzman’s lawyers, in Brooklyn federal court. Asked if he told authorities in 2016 that Guzman arranged the bribe, he answered, “That’s right.” .

May’s Brexit deal is dead

British lawmakers defeated Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit divorce deal by a crushing margin on Tuesday, triggering political chaos that could lead to a disorderly exit from the EU or even to a reversal of the 2016 decision to leave.

After parliament voted 432-202 against her deal, the worst defeat in modern British history, opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn promptly called a vote of no confidence in May’s government, to be held at 1900 GMT on Wednesday.

Commander Khalifar Haftar forces heading south to secure oil sites


Eastern forces loyal to commander Khalifa Haftar have launched a military operation in southern Libya to secure oil and gas facilities and fight extremists, a spokesman said on Tuesday, a move that may alarm the authorities in Tripoli in the west.

Haftar, whose powerbase is the eastern city of Benghazi, leads the Libyan National Army (LNA), which controls the east of the North African nation and major oil ports in the region.

Ethiopia protesters end blockade of main highway to sea

 Protesters in Ethiopia’s northeastern Afar region have ended a blockade of the landlocked country’s main route to the sea that was imposed on Sunday to demonstrate against surging ethnic violence, police and organizers said on Tuesday.

Ethiopia has been gripped by ethnic violence since last year, which resulted in the displacement of nearly 3 million people.

Critics of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who took office in April, say his political reforms have allowed dormant ethnic rivalries to resurface in Africa’s second most populous nation. 

The blockade of the highway linking Ethiopia and Djibouti followed the latest deadly clashes between ethnic Afars and Issa Somalis, who are a minority in the area, which broke out in December. Locals say dozens have been killed. 

Afar elders said the attacks were an attempt to tear areas inhabited by Issas away from the region. An Afar rebel group said the attacks were supported by ethnic Somalis from Djibouti and Somalia. 

Political Sergeant music barred from drinking places

Police in Kyotera district has banned bars and other public places within the district from playing the Kyandondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine’s two hit songs Kyarenga and Tuliyambala Engule.

Following the ‘Kyagulanyi and People Power’ effect that is still puzzling state organs, bars within Kyotera district have been ordered to stop playing the two songs which police claim are making people become violent.

Al Shabab claims killing 47 including American and British in Kenya hotel


An American citizen was one of at least 15 people killed Tuesday when militants from the Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab attacked an upscale hotel in Kenya’s capital city, a State Department official told The Associated Press.

The official said the department was offering condolences to the American’s family and friends, but declined to identify the individual publicly.

SPLM-IO diplomat resigns, accuse Machar’s wife of “absolute” control of the movement


A diplomat of the main armed opposition group, SPLM-IO, led by the country’s former First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon on Monday resigned accusing Machar’s wife, Angelina Teny, of controlling the affairs of the movement.

Amb. Yohanis Musa Puok, SPLM-IO Representative to the state of Qatar, said he has resigned from representing the SPLM-IO in Qatar and from the entire movement citing reasons he said he had mentioned early.

Gunshots heard in hotel and office complex in Nairobi


A fire and sustained gunfire sent workers fleeing for their lives at an upscale hotel and office complex in the Kenyan capital on Tuesday afternoon, Reuters witnesses said.

One man came out covered in blood as students were evacuated from a nearby university building. Four ambulances and a fire truck arrived at the scene as fleeing office workers told Reuters colleagues were still huddled under their desks.

Gbagbo acquitted of war crimes


The International Criminal Court acquitted former Ivorian leader Laurent Gbagbo of war crimes on Tuesday and ordered his immediate release to the joy of dancing supporters and frustration of victims of atrocities.

His freedom and possible return home may shake up the 2020 presidential poll in francophone west Africa’s largest economy and the world’s biggest cocoa producer.

‘Bolsonaro is Hitler!’ Venezuela’s Maduro

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday called Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro a modern Adolf Hitler, days after Brasilia officially recognized an opposition leader as the legitimate head of the increasingly isolated country.

Brazil on Saturday said it recognized Juan Guaido, head of Venezuela’s opposition-run Congress, as legitimate president after Maduro was sworn in to a second term that countries around the world described as illegitimate.

Car bomb blast near high-security compound in Kabul kills four, 90 wounded


At least four people were killed and 90 wounded when a bomb-laden car blew up near a high-security compound in the Afghan capital Kabul on Monday, officials said.

An Afghan government security official said the blast occurred on Jalalabad Road in eastern Kabul near the Green Village compound, home to several international companies and charities.

Boko Haram overun Nigerian town

Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) insurgents overran the town of Rann in northeastern Nigeria on Monday evening, security sources said, a blow to President Buhari’s efforts to defeat the militants just weeks before national elections.

Buhari came to power in 2015 on promises to defeat the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency, from which ISWA split in 2016. ISWA has since become the dominant group in Nigeria’s northeast, with a surge in attacks renewing debates around security in the run-up to elections on Feb. 16.

Gabon’s president returns home

President Ali Bongo returned to Gabon on Monday after a three-month medical leave during which a coup attempt was thwarted, two government sources told Reuters.

Senegal blocks popular opposition candidates from presidential race

Senegal’s two best known opposition figures have been barred from running in presidential elections next month, the Constitutional Council said on Monday, increasing President Macky Sall’s chances of securing a second term in office.

Khalifa Sall, a former mayor of Dakar who bears no relation to President Sall, and Karim Wade, the son of former President Abdoulaye Wade, were jailed for graft and corruption in 2018 and 2015 respectively.

Congo under mounting foreign pressure for vote recount

Democratic Republic of Congo faced growing pressure from African neighbors and beyond on Monday for a recount of its contested presidential election in a dispute that threatens more violence in the volatile nation.

The Dec. 30 vote was supposed to herald Congo’s first democratic transfer of power in six decades of independence and a new era after President Joseph Kabila’s chaotic 18-year rule.