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US Imposes Sanctions On Leader Of Mali Islamist Militant Group

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US Imposes Sanctions On Leader Of Mali Islamist Militant Group

The United States has imposed sanctions on a leader of an Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist militant group in Mali on Thursday. The U.S. Treasury Department blacklisted Amadou Koufa, a Salafist preacher and a leader of a group said to be an Al-Qaeda affiliate in the Sahel region.

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America has also warned of the influence of Islamic state in west Africa which it says was on the rise even as it lost territory elsewhere.

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U.S. sanctions block any assets Koufa may have under U.S. control and bar any persons or entities in the United States from any dealings or transactions with Koufa.

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The U.S. state department’s annual global terrorism report saw an increase in “widespread terrorist activity in northern and central Mali last year.

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Zimbabwe Bans New Electric Water Heaters To Save Energy

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Zimbabwe Bans New Electric Water Heaters To Save Energy

In light of the economic situation, Zimbabwe says its banning the installation of new electric water heaters in an attempt to save power. Many reasons have been given for power shortages as the country deals with prolonged blackouts.  Some businesses have had to change to working night shifts, when electricity is available.

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The state power firm, says customers inability to pay their bills and a recent severe drought that has reduced water levels in Zimbabwe’s biggest hydro-plant are a major cause of the electricity crisis descending Zimbabwe into darkness.

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The country`s energy regulators were quoted as saying, the electricity supplier will no longer be allowed to connect power to premises without solar water heaters.

Nearly half of the country’s 16 million people faces the threat of starvation, in part due to the worst drought in four decades.

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The economic crisis has seen hospitals virtually shut with health workers on strike over pay.

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U.S. To Reevaluate South Sudan Ties After Unity Gov’t Deadline

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U.S. To Reevaluate South Sudan Ties After Unity Gov't Deadline

The United States says it is gravely disappointed with South Sudan’s failure to form a unity government by November the twelfth deadline.   As a result, America says it would “reevaluate its relationship with the nation’s government.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement quote “we will work bilaterally and with the international community to take action against all those impeding South Sudan’s peace process.

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She added that the United States would also seek to establish a new paradigm to achieve peace and a successful political transition in South Sudan with others in the region.

Last week, president Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar agreed to postpone the formation of a coalition government for a hundred days saying security and governance issues needed to be resolved.

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The state department statement said, their inability to achieve this basic demonstration of political will for the people of South Sudan calls into question their suitability to continue to lead the nation’s peace process.

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On Sunday, Pope Francis called South Sudan’s politicians to salvage the peace deal. The pope says he intends to visit the east African country in the coming year.

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South Africa’s SAA Workers Start Strike That Could Cripple Airline

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South Africa's SAA Workers Start Strike That Could Cripple Airline

South African Airways (SAA) workers have begun a strike action on Friday over wages and job cuts. The unions have rejected the airline’s wage offer late on Thursday.  They are also aggrieved by the carrier’s plans to cut more than 900 jobs in a bid to stem financial losses.

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The state-owned carrier has now been forced to cancel all flights, leaving its future hanging in the balance.

SAA says it will lose more than three million dollars per day as a result of the strike by members of the unions representing around 3,000 of its 5,000-strong workforce.  The airline says this would threaten its survival.

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Meanwhile, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has urged SAA’s management to resolve the industrial dispute that has led to the cancellation of all flights. Passengers were reported to have been stranded at the country’s main airport.

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