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Mali Coup Leaders, ECOWAS Fail To Reach Agreement On Transition

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Regional body`s negotiation to reinstate the ousted Mali president Boubacar Ibrahim Keita has failed. Instead, Mali’s military junta said an interim government will be put in place.

West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS dispatched negotiators, including Nigerian former president, Goodluck Jonathan to Mali at the weekend to try to reverse president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s removal from power, but diplomats say his reinstatement is highly unlikely given the popularity of the coup.

The regional mediators and military leaders on Monday discussed the make-up and goals of an interim administration following last Tuesday`s coup. The parties said on Sunday that they reached agreement on certain points during talks that lasted around nine hours, but some outstanding issues remained.

Sources, who have direct contact with people involved in talks, said there was not yet any agreement on the time frame of the transition or who would run the government but Keita would not be involved.

The junta, has also denied on Monday reports of a three-year transition period was demanded.

ECOWAS is keen to push for a “short transition” that will allow a civilian, elected administration handle reforms afterwards.

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Nine African Nations In Debt To UN Lose Voting Rights

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Nine African countries, who are owing membership dues to the United Nations, are about to lose their voting rights in the general assembly.  Niger, Central African Republic, Somalia, Comoros, Libya, the Congo, Zimbabwe, South Sudan and Sao Tome and Principe are reported to be indebted to the United Nations.

U.N. Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, says the African nations, and Iran, should lose their voting rights as required under the U.N. Charter after defaulting on payment of their dues to the united nations’ operating budget.

Guterres listed in a letter to the United Nations General Assembly president, Volkan Bozkir, on monday, the minimum each country must pay for their voting rights to be restored.

The U.N. Charter gives the 193-member general assembly the authority to decide “that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the member,” and in that case a country can continue to vote. That has not been invoked in these cases.

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Tunisian President Urges Calm As Protesters Remain Defiant

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Tunisian president, Kaïs Saïed has urged protesters, mostly youths in the country, to desist from vandalizing private and public properties. The plea came on Monday after four nights of protests across the country. Demonstrators are railing against social and economic crisis.

The president said he is aware of the state of poverty in Tunisia but also claimed the youths are being exploited. He said “don’t let anyone exploit your misery. Don’t attack private or public property. We live today because of moral values and not because of theft or looting.”

Tunisians are saddened by a high unemployment rate in the country. The financial crisis in the nation has also angered locals.  Protesters have taken to the streets since Friday.

Officials say more than 600 persons have been arrested on Monday. Troops have been deployed after a third consecutive day of protests.

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Egypt Makes Major Archaeological Findings

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New archaeological discoveries were announced on Sunday in the Saqqara area of Egypt.  These finds are said to include important cultural relics from a burial temple from the ancient kingdom and new kingdom periods.

Famous Egyptian archaeologist, Zahi Hawas, says the excavation of the burial temple of queen nit, near the pyramid of Teti, the first pharaoh of the sixth dynasty of ancient Egypt, was one of the most important discoveries of this time.

Hawas said the pyramid of the queen was found in 2010, but her name was not known.  Now, he said her name, Nearit, was found on a tablet at the entrance of her funerary temple.

The team also unearthed 22 tombs around the funerary temple where they found 54 wooden coffins from the new kingdom dating back more than three thousand years.  Important cultural relics such as Papyrus texts, mummies, wood carvings, stone tablets, and clay pots have also been found.

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