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ECOWAS, Mali To Meet After Opposition Rejection Of Transition Charter

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The opposition coalition which led mass protests in Mali ahead of last month’s coup has rejected a transition charter to establish an 18-month interim government until an election could take place.

The military leaders, opposition and civil society groups held three days of talks over the weekend towards a move to civilian-led transitional government. The M5-RFP group said the document released by the junta after the meeting was an attempt by military leaders to “grab and confiscate power.”

A meeting has been planned for today, Tuesday in Accra between ECOWAS and Mali.

Regional powers have pushed for a swift transition back to civilian rule, as they worry that political instability could undermine a years-long fight against armed groups across west Africa.

ECOWAS has warned the military government must give power to a civilian leader to head a one-year transition period by today or the country could face further sanctions.

The M5-RFP coalition in Mali says it has rejected a political charter pushed through by the ruling junta.

M5-RFP said the final version of the charter did not reflect the results of negotiations, which it said included a majority choice of a civilian interim president.

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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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