BY Wire reports
Saturday, November 24, 2012
11/24/12 at 3:28 AM
Sake, Congo : Arms sales to rebels lead to general's suspension
Congo's president has suspended the army's chief of staff, following the publication of a U.N. report which reveals that Gen. Gabriel Amisi oversaw a criminal network selling arms to rebels in the country's troubled east.
The firing of the general indicates that Congo is finally getting tough on its notoriously dysfunctional and internally divided army. It comes as an 8-month-old rebel group, made up of soldiers who defected from the army, pushed beyond Goma, the bustling regional capital of eastern Congo, which fell to the fighters this week.
On Friday, M23 rebels patrolled the town of Sake, the next town on the road south from Goma. They manned checkpoints, drank vodka in local bars and let the corpses of Congolese soldiers rot in the streets.
Tens of thousands of civilians could be seen fleeing along a 6-mile stretch of the road to Goma, carrying mattresses and cooking pots on their heads, as well as live chickens, goats, and babies bundled on their backs. The town of Sake was nearly deserted.
London : Elvis watch, Madonna corset to be auctioned
A watch that was one of Elvis Presley's last Christmas presents and a corset worn by Madonna on her 1990 "Blond Ambition" tour will be featured at a London auction Thursday.
The watch, estimated to sell for $9,500 or more, is a diamond-set Rolex given to Presley by his longtime manager, Tom Parker. It is engraved, "Elvis merry Christmas your pal Col. Tom Parker." It was the last Christmas for Presley, who died the following year.
Madonna's corset by Jean-Paul Gaultier is of green silk with conical cups and beaded fringe, embroidered with candy stripes of opalescent sequins and peppermint bugle beads.
Christie's estimates that the corset will sell for at least $15,000.
United Nations : U.N. panel blasts Russia over torture allegations
The U.N. Committee Against Torture is strongly criticizing Russia for failing to investigate widespread allegations of torture and increasing intimidation and reprisals against human rights advocates and journalists.
In a report Friday, the panel of 10 independent experts called on the Russian government to take "immediate and effective measures to prevent all acts of torture and ill-treatment throughout the country and to eliminate impunity of those allegedly responsible."
The committee assesses compliance with a 1987 international treaty against torture and other degrading punishments. It expressed deep concern at numerous allegations that detainees have been tortured to extract confessions which were then used as evidence in court.
Freetown, Sierra Leone : Sierra Leone's president easily wins re-election
Sierra Leone's incumbent president handily won re-election and was sworn in by the country's chief justice as the capital of the war-scarred country erupted in drumming and celebration.
Ernest Bai Koroma won 58.7 percent of the vote. His closest rival, opposition leader and retired Brig. Gen. Julius Maada Bio, came in second with 37.4 percent, according to results announced Friday by National Electoral Commission Chairwoman Christiana Thorpe.
Eight challengers attempted to unseat Koroma in the Nov. 17 election, the third presidential poll since the end of Sierra Leone's horrific civil war in 2002.
El Paso, Texas : Trucker returns to U.S. after Mexico prison stay
A Dallas trucker imprisoned for seven months in Mexico on accusations that he had tried to smuggle in assault rifle ammunition broke down in tears Friday as he returned to the United States, saying he had at times given up hope.
Jabin Bogan said he was on his way to Phoenix to deliver the ammunition in April when he took a wrong highway exit and accidentally crossed the border into Mexico. The 27-year-old was arrested and taken to a Mexican maximum security prison.
"Some days I gave up hope. Some days I felt like God was, to be honest in my heart, like God was laughing. Like he was just punishing me for no reason. I felt like just giving up," he said during a brief news conference in El Paso, just minutes after arriving back in the U.S.
Congolese flee the eastern Congolese town of Sake on Friday. Thousands fled the M23-controlled town as platoons of rebels made their way across the hills from Sake to the next major town of Minova. JEROME DELAY/Associated Press