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Russian billionaires vs British writer: court battle begins over Putin book

England’s High Court will begin hearing arguments on Wednesday from lawyers for four Russian billionaires including Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich and state-owned oil firm Rosneft about a book on President Vladimir Putin which they say defames them. In the 2020 book, British journalist Catherine Belton chronicles Putin’s rise to power and how many of his associates from the former Soviet spy services rose to positions of wealth and influence after he won the top Kremlin job in 1999. Lawyers for the businessmen will tell the court that passages in…

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Nigerian missions abroad to deliver passports by mail

The Nigerian missions will soon commence delivering passports to its nationals through courier to eliminate the stress Nigerians go through to visit the missions to keep interview appointments, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said. The Permanent Secretary, Amb. Gabriel Aduda, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York that the ministry was already discussing with some courier companies to pilot the scheme. “We have started with a new innovation and we are trying to keep Nigerians from traveling to missions for passport renewal. “We are already talking…

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Mozambican soldiers arrested during COVID-19 curfew

Mozambican authorities have arrested at least 24 people for violating a Covid night curfew over the weekend in the conflict-hit Cabo Delgado province. Most of the people arrested were soldiers, some in their uniform, who had been out drinking. They were disarmed and detained in the provincial capital Pemba. Provincial police chief Silvestre Zacarias said officers were obliged to use force and detain citizens defying the regulations. He added that soldiers should set an example in observing health regulations because they had been ordered by the president as the commander-in-chief.…

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Suspect in knife attack on Mali leader dies in custody

A man accused of trying to stab Mali’s interim president, Assimi Goïta, last week has died in hospital while under guard, the government says. The assailant, who has not been identified, was arrested after the failed stabbing, which took place while Mr Goïta was attending prayers in a mosque. A government statement said the man’s health had deteriorated in custody and he was taken to hospital, where he died. There are no particular details about his health prior to the incident. The cause of death is said to be under…

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Tunisia’s PM sacked after violent COVID-19 protests

Tunisia’s president has sacked the prime minister and suspended parliament, after violent mass protests nationwide on Sunday. Anger over the government’s handling of a massive recent spike in Covid cases has added to general unrest over the nation’s economic and social turmoil. President Kais Saied, who was elected in 2019, announced he was taking over. His supporters erupted in celebration, but opponents in parliament immediately accused him of staging a coup. Tunisia’s revolution in 2011 is often held up as the sole success of the Arab Spring revolts across the…

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Strong earthquake hits Philippine capital, nearby provinces

A 6.6-magnitude earthquake jolted the Philippine capital and nearby provinces early on Saturday, forcing people out of their beds and into streets amid heavy monsoon rains. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said no casualties were immediately reported from the quake, which caused minor damages to infrastructure and houses in the affected areas. The tremor’s epicentre was off Calatagan town in Batangas province, 93 kilometres south of Manila, the country’s national disaster agency said. Dozens of aftershocks were recorded since then, including one with a magnitude of 5.5 that…

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Libyan authorities to probe clashes in Tripoli

Libya’s Interior Ministry said it would start to investigate the armed clashes between two of its security forces that broke out in the capital city a day earlier. The ministry has been closely following Thursday’s events “which led to heavy shootings” in central Tripoli between patrols of the Stabilisation Support Department and the Deterrence Department of Combating Terrorism and Organized Crime, it said in a statement. Interior Minister Bashir Al-Amin instructed “competent authorities to follow up on the reports and start investigation on these events, stressing that all parties should…

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COVID-19 infections continue to rise across Britain

The number of people with COVID-19 continued to rise across the United Kingdom, with about one in 75 people in England infected, new figures have shown. Data from the office for National Statistics showed that nearly three-quarters of a million people in private households in England were likely to have had COVID-19 since the week to July 17. The estimate of the number testing positive 741,700 was the equivalent of about one in 75 people, up from one in 95 in the previous week, and the highest number since the…

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Nelson Mandela: Synonymous with the fight for justice – UN deputy chief

United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Nigeria’s Amina Mohammed, has hailed Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black President, describing him as exemplifying “courage, compassion and an unwavering commitment to social justice and equality”. Mohammed told the UN General Assembly on Wednesday in New York at a special session held to celebrate Mandela, the man who led the struggle that ended the racist apartheid system in South Africa. Celebrating Mandela International Day – officially commemorated on July 18 – the UN deputy chief said that he embodied the highest aspirations of the United Nations…

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Tunisia Sacks Health Minister As COVID-19 Cases Surge

Tunisia’s Health Minister Faouzi Mehdi has been sacked as the country struggles to cope with surging numbers of coronavirus cases. The disease has put the medical system under severe pressure, and there have been oxygen shortages at hospitals in several provinces. Earlier this month a health ministry spokesman described the situation as “catastrophic”. A health ministry adviser and head of the Palais des Congrès vaccination centre in Tunis, Rafla Tej Dellagi, said the system was reaching breaking point. “I don’t think we’ve reached the peak and the care system is…

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