Presidential race goes to run-off
CYPRUS: The country will face a run-off presidential election after right-wing candidate Nicos Anastasiades failed to win a decisive majority.
He will face communist-backed Stavros Malas in a second-round vote on February 24 after neither won a clear victory in the first round last Sunday.
Both leading candidates must court voters who backed third-placed candidate George Lillikas, an independent deeply suspicious of terms for the bailout backed by Mr Anastasiades - which he says may keep Cyprus in perpetual bondage to foreign lenders.
NIGERIA: Shadowy Islamic extremist group Ansaru claimed responsibility today for the kidnapping of seven foreign workers.
The group claimed the seizing of one British citizen, one Greek, one Italian, three Lebanese and one Filipino on Saturday.
Ansaru also threatened that Nigerian and European authorities shouldn't "act contrary to our conditions."
The short statement offered no conditions, suggesting that ransom demands would follow.
SOUTH AFRICA: Academic and Black Consciousness Movement co-founder Mamphela Ramphele announced the creation of a new political party today, urging citizens to "join me in building the South Africa of our dreams."
The 65-year-old doctor, social anthropologist and former World Bank managing director accuses the governing ANC of undermining democracy, abusing power and corruption.
INDONESIA: Rescuers found five more bodies in the mud today after flooding and landslides in the north, bringing the death toll to 15 after a disaster that sent thousands fleeing.
Seven hamlets were devastated by landslides and floods in Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi province, and more than 1,000 houses were flooded.
JAMAICA: The private sector blasted the government today for the "surprise announcement" of 16.4 billion Jamaican dollars (£115 million) in extra taxes.
New taxes announced last week by Finance Minister Peter Phillips include rises in stamp duty, dividend and education taxes.
The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica complained that such a "massive package would be pushed on to the Jamaican people" without consultation.
Jamaica has been compelled to raise taxes as part of the terms demanded for a bailout from the IMF.
SRI LANKA: The navy has rescued 32 Myanmar nationals whose wooden vessel began sinking while making a perilous journey to Australia, it said today.
The rescue was made about 250 miles off the island's coast on Saturday.
The group comprised 31 adult men and a boy who had been at sea without food for 21 days.
There were 130 passengers at the beginning of the journey but 98 died on the way and their bodies were dumped to sea.
PALESTINE: Supporters held demonstrations across the West Bank today in a show of solidarity with prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails.
In Bethlehem, Israeli troops dispersed dozens of activists who blocked a road.
And in Ramallah, about 50 activists demonstrated at a UN office.
The hunger strikers are demanding to be released, claiming their detention is unjust and illegal.
Israel is holding around 4,500 Palestinians in prison.
NEW ZEALAND: The government announced today that it will keep a small team of military personnel in Afghanistan after it formally withdraws in April.
The group of 27 will be based in Kabul undertaking planning and intelligence duties. Included are three elite special-forces soldiers.
New Zealand said last year that it would withdraw in April 2013.
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