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World in Brief: 08/06/14

SOUTH AFRICA: Communists and trade unionists mourned the passing of Epainette Mbeki today.

Ms Mbeki died on Saturday morning at the St Dominic hospital in East London, in Eastern Cape province.

She was an activist for nearly 80 years and was only the second black woman to join the Communist Party and contributed to her husband Govan’s newspaper Inkundla ya Bantu.

After Govan was sentenced to life at the Rivonia Treason Trial, she continued to work in the struggle.

Trade union confederation Cosatu said it dipped its banners in honour of a revolutionary heroine who devoted the whole of her long life to the liberation of her people.

 

BRAZIL: The company that runs the Sao Paulo underground claimed yesterday that its five lines were running partially or normally as workers entered the third day of a strike for higher wages.

Union spokeswoman Maria Figaro said the lines were being run by bosses and newly-hired trainees.

“The strike wil likely continue until our demands are met,” Ms Figaro said.

The union has reduced its initial demand from 16 to 12.2 per cent but the company insists it can only afford a 8.7 per cent raise.

 

NORTHERN IRELAND: Sinn Fein deputy leader Martin McGuinness said yesterday that his party had nothing to hide about Britain granting effective amnesties to IRA fugitives — but won’t testify to a British parliamentary investigation into the controversy.

The probe follows revelations earlier this year that since 2001 the British government had provided 228 IRA veterans with documents promising they wouldn’t face arrest for unsolved bombings and shootings.

 

IRAQ: A double bombing at the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party office in Jalula this morning killed 19 people.

Police said a suicide bomber set off his explosive vest outside the office of the party headed by Iraqi president Jalal Talabani.

Minutes later, a car bomb exploded near the building as security forces arrived to inspect the scene of the first blast. Police said 19 people were killed and 65 wounded.

 

UKRAINE: The US offered new financial assistance to Moldova and Georgia this weekend.

US Vice-President Joe Biden announced the aid in Kiev during meetings with both nations’ presidents on the sidelines of the new Ukrainian president’s inauguration.

The White House says an additional $8 million (£4.75m) will help Moldova “advance its European aspirations.” The US is also sending $5m (£3m) to Georgia.

 

EGYPT: Former army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi was sworn in as president for a four-year term today.

Field Marshal Sissi took his oath live on television at the headquarters of the Supreme Constitutional Court in a suburb south of Cairo.

Yesterday had been declared a national holiday but tight security was in place across the capital, with hundreds of police and soldiers keeping watch.

 

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC of CONGO: At least 37 people, including 18 women and eight children, were killed in an attack in the eastern province of South Kivu early this morning.

The ethnic Bafuliru victims were shot, stabbed or burned alive.

Governor Marcellin Cishambo blamed the violence on a cattle dispute.

“The problem is that everyone in this area carries a weapon,” he said.

 

COLOMBIA: Farc rebels declared a ceasefire yesterday for three weeks, covering a presidential election race on June 15, campaigning for which has centred on how to end five decades of war.

The ceasefire was announced in a scathing open letter to opposition candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, in which Farc accused him of making inflammatory statements and trying to foment more war.

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