January 03, 2013
An official says two Nigerian journalists have been freed after being detained without charges for more than a week by the nation’s secret police following writing stories about a radical Islamist sect and alleged military abuses.
Mohammed Garba, president of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, said Tuesday that Musa Mohammed Awwal and Aliyu Saleh, journalists with the weekly Hausa language newspaper, Al-Mizan, were freed around noon. Garba said the two men had not been abused or mistreated while in custody. He said the two men may have to return for questioning again by Nigeria’s secretive State Security Service.
The two journalists were arrested Dec. 24 at their homes in Kaduna. Their newspaper has published a series of stories about alleged military abuses and the sect known as Boko Haram.
January 03, 2013
The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office has charged a 24-year-old man with attempted murder for allegedly setting a homeless woman on fire as she slept on a suburban bus bench.
Deputy District Attorney Sean Carney says Dennis Petillo is scheduled to be arraigned January 7. Prosecutors will ask that his bail be set at $1.03 million.
In addition to attempted murder, he is charged with aggravated mayhem.
Carney alleges that Petillo threw a flammable liquid on the 67-year-old woman, who had slept on the bench for years, then set her on fire last Thursday.
The victim remains hospitalized in critical but stable condition.
If convicted, Petillo faces a maximum of life in state prison if convicted. It’s not known if he has retained an attorney.
January 03, 2013
By KRISTA LARSON Associated Press
Kpademona Marcel and other residents of the capital of Central African Republic have watched in fear as rebels from the country’s north seized control of more than half the country in less than a month. On Tuesday, all he could do was pray that a solution to the crisis could be found without the violence reaching Bangui.
“We are afraid for our nation and for our fellow citizens in the countryside,” Marcel said, standing on the steps of the Notre Dame cathedral before a New Year’s Day Mass. “The rebels are imposing themselves on the population and stealing things. We are here praying for peace.”
As a new year began, the fate of the capital with 700,000 people, remained unclear. Government forces backed by a regional multinational force held a line in Damara, just 75 kilometers (45 miles) from Bangui. The rebels hold the city of Sibut, about 185 kilometers (115 miles) from Bangui.
While President Francois Bozize, after nearly a decade in power, has proposed a coalition government to include the rebels, a spokesman for the alliance of rebel groups advancing through the country said Monday they did not trust his offer. Former colonial power France already has said it will not protect Bozize’s regime and has about 600 troops in the country just to protect its own interests.
Trucks full of soldiers bounced on the rutted roads of Bangui that are dotted with shacks where people can charge their mobile phones. Police officers stopped vehicles at intersections in another sign of stepped up security in this capital at the heart of Africa where even the banana and palm tree leaves are coated in heavy red dust from the earth.
Troops from neighboring nations arrived in the country, with a contingent from Gabon expected Tuesday. Their arrival comes a day after about 120 soldiers flew in from Republic of Congo with a mission to help stabilize the area between rebels and the government forces.
The political instability already has prompted the United States government to evacuate its ambassador and about 40 other people. There have been no mass civilian evacuations from the capital, though many residents have temporarily relocated to the southern side of Bangui, considered further from the path of a potential rebel invasion arriving from the north.
One woman in Bangui said she knew many people who already had fled the city but said she had too many family members to leave herself.
“I have five children and two grandchildren. I prefer to stay here and die with my children if it comes to that,” she said, giving her name only as Lucienne.
In the Bimbo neighborhood, traders went about their business, selling everything from leafy greens to meat at roadside stands.
“We don’t support what the rebels are doing,” said banana farmer Narcisse Ngo, as a young boy played nearby with a monkey corpse for sale along with other meat. “They should be at the table negotiating without weapons. We are all Central Africans.”
The landlocked nation of 4.4 million people is rich in diamonds, gold and uranium and yet remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Central African Republic has suffered many army revolts, coups and rebellions since gaining independence from France in 1960.
The rebels behind the current instability signed a 2007 peace accord allowing them to join the regular army, but insurgent leaders say the deal wasn’t fully implemented and has made a variety of demands including payments to former combatants.
January 03, 2013
South Africa’s presidency says former leader Nelson Mandela is progressing with his recuperation from illness and doctors are closely monitoring his condition.
Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said Wednesday that “everything is moving OK” as 94-year-old Mandela rests at his home in Johannesburg after a hospital stay last month.
The former president received treatment for a lung infection and also had gallstones removed.
Maharaj says Mandela is “taking it easy” and is under “close medical attention.”
Mandela spent 27 years in prison under apartheid and became South Africa’s first black president in democratic elections in 1994.
January 03, 2013
Terry Glover, the managing editor of Ebony magazine, died of colon cancer at her Chicago home. She was 57.
Ebony announced on its website that Glover died on Monday December 31. Her husband, Kendall Glover, tells the Chicago Tribune that his wife had been fighting cancer for about two years.
Terry Glover joined Ebony in 2006 and was appointed managing editor in 2009 after serving as a senior editor for the website for three years.
Editor-in-Chief Amy DuBois Barnett says Glover was “the heart and soul” of the magazine's team and will be missed.
Ebony is published by Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Co.
Johnson Publishing Chairwoman Linda Johnson Rice says Glover was passionate about her work and made innumerable contributions to Ebony.