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UK HOUSE OF LORDS DEFY GOVERNMENT'S BREXIT BILL

British ministers are expected to try to overturn an embarrassing defeat in the House of Lords on the government’s Brexit Bill when the legislation returns to the House of Commons. Peers in the upper chamber defied Prime Minister Theresa May in favour of an opposition amendment, guaranteeing the rights of EU nationals living in the UK after Brexit. The government said the defeat was “disappointing” but made clear they are determined to reverse it in the lower chamber. The Shadow spokeswoman on B…

US ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF SESSIONS FACING CALLS TO QUIT OVER RUSSIAN CONTACT ALLEGATIONS

President Donald Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions is facing calls to quit after it emerged he spoke with Russia’s ambassador during last year’s US electoral campaign. Sessions reportedly met Moscow’s top diplomat to America, Sergey Kislyev, twice. During his January confirmation hearing the former Alabama senator did not disclose the contact, despite being quizzed about it. Democrats including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have accused Sessions of “lying under oath” and called for him…

UK construction may weaken as Brexit inflation bites

London - Britain’s construction industry showed signs of weakness last month, with a gauge of demand dropping for a second month. Some respondents to IHS Markit’s monthly survey said that rising input costs had an “adverse impact” on decision-making and led to delays in contracts. The “intense” inflation was largely due to imports, reflecting the impact of the pound’s decline since the Brexit vote in June. Markit said its overall index of construction activity rose to 52.5 from 52.2 in January,…

EU court says Western Sahara can't apply to EU-Morocco deal

Brussels - The European Union's high court says that EU agreements on closer ties and trade with Morocco should not apply to the disputed Western Sahara region. The EU's Court of Justice said on Wednesday that any EU deal with Morocco should have specifically referred to the region and that the people there should have consented to being part of such an agreement. The territory's status is among the most sensitive topics in the North African kingdom. Morocco considers the vast mineral-rich Weste…

Only Allah can deny me victory, says defiant Jammeh

Dakar - Gambia's longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh says only Allah can deny him victory, vowing to defend himself no matter the cost against growing international pressure for him to accept his election defeat. Jammeh initially conceded the loss following the December 1 election, only to make a dramatic about-face a week later, citing alleged voting irregularities. He now insists he will not hand over to President-elect Adama Barrow in January, and his party has appealed the election results in court.…

Yaya keen to help City eclipse United

United Kingdom - Midfielder Yaya Toure is determined to realise his dream of helping Manchester City eclipse arch rivals Manchester United. The side have a long way to go to overhaul England's most successful club but backed by the wealthy City Football Group, Toure felt huge strides had been made since he joined from Barcelona in 2010. "I have already won two Premier League titles and I want more than that, another new story," Toure told British media. "What we are seeing is the Premier League…

Oil extends gains as industry report shows stockpile drop

Hong Kong - Oil extended its advance as industry data showed US crude stockpiles declined last week, trimming an inventory overhang. February futures rose as much as 0.9% in New York after climbing 0.5% on Tuesday. Crude inventories dropped by 4.15 million barrels, the American Petroleum Institute was said to report. That compares with a forecast 2.5 million-barrel decrease expected in Wednesday’s Energy Information Administration report. Libya reopened two of its biggest oil fields and is set t…

More than 800 immigrants mistakenly granted citizenship

Washington — The US government has mistakenly granted citizenship to at least 858 immigrants from countries of concern to national security or with high rates of immigration fraud who had pending deportation orders, according to an internal Homeland Security audit released on Monday. The Homeland Security Department's inspector general found that the immigrants used different names or birthdates to apply for citizenship with US Citizenship and Immigration Services and such discrepancies weren't…

Oil rebels attack crude pipeline in Nigeria

Warri - A militant group on Monday claimed an attack on a crude oil pipeline in Delta state, southern Nigeria, in the second attack on the same line in less than a week. In an emailed statement, Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (NDGJM) spokesperson Aldo Agbalaja said "Opudo strike force, at about 23:30 on Sunday, September 18, 2016, struck the Afiesere-Ekiugbo delivery line in Ughelli, operated by NPDC/Shoreline." The rebel group hit the same pipeline last Tuesday and vowed to "ground" the…

Over 50 dead in clashes in DRC capital - opposition

Kinshasa - More than 50 people were killed on Monday in clashes between protesters and security forces in the Congolese capital Kinshasa, opposition groups said, calling for further anti-government demonstrations. The government earlier said that at least 17 had died in the violence in Kinshasa ahead of a planned opposition rally, but had warned that the death toll could rise. "The coalition (of opposition groups) deplores the number of victims, more than 50 dead at this point, victims of the fi…

Boko Haram beheads village chief in northeast Nigeria attack

Bauchi - A self-defence group says Boko Haram insurgents have attacked a village in northeast Nigeria and beheaded the local chief and his son. Abbas Gavi of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria said the Islamic extremists came to the village of Tallari before dawn Monday. He says they slit the throat of village chief Ba' Lawan and his son, then set their home and others on fire. Then they opened fire on fleeing villagers, killing two people and injuring others. Tallari is near Chibok, the town from w…

SANParks issues safety alert after Kruger elephant tramples local to death

Cape Town - Kruger National Park (KNP) rangers have confirmed that a missing local resident from the Punda Maria Gate has been trampled by an elephant. SANParks issued a statement confirming that the lifeless body, of a local resident from Mabilingwe, a village south of Punda Maria Gate was found on Saturday, 13 August 2016 at around 13:30.The body was discovered after angers on patrol saw a man walking along the park’s boundary and upon being questioned; the man indicated he was looking for an…

Kenyan elephant tramples Italian tourist to death

Nairobi - A police official says an elephant killed an Italian tourist in Kenya's coastal region after he moved closer to get a better photo. Malindi Police Chief Muchangi Mutava said the 66-year-old man saw the elephant at a watering hole near the Sabaki River on Sunday, 18 September, at the Swara Camp in Kulalu ranch and went to take photographs. He provoked the elephant which charged toward him. Kulalu Ranch is a tourist draw because it has a wide range of wildlife. Mutava says the tourist su…

I Coast suspect in disappearance of western journalist dies

Abidjan - The brother-in-law of Ivory Coast's former first lady Simone Gbagbo who was a leading suspect in the disappearance of a French-Canadian journalist died on Sunday, a source close to the country's former president told AFP. Michel Legre was arrested in May 2004 over the kidnapping and killing of Guy-Andre Kieffer, a specialist in the cocoa industry who was writing about corruption and was last seen in a car park in Abidjan in April 2004 along with Legre. He was subsequently released with…

Libyan loyalist bid to retake oil ports fails

Benghazi - A counter-attack by fighters loyal to Libya's UN-backed unity government aimed at retaking key eastern oil ports was repelled on Sunday by forces from a rival administration. The operation came as three members of forces loyal to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord were killed further west in a resumed offensive against Islamic State group holdouts in Sirte. The GNA is the centrepiece of UN efforts to restore stability in Libya and forge a central authority capable of tack…