1. Russia, Vatican establish diplomatic relations
Russia and the Vatican have established full diplomatic relations ending longstanding tensions, the Kremlin announced Thursday after President Dmitry Medvedev met Pope Benedict XVI.
...Since 1990, the two sides have maintained representation below the rank of ambassador.
Relations between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church have been tense for centuries, and were again strained in recent years by Orthodox accusations of Catholic proselytizing in post-Soviet Russia. The Russian Church has recently moved to soften its stance.
"Moscow's movements are strictly linked to the level of relations between the Vatican and the Orthodox Church", Vatican watcher Marco Tosatti told AFP.(AFP)
2. Lufthansa, Brussels, Swiss arrange easy flying to Africa
Lufthansa, Swiss and Brussels Airlines have merged forces to provide a seamless travel, otherwise known as a ‘free-from-disturbance’, product towards Africa. With 200 flights per week, the trio will, henceforth, have a joint total of 31 destinations to 25 countries.
...Brussels Airlines, flies to 15 Sub-Saharan destinations (14 countries) and code shares with Lufthansa, Ethiopian Airlines (Addis Ababa) and Royal Air Maroc (Casablanca), whilst Lufthansa and Swiss fly to 17 destination in 14 countries and 16 destinations in 7 countries, respectively.
This new strategy recognises Paris, France as a key point towards Africa. “France is one of the most interesting markets in the world. It is a strategic investment for us,” continues the Lufthansa official. The three companies transport a combined total of “200 000 passengers per year”, that is, 10 per cent of a grand total of 2 million passengers transported towards Africa from all over the world.
The France-Africa service route “is expected to grow at an annual rate of 10 per cent,” says Dr. Karsten Benz.read more @ afrik.com
3. Guinean junta leader shot in army mutiny
Guinea military leader Capt Moussa Dadis Camara has been shot in an act of mutiny that has left the West African nation and international community alert....
Meanwhile, Senegal, whose President Abdoulaye Wade urged the international community to recognise the military junta in December last year, has sent a medical plane to Conakry to transfer the wounded Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara to Dakar for treatment.
The Guinean information minister named the presidents’ shooter as aide-de-camp Aboubacar "Toumba" Diakite. He warned that those behind the attack would face punishment. According to official reports, Lt Diakite has been arrested.
...Capt Camara, who took power in a coup last year, ordered the army to open fire on crowds who protested his decision to run in the presidential elections planned for January 2010. His soldiers, according to Human rights Watch, took part in gang rapes and murders during the assault of the opposition crowds.read more @ afrik.com
4. tight security in Guinea capital after failed assassination attempt
Guinea's military ruler was today being flown to Morocco for medical treatment after he was shot and wounded in a failed assassination attempt by a top aide, according to a report.
Moussa Dadis Camara, the leader of a junta that seized power in the unstable but strategically important west African nation 11 months ago, was shot last night. While a spokesman for the regime said his injuries, which were not specified, were only light, it emerged later that a team of doctors from neighbouring Senegal had been providing treatment....The assassination attempt appears motivated by splits in the Guinea regime following the massacre of more than 150 pro-democracy demonstrators on 28 September. Toumba is accused of leading a detachment of presidential guards which opened fire on protesters demonstrating against Camara's decision to stay in power and delay elections he had promised after assuming power. Dozens of female protesters were raped, some of whom were abducted in military trucks and abused over several days in private villas. The EU and African Union imposed sanctions on Guinea in response, including a travel ban on top members of the junta.
A UN mission is visiting Conakry this week to investigate the killings. The junta leadership could face charges at the international criminal court. An unnamed diplomat said it was believed Toumba tried to kill the junta leader because Camara wants to blame his former aide for the massacre and thus escape responsibility himself.
"There is no doubt this is linked to the investigation [into the killings]," the diplomat told Reuters. "This was the only way out for [Camara]."
The former French colony is the world's largest exporter of bauxite, the ore used in aluminium production. However, decades of corruption and economic mismanagement under Conté have seen little of this wealth reach the 10 million-strong population, which exists on an average annual wage of about £270.
5. Malaysian artifact is UN treasure
KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA said on Wednesday that a stone artefact which dates Islam's arrival over a century earlier than previously thought has been put on a UN list of the world's most valuable documents.
The 'Memory of the World' list includes 193 items including the diaries of Holocaust victim Anne Frank, the Gutenberg Bible and the archives of the Dutch East India Company.
Information and Culture Minister Rais Yatim said the 'Inscribed Stone of Terengganu' was discovered over 100 years ago but fell into obscurity and its true significance was only recently discovered.
'This will cause a lot of interest and maybe even a revision of local history on the advent of Islam in this part of the world,' he told reporters. 'In 1292 or 1242 Islam had penetrated to the tip of Sumatra (Indonesia) but the inscriptions on the Terengganu stone date it to 1303, which is close to its arrival in Indonesia and will create much discussion among historians.'