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Liberians vote to pick Johnson Sirleaf’s successor

Liberians vote to pick Johnson Sirleaf’s successor

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Liberians have voted to elect a new president and legislators in an election that will see the country's first transfer of power from one democratically elected leader to another in more than 70 years. Provincial results were expected within 48 hours, but the electoral body has until October 25 to issue its final confirmation of the results and to announce a runoff if necessary for the presidency. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the continent's first female president, is leaving power after serving 12 years in office - the maximum allowed under the West African country's constitution. Polls closed at 6pm local time (18:00 GMT) on Tuesday. Twenty candidates, including the current vice president, former world footballer of the year and a model, are running for the country's top seat - with
Critical moment beckons for Catalan separatists

Critical moment beckons for Catalan separatists

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Spain's ongoing dispute with Catalonia could come to a climax with speculation that the region's president might make a unilateral declaration of independence as early as this evening.  Carles Puigdemont is due to address the regional parliament in Barcelona on Tuesday, drawing warnings from the Spanish central government that it will not allow the country to be split. The speech was originally scheduled for 16:00 GMT, but later delayed by about an hour, according to local media.  "Spain is not going to divide and national unity will be maintained. To do so, we will use all of the instruments that the legislation gives us. It falls to the government to take the decision and to do so at the right time," Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told Spanish newspaper, El Pais. Deputy Prime Minis
Bolivians honour Che Guevara 50 years after execution

Bolivians honour Che Guevara 50 years after execution

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A portrait of Che and a letter to his children is painting on a building Vallegrande [Lew Friedman/Al Jazeera] Vallegrande, Bolivia - In the remote corner of eastern Bolivia where Ernesto "Che" Guevara died, thousands gathered to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his death at the hands of the CIA-trained Bolivian military. All four of Che's children, along with Bolivian President Evo Morales and Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, and delegations from Venezuela and Cuba, came to pay their respects in the small town of Vallegrande on Monday.  "This is a historic moment, not just for me personally, but for all peoples who struggle for their liberation," Morales told the crowd. "To remember the 50th anniversary of Che's death is to remember the struggle for dignity and national sovereign
Bolivians honour Che Guevara 50 years after execution

Bolivians honour Che Guevara 50 years after execution

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A portrait of Che and a letter to his children is painting on a building Vallegrande [Lew Friedman/Al Jazeera] Vallegrande, Bolivia - In the remote corner of eastern Bolivia where Ernesto "Che" Guevara died, thousands gathered to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his death at the hands of the CIA-trained Bolivian military. All four of Che's children, along with Bolivian President Evo Morales and Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, and delegations from Venezuela and Cuba, came to pay their respects in the small town of Vallegrande on Monday.  "This is a historic moment, not just for me personally, but for all peoples who struggle for their liberation," Morales told the crowd. "To remember the 50th anniversary of Che's death is to remember the struggle for dignity and national sovereign
Who are Syria’s opposition alliances?

Who are Syria’s opposition alliances?

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Hay'et Tahrir al-Sham comprises some of the more powerful armed groups operating in Idlib province [Omar Haj Kadour/AFP/Getty Images] Syria's conflict landscape has changed dramatically since the Russian military intervened in 2015, with most major territory controlled by armed groups falling under the control of regime-aligned forces. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) has been severely depleted, while the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have assumed control of more territory, increasing the possibility of Kurdish autonomy. Meanwhile, the Astana process has imposed new realities on Syria's armed opposition, as the tripartite talks between Russia, Turkey and Iran produced an agreement on de-escalation zones. {articleGUID} Below is a brief pro...
Who are Syria’s opposition alliances?

Who are Syria’s opposition alliances?

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Hay'et Tahrir al-Sham comprises some of the more powerful armed groups operating in Idlib province [Omar Haj Kadour/AFP/Getty Images] Syria's conflict landscape has changed dramatically since the Russian military intervened in 2015, with most major territory controlled by armed groups falling under the control of regime-aligned forces. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) has been severely depleted, while the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have assumed control of more territory, increasing the possibility of Kurdish autonomy. Meanwhile, the Astana process has imposed new realities on Syria's armed opposition, as the tripartite talks between Russia, Turkey and Iran produced an agreement on de-escalation zones. {articleGUID} Below is a brief pro...
Wildfires sweep through California wine country

Wildfires sweep through California wine country

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More than a dozen wildfires stoked by powerful winds have swept through California wine country, destroying at least 1,500 homes and businesses and sending an estimated 20,000 people on a flight to safety. One person was killed in a fire further north, in Mendocino County, on Monday. The state's fire chief called the damage estimates for the fire in the wine country conservative and said the fires were burning throughout an eight-county expanse of Northern California, including Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties. Numerous people had been hurt and some were missing, although no estimates were immediately available, said Ken Pimlott, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection director. Later he said there were probably fatalities. Mandatory evacuations were ordered after the blazes br...
Madrid warns against Catalonia independence declaration

Madrid warns against Catalonia independence declaration

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Spain's government insists the country will not be divided as pressure grows on the Catalan regional government after a huge march in Barcelona against secession. Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, Spain's deputy prime minister, has issued a warning that the Madrid government will act on any Catalan declaration of secession. She has labelled Carles Puigdemont, the Catalan regional president, a fanatic and is supported by Spain's Socialist leader, Pedro Sanchez, who says his party will back the central government if it takes action. Against this backdrop, Catalonia's future looked uncertain on Monday, on the eve of a major parliamentary speech by Puigdemont, with little clarity as whether he would stick with plans to declare secession from Spain. WATCH; Talk to Al Jazeera: Catalan Regional Preside...
Taj Mahal dropped from tourism booklet of Uttar Pradesh

Taj Mahal dropped from tourism booklet of Uttar Pradesh

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The Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, attracting more than six million tourists a year. Although the monument attracts more tourists than any other site in India, it seems it is out of favour with the government of Uttar Pradesh (UP), where it is located. The iconic monument, a UNESCO world heritage site considered a "symbol of love", was not featured in the tourism booklet issued by the UP government last week. The 32-page booklet titled "Uttar Pradesh Tourism: Its High Potential", released by Rita Bahuguna Joshi, state tourism minister, mentions a number of Hindu and Buddhist religious places, but misses one of the world's most famous monuments. Sohail Hashmi, writer and a heritage expert, accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of playing politics over t...
Trump’s immigration proposals threaten ‘Dreamers’ deal

Trump’s immigration proposals threaten ‘Dreamers’ deal

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US President Donald Trump has presented a new hardline immigration proposal to Congress, which includes building a controversial border wall, speeding up deportations and dramatically increasing the number of officials involved in enforcement. The document calls for preventing immigrants from sponsoring their extended families in moving legally to the US and limiting such green cards to spouses and children. It also outlines the closing of "loopholes" that prevent the deportation of children who enter the country illegally. The White House has also addressed the issue of people who came to the US as children - known as Dreamers. The Trump administration has sought funding for border wall in exchange for a deal that Democrats have pushed to provide legal protection to some 690,000 "Dreamers
Two die, scores missing as Rohingya boat capsizes

Two die, scores missing as Rohingya boat capsizes

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At least two people have died and scores are missing, including many children, after a boat packed with Rohingya refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar capsized on its way to Bangladesh, according to officials. Coastguard and border guard officials on Sunday said the boat was overloaded with about 100 people when it sank in the mouth of the Naf river that divides the two South Asian neighbouring countries. READ MORE: 'I watched my son drown' - Rohingya boat survivor "It capsized near Galachar (coastal village in Bangladesh) with nearly 100 people. We recovered two dead bodies. Two people were rescued alive," Alauddin Nayan, area coastguard commander, told AFP news agency. Rohingya testimonies of Myanmar atrocities mount More than half a million Rohingya have emptied out of northern Rak...
North Korean leader promotes sister Kim Yo-jong

North Korean leader promotes sister Kim Yo-jong

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has promoted his younger sister to a senior post in the one-party state, according to state media. Kim Yo-jong became an alternate member of the party's powerful Politburo, the decision-making body presided over by her brother, the official KCNA news agency said on Sunday. READ MORE: Meet the Kims - Who\'s who in North Korea's first family The promotion was announced along with those for dozens of other top officials at a meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea on Saturday in the capital, Pyongyang. The Central Committee is one of the leadership committees of the party, consisting of the politburo - the highest executive organ - as well as the secretariat. Who is Kim Yo-jong? Kim Yo-jong, according to South Korean media, is 30 ...
Ghana: Grief and anger after deadly gas station blasts

Ghana: Grief and anger after deadly gas station blasts

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A huge tanker explosion near a gas station in Ghana's capital, Accra, that killed at least seven people and injured scores has sparked an outpouring of sadness and anger in the country. The blaze and blasts gutted a liquefied gas filling station and a nearby petrol station in the Atomic Junction area of the Legon suburb of Accra on Saturday night, sending a giant fireball into the sky and local residents fleeing. The head of the Ghana Standards Authority, Alex Dodoo, on Sunday said there had been eight gas explosions in four years, including in June 2015, when a similar fire and explosion at a petrol station in Accra killed more than 100 people. In December last year, a gas tanker caught fire in another residential area of Accra, creating a fireball that caused five deaths and damaged a ne...
US-backed SDF to launch offensive to retake Raqqa

US-backed SDF to launch offensive to retake Raqqa

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The final phase in a battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) armed group in the Syrian city of Raqqa will begin on Sunday night, a rebel spokesman has told Al Jazeera.  "We do not know how long it will take, but we don't think that it will be a long battle," Talal Silo, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, told Al Jazeera on Sunday. "What will take time is clearing the city from the booby traps and landmines placed by ISIL fighters," said Silo, estimating that some 400-500 ISIL (also known as ISIS) fighters remained in the city, formerly the de facto capital of the group for three years. He added that "about 90 percent of the city has already been liberated". Fighters from the SDF walk along a damag
Pyongyang: All options on the table for leadership

Pyongyang: All options on the table for leadership

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North Korea's foreign minister says President Donald Trump had declared war on his country and that Pyongyang reserves the right to take countermeasures, including shooting down US bombers even if they are not in its airspace. The increasingly heated rhetoric between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is raising fears of a risk of a miscalculation by one side or the other that could have massive repercussions. "The whole world should clearly remember it was the US who first declared war on our country," Ri Yong-ho said in New York City on Monday. "Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country." In ...
Milo Yiannopoulos’ security cost UC Berkeley $800,000

Milo Yiannopoulos’ security cost UC Berkeley $800,000

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After student organisers of the Berkeley "Free Speech Week" cancelled their events, far-right media personality Milo Yiannopoulos vowed to hold his own rally.  Violence breaks out at opposing rallies in Berkeley campus Yiannopoulos' appearance at the steps of the University of California's Sproul Plaza on Sunday was brief. After 15 minutes, Yiannopoulos' security guards drove him off, local media reported. The university said security precautions for the event, which involved officers from eight different law enforcement agencies, cost $800,000. Along with far-right author Mike Cernovich and anti-Muslim figure Pamela Geller, Yiannopoulos addressed around 150 supporters who had gathered to hear him speak.  "It feels like probably the most expensive photo op in the university's history
Iraqi Kurds vote in independence referendum

Iraqi Kurds vote in independence referendum

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People in Iraq's autonomous region of Kurdistan are voting in an independence referendum, amid rising tensions and international opposition. Polls opened at 05:00 GMT with balloting also taking place in the disputed areas between the northern city of Erbil and the capital Baghdad, as well as the oil-rich province of Kirkuk, which is ethnically mixed. The central government in Baghdad, which strongly opposes the referendum, sought control of the region's international border posts and airports on Sunday, in anticipation of Monday's vote. READ MORE: Tensions rise in Iraq ahead of Kurdish referendum Iraq's government has also called on foreign countries to stop importing oil from the Kurdish region and to deal with them instead. In a televised address on Sunday, Iraq's Prime Minister Haider a...
Can Ugandans overcome trauma of LRA’s violent crimes?

Can Ugandans overcome trauma of LRA’s violent crimes?

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Lukodi, Uganda - For more than two decades Acholiland in northern Uganda suffered at the hands of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA fighters, led by Joseph Kony, stand accused of killing 100,000 civilians, and forcing nearly two million people to flee their homes and seek refuge in overcrowded IDP camps. The most distressing characteristic of the conflict was the fact that the LRA filled 90 percent of its ranks through the systematic forced-conscription of children. The United Nations described the conflict as a war fought by children on children. Although Acholiland has been free from LRA attacks for 11 years, survivors still struggle to overcome the legacy of the conflict. There are no official reconciliation programmes in place to help the communities heal, and many have been le
Barzani to Kurds: Vote in referendum to secure future

Barzani to Kurds: Vote in referendum to secure future

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The president of the Kurdish Regional Government President has urged millions of Kurds to cast their ballot in an upcoming independence referendum, vowing to seek talks with Iraq's central government on how to implement the outcome of the vote.  In an address on Sunday, Masoud Barzani said he would be "ready to start the process of dialogue with Baghdad" after Monday's referendum, even as he made assurances to the international community that there is no effort to redraw regional borders. Shortly after Barzani's speech, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi made a separate address saying he will never accept the disintegration of Iraq. OPINION: A historical perspective of the Kurdish independence vote "This is an unconstitutional decision against the social fabric of our citizens. We will not rec
Untold stories of most vulnerable Rohingya refugees

Untold stories of most vulnerable Rohingya refugees

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Balukhali, Cox's Bazar - More than 430,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar district in the past four weeks, fleeing a military offensive inside Myanmar. Aid agencies say children, widows, the elderly and the disabled are the most vulnerable, requiring aid in the form of food, shelter and healthcare. Al Jazeera spoke to some of the refugees, who shared their stories. Nur Jahan, 85   Nur Jahan's husband Abu Bakar Siddique died eight years ago [Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera] I fled my home in Kuinnyapara village in Maungdaw. My son, Abdullah, was killed by the Myanmar army. He was 28. He took care of me. I fled for my life along with fellow villagers. I can barely walk, but somehow managed to reach Dhankhali Char to cross the Naf river into Bangladesh. READ MORE: Who are the