ANGOLAN TV PRODUCERS APOLOGISES OVER GAYS KISSING
The producers of popular television soap in Angola have apologised after an episode which showed a gay couple kissing caused outrage among viewers. State television said it had suspended broadcasts of Jikulumessu for “technical reasons”. Many viewers felt the programme went too far by showing two men kissing, although homosexuality is not illegal in Angola, correspondents say. The programme was produced by a firm owned by the president’s son. Jose Eduardo Paulino dos Santos, a leading artist better known by his stage name Coreon Du, has been accused of promoting homosexuality in Angola, where many people hold conservative religious and social values. His firm, Semba Productions, said it was reviewing the programme and it apologised for any offense caused. Jikulumessu tackled socially sensitive issues, including polygamy, homosexuality and prostitution, with the aim of promoting dialogue and tolerance, it said in a statement. The programme was shown daily on prime-time television until broadcasts were suspended. It was the second Angolan soap to feature prominent gay and lesbian characters but this was the first time a homosexual kiss had been aired.
DARFUR CRISIS: RUSSIAN PILOTS KIDNAPPED IN SUDAN
Recently, two Russians working for UTair airline have been kidnapped in Sudan’s Darfur region, reports have said. UTair has a contract to fly aircraft for the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur (Unamid) which has been in Darfur since 2007. It said two of its employees had been taken in the town of Zalingei recently in 2015. Darfur has been the scene of a deadly conflict between the government and three rebel movements since 2003. The Russian embassy in Khartoum confirmed the men had been captured. “A Unamid minibus was blocked by six cars. The passengers were forced to get off the minibus at gunpoint and led off in an unknown direction,” UTair said in a statement, adding that the hostage-takers had not yet made any demands. “Unidentified militants kidnapped two Russian pilots in Zalingei, capital city of Central Darfur state, as they were on board a bus in the city,” Unamid spokesman Ashraf Eissa told The Anadolu Agency. A UTair helicopter with the UN mission in neighbouring South Sudan was shot down last year and three of its crew were killed. Source: BBC News Africa.
DEADLY PIRATE RAID ON GREEK SHIP IN NIGERIA
Gunmen have boarded a Greek-owned tanker anchored near a Nigerian port, killing one crew member and taking three others hostage, officials say. The Kalamos was attacked while it was waiting to load at Qua Iboe, an oil terminal in south-eastern Nigeria. The pirates killed a Greek deputy captain of the ship, and took two Greeks and a Pakistani citizen hostage, according to the Greek government. The Gulf of Guinea in West Africa is regarded as a new centre of piracy. The International Maritime Bureau recorded 33 incidents of piracy and armed robbery in the area between January and September last year, according to the AFP news agency. Greece’s deputy shipping minister, Thodoris Dritsas, said the “foreign and shipping ministries have taken the necessary actions for the rescue of the hostages”, in a statement quoted by the Reuters news agency. The remaining 19 crew members are believed to be safe. The Maltese-flagged Kalamos had travelled from China without any cargo.
BRAZILIAN GIRL, 6, ‘EATEN’ BY PIRANHAS AND FOUND DEAD
A six-year-old girl has been found dead in Brazil after being surrounded and devoured by a large shoal of piranhas. Family members said she was with her grandmother and four other children in a canoe, which capsized in a storm. Her grandmother managed to bring the other children back into the boat, but was not able to reach the victim, named by local media outlets as Adrila Muniz. A group of townspeople in the northern state of Para helped to search for the girl, but found her unresponsive. The incident happened in the Maicuru River near the town of Monte Alegre on the afternoon of that said day. Family members told some local media that the girl may have drowned shortly after falling into the river, and could have been dead prior to being set upon by the piranhas. Her body was taken to the morgue at a hospital in Monte Alegre, and graphic post-mortem photographs show that virtually all the flesh was stripped from her legs. Piranhas are freshwater fish with razor-sharp teeth, and travel in large shoals for protection from predators. While attacks on humans are extremely rare, they can be deadly. Another six-year-old child, Eduardo dos Santos de Sousa, died in 2012 after piranhas devoured the flesh on his forearm near the town of Curua, also in the state of Para.
MOTHER CHARGED WITH MURDER OF HER BABY
The mother of 10-month-old Chloe Sutherland has appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court charged with her murder. Erin Sutherland, 35, made no plea or declaration and was remanded in custody. Chloe Sutherland was taken from a house in Parkhead View in the Longstone area of Edinburgh to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children. She died just before midnight the same day.
POLICE RELEASE KYLE VAUGHAN&RSQUO;S MURDER SUSPECTS
Two men arrested on suspicion of murder following the disappearance of Kyle Vaughan two years ago have been released. Gwent Police said the 27-year-old and 25-year-old, from Blackwood, who were arrested in January 2013, face no further action. Mr Vaughan, 24, from Newbridge, Caerphilly County, vanished on 30 December 2012. Police have searched extensively for him, without success. But a spokesman said the case remained open. “Any new information that comes to light will be investigated,” he added.
EGYPT COURT: ACTIVIST AHMED DOUMA AMONG 230 SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON
A court in Egypt has sentenced prominent liberal activist Ahmed Douma to life in prison along with 229 other defendants. Douma played a key role in the 2011 uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak. The activist was convicted of rioting, inciting violence and attacking security forces. He was also fined $2.2m (£1.4) for setting fire to a science academy housing rare manuscripts. Douma reacted to his sentence with an ironic round of applause, the BBC’s Orla Guerin reports. In response the judge said: “Are you in Tahrir Square? Don’t talk too much or I’ll give you three more years.” A life sentence in Egypt is 25 years. The ruling brought the heaviest sentence yet against the secular activists who led the mass protests four years ago. Douma was a leading figure in the revolution that forced former President Hosni Mubarak to step down. He was a symbol of the revolution and has become a symbol of the repression that followed it. The verdicts against Douma and the other defendants can all be appealed against. They were handed down by Judge Mohammed Nagy Shehata, the same judge who jailed the Al Jazeera journalists and sentenced 183 suspected Islamists to death recently. Along with fellow activists Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel, Douma is already serving a three-year prison sentence for staging protests without a permit, a violation of Egypt’s stringent new public order law. In January an Egyptian court overturned the convictions for embezzlement of former President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons and ordered a retrial. It was the last remaining case keeping Mr Mubarak behind bars. The 86-year-old has been in detention since April 2011.