Today 18 December
By Angus McDowall , Praveen Menon and Aaron Maasho RIYADH/DUBAI/ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - More than a million people from across the world - managers, maids, accountants and laborers - have left Saudi Arabia since March, after years or even decades working in the Gulf Arab state, which sustains its own citizens with oil revenues. "We were kicked out of our homes and our jobs," said Mohamed Ahmed, 27, waiting with thousands of other Ethiopians at a transit centre behind Addis Ababa's Bole Airport after disembarking with a few bags from Saudi Arabian Airlines jets. Like many others, Ahmed, who spent five years in Saudi Arabia after crossing the Red Sea in a fishing boat and trekking through turbulent Yemen, had to leave at short notice. Saudi Arabia avoided significant unrest during the Arab Spring pro-democracy protest wave in 2011, but its leaders were uncomfortably aware that entrenched unemployment was a big factor behind rebellions in other Arab states.
By Andrew Green and Louis Charbonneau JUBA/UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations received reports from local sources in South Sudan on Tuesday that between 400 and 500 people had been killed and up to 800 wounded in the latest violence, and the government said it had arrested 10 politicians in connection with a "foiled coup". "Two hospitals have recorded between 400 and 500 dead and (up to) 800 wounded," a diplomat in New York said on condition of anonymity, citing an estimate United Nations peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous gave during a closed-door briefing for the 15-member body. The Juba government said it had arrested 10 major political figures and was hunting for its former vice president, accusing him of leading a failed coup in the oil-producing country's capital, where gunfire rang out for a second day. The United States urged its citizens to leave the country immediately, and said it was suspending normal operations at its embassy.
Bangui (Central African Republic) (AFP) - France has said other European nations would send troops to the Central African Republic to prop up a military force on the ground attempting to disarm warring militias. The explosion of sectarian violence, after months of crisis sparked by a March coup, has forced 210,000 people from their homes in the capital Bangui alone, according to the UN. "We will soon have troops on the ground provided by our European colleagues," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in Paris on Tuesday, without naming the countries. It is as yet unclear whether other countries will also be assisting France on the ground.
KHASAB, Oman (AP) — Charcoal from Somalia is prized in Gulf nations: Made from acacia trees, it's slow burning and gives a sweet aroma to the region's beloved grilled meats and to tobacco burned in waterpipes. It is also banned by the United Nations, because its shipments rake in millions of dollars a year for al-Qaida-linked militants.
Nearly 200 African asylum seekers who entered Israel illegally demonstrated Tuesday in Jerusalem against being housed at a new open facility they walked out of two days earlier. The men had left the Holot facility in southern Israel on Sunday night and made their way to the city on foot and by bus. "Many people are suffering from the racism of the right(-wing) government of Israel," Walidin Sleiman, from Sudan, told AFP. Sleiman added that if Israel did not want to give them rights then they should be allowed to go somewhere else.