Today 18 December
By Gulsen Solaker and Humeyra Pamuk ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said on Wednesday an anti-corruption crackdown months before elections was part of a plan to tarnish the government, highlighting an apparent power struggle shaking the ruling elite. Scores of people, including three ministers' sons, prominent businessmen close to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and local government officials, were detained on Tuesday in the biggest corruption investigation since Erdogan swept to power in 2002. "Our opinion at the moment is that this is a planned operation, which has transformed into a psychological war, to tarnish our government," Arinc told a news conference, saying that a total of 52 people had been detained. He did not say who might be behind such an effort, but said his comments were not aimed at the movement of powerful U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whose followers are influential in the police and judiciary.
South Africa's "Dr Death" Wouter Basson, who headed the apartheid regime's germ warfare programme, was found guilty on Wednesday of unprofessional conduct by the country's health council. Basson faced charges over supplying suicide cyanide capsules to operational officers, tranquilising substances for kidnappings, and for producing sedatives, ecstasy and tear gas. "The breaches of medical ethics amount to unprofessional conduct," said Jannie Hugo, chair of a Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) investigative committee on the matter. He was held accountable to charges of producing "drugs and teargases on a major scale" and supplying mortars weaponised with teargas to Angola's civil war guerilla leader Jonas Savimbi.
Germany reacted coolly on Wednesday to a French request that European countries step up support for its military mission in Central African Republic, playing down the likelihood of any financial assistance on the eve of an EU summit. At a meeting of European Union foreign ministers on Monday, it requested more help from allies to bolster its peacekeeping mission beyond logistical and financial aid. French European Affairs Minister Thierry Repentin said on Wednesday said Germany and Britain were thinking about sending troops, although both countries had denied that on Tuesday. French demands for more burden-sharing in Central African Republic are likely to be discussed in talks between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday evening in Paris.
Johannesburg (AFP) - Virat Kohli endorsed his succession to Sachin Tendulkar’s place in India’s batting order with a cultured century on the first day of the first Test against South Africa at the Wanderers Stadium on Wednesday.
By Lamine Chikhi ALGIERS (Reuters) - Eight months after Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika suffered a debilitating stroke, his allies are promoting constitutional changes including a new vice presidency, which may let the ageing independence veteran run for a fourth term. That would put off an answer to one of the enduring questions in North Africa: who will replace Bouteflika, 76, as leader of one of the principle allies of the West against Islamist militancy. Bouteflika has ruled Algeria since 1999, credited by his supporters with drawing the country out of a civil war that killed 200,000 people, and restoring civilian rule in a major OPEC oil and gas supplier to Europe. In April he suggested it was time for the old guard to move aside for new leaders: "Our generation is over." But Algeria's ruling FLN party has nevertheless touted him for weeks as their official candidate, and his allies have started outmaneuvering rivals in negotiations between FLN cadres and military elites who wield real power.