Gambia has a new President
Gambia's new President Adama Barrow was finally installed in office following a standoff with Yahya Jammeh, the longtime leader refusing to step down after his election defeat. Taking oath of office in Senegal Barrow demanded "loyalty" from the armed forces. "This is a victory of the Gambian nation. Our flag will now fly high among those of the most democratic nations of the world," he said. The inauguration took place as a regional military force massed on the Senegal-Gambia border ahead of a UN Security Council meeting to vote on west African efforts to ensure a transfer of power. Barrow, an opposition coalition candidate, won the December 1 election in a surprise victory over Jammeh, who had ruled the former British colony since taking power in a coup in 1994 and had rejected international pressure to leave office. Nigerian jets overflew as troops from Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria readied for a possible intervention against Jammeh. In off the cuff remarks, army chief Ousman Badjie insisted his soldiers would not get involved in a "political dispute" or prevent foreign forces from entering the west African nation.
Unrest spreads in Brazil
Stick-wielding inmates hurled stones and lit fires in a Brazilian jail where dozens were previously massacred, as authorities struggled to contain a spreading wave of gang violence. Police fired rubber bullets to try to separate two groups of inmates as they fought a pitched battled in the courtyard of the Alcacuz prison in the northern town of Natal. The governor of the surrounding Rio Grande do Norte state, Robinson Faria, called for the armed forces to deploy in the streets of Natal after rioting spread beyond the prison. Globonews television channel showed pictures of injured inmates being evacuated from the jail. Rioting also broke out in six towns in the state, a spokesman for local authorities told AFP. Six cars and a truck were set on fire and seven people were arrested in that unrest. One person died and five were hurt during another prisoner uprising in the nearby town of Caico. On Wednesday, elite officers entered the Alcacuz prison near the northern city of Natal and transferred 220 inmates to another jail. The Alcacuz facility was the scene of gruesome violence between two rival gangs last weekend when 26 inmates were massacred, most of them beheaded. That was the third major mass-killing in a Brazilian prison this year. So far this year, 134 people had been killed in prison violence, according to the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, citing justice ministry figures. Authorities were accused of allowing gangs to run the overcrowded jails. In a bid to wrest back control, the government was deploying 1,000 troops to “clean out” arms, explosives and cellphones from various cellblocks in the country. Defence Minister Raul Jungmann called the situation a “national emergency.”
Elitism in Russia
Reuters reported that the Kremlin planned to build a new unit at the Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow, specially designed to treat the country's most senior officials. Plans for an exclusive Moscow health clinic for Vladimir Putin and his top officials would involve a three-storey building in the grounds of the Central Clinical Hospital. Design and planning papers showed space for 10 inpatients at a time and communications systems that under Russian law were reserved for the country's leaders. The clinic was estimated to cost 2.9 billion roubles - or 48.11 million dollars. It would be fitted with VIP suites, a swimming pool, rooms where patients could hold meetings, and posts for aides. In a written reply, the Kremlin's property management department had confirmed that a clinic would be built, but said it was for hundreds of state officials including but not limited to the President and Prime Minister. There had been a renewed demand for top-end healthcare under the control of the Russian state. In the past two decades, Russia's elite had sought treatment abroad. However, the current standoff with the West had changed attitudes.
Saudi Arabia told to end ban on women driving
Philip Alston a United Nations Special Rapporteur On Extreme Poverty And Human Rights told the media after a 12 day visit to the Kingdom that Saudi Arabia’s government should end the ban on women driving and reform the male guardianship system. He said his concern was that the government was deferring to a relatively small portion of conservative voices. This was obstructing the economic and social progress which the oil-rich kingdom aimed to achieve under its Vision 2030 wide-ranging reform programme. He said features of the guardianship system which hindered women’s ability to work and travel “need to be reformed.” Under that system a male family member, normally the father, husband or brother, must grant permission for a woman’s study, travel and other activities. Officials had argued that society was not ready for women driving but Alston said the government must take an activist role.He said he visited Jazan, in the kingdom’s southwest, because it is the poorest part of the country, although there were “major problems” in the east as well. In Jazan he found conditions “that I think would shock Saudi citizens.”