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Congo rejects African Union demand to delay final election result

KINSHASA ( ) – Democr,上海夜网官方网站Quaid,atic Republic of Congo rejected on Friday an African Union demand to delay announcing final results from its presidential election, compounding the turmoil surrounding a vote that many fear could fan widespread unrest.

In a surprise announcement on Thursday, the AU called for the results to be postponed because of “serious doubts” over the conduct of the e,上海夜生活网419Hadley,lection, which was supposed to mark Congo’s first democratic handover of power in 59 years of independence but which the runner-up candidate says was rigged.

The final tally will be released once the Constitutional Court has ruled on challenges to provisional results. It is expected to decide on appeals, including that of opposition leader and second-placed Martin Fayulu, on Friday or Saturday.

“I do not think anyone has the right to tell the court what to do. I am not under the impression (the AU) fully understands Congo’s judicial process,” government spokesman Lambert Mende said. “No country in the world can accept that its judicial proce,上海夜生活Kailani,ss be controlled by an (outside) organization.”

The AU said it would send a delegation to Congo to seek “a way out of the post-electoral crisis”. The mission, expected in Kinshasa on Monday, will include Rwandan President and AU chair Paul Kagame, Moussa Faki, chairman of the AU Commission, and other heads of state.

Mende said the AU delegation was welcome, but that the post-election process would remain unchanged.

Provisional results announced last week showed a shock victory for opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi. But Fayulu requested a recount, saying he had won with over 60 percent of the vote and that Tshisekedi was announced victor only after striking a deal with outgoing President Joseph Kabila.

Kabila and Tshisekedi’s camps have denied striking a backroom deal and accusations of fraud.

Speaking on Friday, Fayulu welcomed the AU statement and called on his supporters to remain calm.

“I ask you to not give in to provocation, to avoid anything that could divide us or break down national cohesion,” he said. “Nobody can deny the people their victory.”

GROWING PRESSURE

The AU statement heaps more pressure on Kinshasa to address what independent monitors described as serious flaws in the process including faulty balloting machines and polling stations at which many were unable to vote.

An AU endorsement of the result is crucial for the legitimacy of the next president.

Congo’s influential Catholic Church said the official results were inconsistent with its own tallies. Three diplomats briefed on the Church’s findings said they pointed to a clear victory for Fayulu, a former Exxon Mobil country manager.

Congolese sources in contact with senior government officials told Fayulu had won decisively, but top 上海夜生活论坛officials instructed the electoral commission to award the election to Tshisekedi, seen as more open to compromise with Kabila and his allies.

Kabila’s aides and the electoral commission president denied this.

Congo, a vast country of 80 million people sprawling across central Africa, is the world’s leading miner of cobalt, used in electric car batteries and mobile phones, and Africa’s biggest copper producer.

But poor governance, endemic corruption and violent factional anarchy, especially in the east, have left many in poverty and dissatisfied with Kabila’s 18-year rule.

Many Congolese are now concerned that the election dispute will fan widespread, violent disorder.

The U.N. human rights office said on Friday it had documented 34 people killed, 59 wounded and 241 arbitrary arrests since the provisional results were announced on Jan. 10.

Murdered Polish mayor’s funeral draws crowd of 45,000 in Gdansk

GDANSK, Poland ( ) – Murdered Gdansk mayor Pawel Adamowicz’s funeral drew tens of thousands of people in,上海夜生活怎么玩Fabiana, the Polish Baltic coast city on Saturday amid outrage over his murder six days ago.

Banners with black and white pictures of Adamowicz were draped over buildings as Polish politicians including former president Lech Walesa, who helped to overturn communism in Eastern Europe, joined a mass at St Mary’s Basilica.

European Council President Do,上海夜生活服务Sabine,nald Tusk and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki also joined mourners who listened to the choir as they awaited the burial of Adamowicz’s ashes.

Adamowicz, one of Poland’s longest-serving mayors, was attacked on stage during one of Poland’s biggest annual charity events and died the following day.

Broadcaster TVN24 said 3,500 mourners gathered inside the 500-year-old Gothic cathedral on Saturday, while others watched Gdansk archbishop Leszek Slawoj Glodz give family members rosaries and gifts sent by Pope Francis on huge screens.

“What happened on Sunday evening … was perceived as a violent constant sound of a alarming bell, call for saving the conscience and changing the way of our living, political style,” Glodz told mourners during the Mass.

The murder of a liberal critic of Poland’s ruling party’s anti-immigrant policies highlights the charged atmosphere in parts of eastern Europe where populist leaders have fanned nationalist sentiment.

As well as encouraging migrants to seek refuge in Gdansk, Adamowicz was known for backing a campaign to defend the rule of law against what activists consider efforts by the ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party to increase political control over the judiciary and other bodies.

SOLIDARITY

On Friday, 53,000 people paid tribute to Adamowicz, who beat the PiS in October, while he lay in state in the museum of the Solidarity movement that helped to usurp communism in Poland.

Police said some 45,000 people had attended the funeral.

Polish authorities have arrested a 27-year-old former convict, named only as Stefan W., over the killing. He was freed last month after serving 5-1/2 years for atte上海夜生活论坛mpted bank robbery.

The attacker accused the mayor’s former party of putting him in prison, where he said he was tortured, at the event.

Authorities have detained at least 10 people in recent days over calls on social media to murder and other acts of aggression in the wake of Adamowicz’s death.

Adamowicz was one of 11 Polish mayors targeted with fake death certificates by a far-right group called All-Polish Youth in 2017, after signing a declaration to welcome refugees in opposition to government policy.

Critics blame Poland’s politicians for cranking up hate speech and support for the PiS party fell to 30 percent in the wake of Adamowicz’s death, a poll conducted by Kantar Millward Brown showed, from 33 percent in November. The biggest opposition grouping Koalicja Obywatelska had 25 percent.

,上海夜哪里艳遇Larissa,(This story corrects job title in paragraph 3)

Syria says repels Israeli air attack, Israel says downs Golan rocket

BEIRUT/MOSCOW ( ) – Syrian military air defenses thwarted an Israeli attack on Sunday, shooting down seven missiles targeting an airport in southeastern Damascus, Russia’s National Defense Control Center was cited by RIA news agency as saying.

The attack, launched by four Israeli F-16 jets, did not damage the airport and there were no casualties, the control center was cited as saying.

Syrian state media also reported the attack.

“Our air defense systems thwarted … an Israeli air aggression … and prevented it from achieving any of its goals,” a milit,上海021夜网Ebba,ary source told state news agency SANA. It gave no further details.

An Israeli military spokeswoma上海夜网n declined to comment.

The Israeli military later said its Iron Dome interceptor system shot down a rocket fired at the northern part of the occupied Golan Heights on the Syria frontier.

The military’s statement did not immediately specify where the rocket was launched from. The northern Golan is also close to Lebanese territory.

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