Kateku (DR Congo) (AFP) - More than 100 armed Rwandan rebels from a group linked to the 1994 genocide in their homeland give themselves up in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a decision welcomed by the UN. The rebels are members of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) which includes remnants of the militia that carried out the genocide of at least 800,000 ethnic Tutsis according to the world body and which is now based in DRC. Nord-Kivu governor Julien Paluku said the surrender was the first step in a process which should be wound up "within 22 days", with the ex-rebels given a choice to return to Rwanda or ask for political asylum. The UN mission in DRC (MONUSCO) welcomed the move but cautioned that it would take time to see if the rebel movement was serious about disarming.
US President Barack Obama will meet Ukraine's president-elect next week during a European tour aimed at shoring up regional security amid reports that a second team of European monitors went missing in the country's restive east. The meeting in Warsaw will come less than two weeks after pro-European Petro Poroshenko, a chocolate tycoon, was elected in the shadow of a showdown between Washington and Moscow over the fate of Ukraine that has brought relations to their lowest level since the Cold War.
An American fighting for a hardline Islamist group carried out a deadly suicide bombing in Syria, US officials said Friday, in the first such case in the war. The confirmation came amid growing fears over the flood of foreigners into Syria, with no end in sight in the three-year war that has already left 162,000 people dead. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki identified the suicide bomber as Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha. Abu-Salha is thought to have been behind a truck bombing against regime forces on Sunday in the northern province of Idlib.
Democratic lawmakers in Delaware have introduced a bill that would decriminalize possession of a small amount of marijuana, following the lead of nearly 20 U.S. states that have moved to loosen laws surrounding non-medical use of the drug. The legislation would also reduce the fine for using marijuana in a public place to $100. Under current Delaware law, marijuana possession is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,150. Supporters say decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana would lessen the burden on prisons and the justice system.
Blantyre (Malawi) (AFP) - Democratic Progressive Party leader Peter Mutharika was declared the winner of Malawi's disputed presidential election on Friday after defeating President Joyce Banda. Mutharika, the brother of former president Bingu wa Mutharika, took 36.4 percent of the votes cast against Banda's 20.2 percent, the electoral commission said. Electoral commission chief Maxon Mbendera declared Mutharika "president-elect" after last week's vote, which Banda said was marred by "serious irregularities" and "null and void". The results showed that Banda was beaten into third place by Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), who garnered 27.8 percent of the vote.
US lawmakers urged France to break its contract to sell two warships to Russia and instead sell or lease them to NATO, which said Friday it was up to Paris to decide. Three congressmen led by Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote to the transatlantic alliance's Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressing concern about the construction and sale to the Russian navy of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers. "It is critical that NATO countries no longer provide powerful weapons to enhance Russia's ability to intimidate or even invade its neighbors," the lawmakers wrote Thursday, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin's aggression in Ukraine.