Kenyan Forces End Westgate Siege
Kenyan Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku tweeted on Monday afternoon that the country’s forces had secured all floors of the upscale Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi, besieged by between six and 16 al-Shabaab militants on Saturday afternoon. According to witnesses, the attackers asked all Muslims to leave the complex and said only non-Muslims would be targeted, and al Shabaab later said it had carried out the attack in response to Kenyan military operations in Somalia. At least 69 people were killed, according to the Kenyan Red Cross, and more than 175 were injured in the attack. Police took half an hour to arrive at the scene and originally thought the shootout was part of a robbery. Kenyan forces entered the complex together with Israeli security people on Monday morning and eventually managed to secure the premises in the afternoon. Erastus Mwencha, deputy chairman of the African Union, told the BBC World Service that member states would continue to deal with the Islamist groups. “As you know, in the last two-three years, the AU forces in Somalia – have pushed them back, they have lost ground”, said Mwencha. “And of course, this will also mean strengthening the government of Somalia so it is in complete control”, he concluded.
Merkel Wins Historic Third Term
German Chancellor Angela Merkel won a historic third-term victory in the German elections on Sunday, leading her party to its best result in more than 20 years. The Christian Democratic Union won 41.5 percent of the vote, with main opposition party the Social Democrats receiving 25.7 percent. The chancellor’s first task will be to decide on a coalition, since her preferred partners, the Free Democrats, were voted out of parliament after not crossing the minimum threshold of 5 percent of the votes, the first time the party has failed to entered the Bundestag since World War II. “We will talk about this tomorrow when we know the final results, but we can surely celebrate tonight, as we have done a great job”, said Merkel during her victory speech on Sunday night.
Assad Says Syria Will Allow Access to Chemical Sites
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that his government would allow UN inspectors to access its chemical weapons and sites, as well as fully agreeing to the Russia-US agreement that woudl place its weapons under international control. Inspectors are expected in Syria by November and all chemical weapons components are to be removed or destroyed by the middle of next year. Assad warned, however, that not all areas might be accessible to inspectors because rebels might block access routes. “I’m referring to places where militants exist. Those militants might want to stop the experts’ arrival”, he said during an interview to Chinese state television. He said that his government had already handed a list of all its chemical weapons to the international agency responsible for checking and securing its stockpile.
Human Role in Climate Change ‘More Certain’
Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the UN’s climate panel, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said that scientists are more certain that human activities are responsible for the greenhouse glasses that are heating the planet. “There’s definitely an increase in our belief that climate change is taking place and that human beings are responsible. I don’t think there is a slowdown (in the rate of temperature increase). I would like to draw your attention to the World Meteorological Organisation which clearly stated on the basis of observations that the first decade of this century has been the warmest in recorded history. And I think the rest will be brought out by the report itself when it’s released”, said Prof Pachauri, referring to a report on the state of the climate to be delivered in Stockholm later this week.