Archive | February, 2013

Top five ways to maintain healthy weight

Top five ways to maintain healthy weight

Posted on 28 February 2013 by GGS News

pb1GGS NEWS : Diets aren’t the way to go when it comes to losing weight. That’s because they create temporary eating patterns — and, therefore, temporary results. Most dieters gain back any lost weight when they go back to their old eating habits.

So what’s the best way to drop excess weight? Create a new normal!

Weight loss is most likely to be successful when people change their habits, replacing old, unhealthy ones with new, healthy behaviors. Here are 5 ways to make that happen:

Exercise. Regular physical activity burns calories and builds muscle — both of which help you look and feel good and keep weight off. Walking the family dog, cycling to school, and doing other things that increase your daily level of activity can all make a difference. If you want to burn more calories, increase the intensity of your workout and add some strength exercises to build muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even when you aren’t exercising.
Reduce screen time. One reason people get less exercise these days is because of an increase in “screen time” — the amount of time spent watching TV, looking at the computer, or playing video games. Limit recreational screen time to less than 2 hours per day. If you’re with friends at the mall, you’re getting more exercise than if you’re IMing them from your room.
Watch out for portion distortion. Portion sizes are bigger than they used to be, and these extra calories contribute to obesity. Another key factor in weight gain is that more people drink sugary beverages, such as sodas, juice drinks, and sports drinks. So choose smaller portions (or share restaurant portions) and go for water or low-fat milk instead of soda.
Eat 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day. Fruits and veggies are about more than just vitamins and minerals. They’re also packed with fiber, which means they fill you up. And when you fill up on fruits and veggies, you’re less likely to overeat when it comes to high-calorie foods like chips or cookies.
Don’t skip breakfast. Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism, burning calories from the get-go and giving you energy to do more during the day. People who skip breakfast often feel so hungry that they eat more later on. So they get more calories than they would have if they ate breakfast. In fact, people who skip breakfast tend to have higher BMIs than people who eat breakfast.

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Pinaka rockets successfully test-fired

Pinaka rockets successfully test-fired

Posted on 28 February 2013 by GGS News

pb1GGS NEWS : Indigenously developed ‘Pinaka’ rockets were today successfully test-fired from a multi-barrel rocket launcher (MBRL) by an armament establishment from a base at Chandipur-on-sea, about 15 km from here.
“Three rounds of Pinaka rockets were successfully tested today,” defence sources said, adding some more trials were expected to be conducted tomorrow.
On January 30 and 31, this year, seven rounds of “Pinaka” rockets were tested from the same base.
‘Pinaka’, which has undergone several tough tests since 1995, has already been inducted into the armed forces.
Today’s test was conducted by personnel from Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), Pune unit at Proof and Experimental Establishment (PXE) firing point-2 at Chandipur, the sources said.
“The MBRL, capable of acting as a force-multiplier, has been developed to supplement artillery guns,” a defence official said.
‘Pinaka’ is an area weapon system with a range of 40 km. The quick reaction time and high rate of fire of the system gives an edge to the army during a low-intensity conflict situation, he said.
The unguided rocket system is meant to neutralise large areas with rapid salvos. ‘Pinaka’ system can fire a salvo of 12 rockets in 44 seconds, the sources said, adding that the battery of six launchers can neutralise at a time a target area of 3.9 sq km.
The system’s capability to incorporate several types of warheads makes it deadly for the enemy as it can even destroy solid structures and bunkers.

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Delhi gang-rape case: Juvenile charged with rape, murder

Delhi gang-rape case: Juvenile charged with rape, murder

Posted on 28 February 2013 by GGS News

pb1GGS NEWS : Gang-rape and murder charges were today ordered to be framed by a juvenile justice board against the minor accused of brutally raping along with five adults a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus here on December 16.

The assaulted victim was shifted to a Singapore hospital for treatment where she succumbed to her injuries on December 29.

Finding prima facie evidence against the 17-year-old juvenile, Principal Magistrate Geetanjali Goel ordered framing of charges under various provisions of the IPC dealing with gangrape, murder, kidnapping, unnatural offences, attempt to murder, dacoity, destruction of evidence and conspiracy.

The Board has now fixed the case on March 6 for recording of evidence.

The charges of robbery, wrongful confinement and destruction of evidence have also been framed against the juvenile in another case of robbing a vegetable seller prior who had boarded the bus on the fateful night before the gang rape victim and her friend allegedly became the prey of the minor and his five adult co-accused.

The panel will commence recording of evidence in the robbery case from March 12 against the juvenile.

In both the cases, the minor claimed innocence and opted to contest the charges framed by the juvenile justice board.

Earlier, the police had in its PIR (police investigation report, which is equivalent to charge sheet) filed before the JJB slapped charges of gangrape, murder, unnatural sex, dacoity, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence among other offences under the Indian Penal Code against the minor.

Similar charges have been framed against the other five adult accused in the case, proceedings in which are being conducted in-camera at a special fast track court here.

The gangrape victim had died on December 29, 2012 in a Singapore hospital as a result of the grievous injuries she had suffered when she was brutally raped and assaulted by the six accused, after she and her male friend boarded the bus on December 16 night.

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Sequester: White House budget cuts talks planned

Sequester: White House budget cuts talks planned

Posted on 28 February 2013 by GGS News

pb1US,(GGS NEWS)  : Positions hardened on Wednesday between U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican congressional leaders over the budget crisis even as they arranged to hold last-ditch talks to prevent harsh automatic spending cuts beginning this week.

Looking resigned to the $85 billion in “sequestration” cuts starting on Friday, government agencies began reducing costs and spelling out to employees how furloughs will work.

Expectations were low that a White House meeting on Friday between Obama and congressional leaders, including Republican foes, would produce any deal to avoid the cuts.

Speaking to a business group, Obama said the cuts could shave 0.6 percentage points or more from already anemic growth and urged executives to pressure Congress into compromising on a broad deficit reduction package.

“Whether that can be done in the next two days – I haven’t seen things done in two days in Washington in quite some time,” Obama told the Business Council, which is composed of chief executives of major U.S. corporations. “The good news is that the public is beginning to pay attention to this.”

Public services across the country – from air traffic control to food safety inspections and education – might be disrupted if the cuts go ahead.

Put into law in 2011 as part of an earlier fiscal crisis, sequestration is unloved by both parties because of the economic pain it will cause, but the politicians cannot agree how to stop it.

A deal in Congress on less drastic spending cuts, perhaps with tax increases too, is needed by Friday to halt the sequestration reductions, which are split between social programs cherished by Democrats and defense spending championed by Republicans.

Obama stuck by his demand that Republicans accept tax increases in the form of eliminating tax loopholes enjoyed mostly by the wealthy as part of a balanced approach to avoiding sequestration.

“There is no alternative in the president’s mind to balance,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.

Obama wants to end tax breaks for oil and gas companies and the lower “carried interest” tax rate enjoyed by hedge funds.

But Republicans who reluctantly agreed to raise income tax rates on the rich to avert the “fiscal cliff” crisis in December are in no mood for that.

“One thing Americans simply will not accept is another tax increase to replace spending reductions we already agreed to,” said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.

In one of the first concrete effects of the cuts, the administration took the unusual step of freeing several hundred detained illegal immigrants because of the cost of holding them.

Republicans described that move by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as a political stunt aimed at scaring them into agreeing to end the sequestration on Obama’s terms.

The issue looked like it might become more controversial on Wednesday when the Associated Press reported that the Homeland Security Department official in charge of immigration enforcement and removal had announced his resignation on Tuesday just after news of the immigrants’ releases came out.

But ICE said the report was “misleading.” The official, Gary Mead, told ICE weeks ago of his retirement in April after 40 years of federal service, a spokeswoman said. Earlier, Carney denied the White House had ordered the immigrants’ release.

Friday’s White House meeting will include McConnell and the other key congressional leaders: Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, House of Representatives Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, and House Speaker John Boehner, the top U.S. Republican.

‘BELATED FARCE’?

The chances of success were not high.

One congressional Republican aide criticized the White House for calling the meeting for the day the cuts were coming into effect. “Either someone needs to buy the White House a calendar, or this is just a – belated – farce. They ought to at least pretend to try.”

Unlike during other fiscal fights in Congress, the stock market is taking the sequestration impasse calmly.

U.S. stocks rose, with major indexes posting their best daily gains since early January, as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke remained steadfast in supporting the Fed’s stimulus policy and data pointed to economic improvement.

On Thursday, the Senate is expected to vote on competing Democratic and Republican ideas for replacing the sequestration. Both measures are expected to be defeated.

The Republican plan unveiled late on Wednesday would let the sequestration go into effect on Friday, but require Obama to submit an alternative $85 billion spending reduction plan to Congress by March 15, thus allowing more flexibility on how the cuts would be carried out.

Congress would have until March 22 to reject the proposal, in which case the original sequestration would remain in place. Democrats were still studying it. But on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said new revenues needed to be part of any substitute plan.

The Democratic proposal would replace the across-the-board cuts mainly with tax increases on the rich coupled with spending cuts. Some of those would be achieved by eliminating crop subsidies for large agricultural companies. More savings would be through minor defense cuts in later years.

Republicans have vowed to block any tax increases for deficit reduction.

Bernanke said sequestration was too drastic an approach for reducing the budget deficit.

“What I am advising is a more gradual approach. I’m not saying we should ignore the deficit. I am not saying we shouldn’t deal with long-term fiscal issues, but I think that from the perspective of our recovery, a more gradual approach would be constructive,” he told a House Financial Services Committee hearing.

Among many warnings from the Obama administration of possible damage to public services, the Air Force said its Thunderbirds exhibition flying team is expected to be grounded if sequestration happens.

The Pentagon will put most of its 800,000 civilian employees on unpaid leave for 22 days, slash ship and aircraft maintenance and curtail training.

But the full weight of sequestration will take place over seven months, allowing Obama and the Republicans time to work out a deal after the cuts begin this week.

White House spokesman Carney said sequestration would officially start just before midnight on Friday night if no deal were reached.

Government agencies began to tell employees how sequestration will force them to take furloughs. The Environmental Protection Agency acting head, Bob Perciasepe, told employees in an email that the agency did not know how much of its budget will be cut but it was working on an estimate of 5 percent.

“What might that mean for our employees? If the sequester order requires a 5.0% cut, the impact could be up to 13 furlough days,” he said. That would likely mean four furlough days by June 1, he said.

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Egypt’s army tiptoes through democracy’s minefield

Egypt’s army tiptoes through democracy’s minefield

Posted on 28 February 2013 by GGS News

pb1Egypt,(GGS NEWS) : As cities along the Suez Canal erupted in violence in late January, the leader of Egypt’s armed forces feared for the future of the fledgling democracy. General Abdel Fattah Sisi told the elected president, Mohamed Mursi, that the situation was critical, according to Egyptian security sources familiar with the events.

“The military leadership advised the president that national security was threatened following the chaos and vandalism that befell the cities of Suez and Port Said,” a security source with links to the military told Reuters.

The two men discussed ways to contain the unrest along the Canal, which is vital to Egypt and global trade, agreeing the army could not stand by and let the turmoil spread. Early on Saturday January 26 troops deployed in the riot-torn cities; in Suez armored vehicles arrived to protect government buildings. Mursi announced a night-time curfew in the towns.

It was a telling moment in Egypt’s struggle to establish a real democracy. When popular uprisings overthrew the former regime of Hosni Mubarak two years ago, the army, which had played a central role in the state for decades, determined to stand back as political parties vied for power. Many analysts believe that after Mursi was elected in June 2012, he and the military came to an understanding: the new Islamist government would not interfere in the army’s interests, nor seek to change its long-standing vision of national security, while the military would give qualified support to Mursi and his backers in the Muslim Brotherhood.

But that deal has limits, as Egyptians are discovering. The army felt compelled to intervene to quell the January riots, according to security sources, though they were at pains to say it did not do so unilaterally. “The president and the national defense council made the decision to impose the state of emergency and a curfew until the situation stabilizes,” said the security source with links to the military.

Security and political sources told Reuters that Sisi, the defense minister, also privately urged political leaders to set aside their differences in the face of a social and financial crisis.

Though the armed forces say they want to remain neutral, they believe they cannot ignore the situation on the streets.

“We are not political, we don’t want to participate in the political situation because we suffered a lot because of this in the last six months,” Major General Sedki Sobhi, the army chief of staff, told Reuters at an industry event in Abu Dhabi. “But sometimes we can help in this problem, we can play this role if the situation became more complicated.”

As Egypt heads towards new parliamentary elections beginning on April 22, and as the Muslim Brotherhood and the military eye each other closely, Mursi finds himself caught in the middle.

Essam Haddad, Mursi’s aide on foreign affairs, told Reuters that the relationship between the armed forces and the presidency had “been developing in a very positive direction.”

Nevertheless, there has been recent speculation in Egyptian media and on social networking sites of tensions between Brotherhood members and the military. Haddad blamed the Egyptian media for creating “a sort of a gap, an artificial gap, an artificial misunderstanding … If you follow some of the Egyptian media, you will find some unprecedented claims of a military coup coming.”

FATAL FOOTBALL

An unfortunate confluence of events brought popular unrest to the boil in late January. As the country headed towards the second anniversary of its revolution, opponents of Mursi stepped up protests. At the same time a court was preparing to deliver verdicts on police, officials and other suspects charged with murder after 74 people died during a stampede at a football stadium in Port Said last year.

It was a combustible mix. When judges in the football case sentenced 21 people to death, fury erupted in Port Said. As street protests left at least 32 people dead, the army moved in. General Osama Askar, commander of the third army division in Suez, said at the time: “This is an emergency deployment to assist the police … this is not the army’s role but we are assisting the police force in imposing law and order for now.”

Behind the scenes Sisi, a former head of military intelligence, went further than merely assisting the police. On January 28, according to security sources, he spoke to Mursi’s political rivals in the National Salvation Front: Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the U.N. nuclear agency; Hamdeen Sabahy, seen by some as a leftist firebrand; and Amr Moussa, a former chief of the Arab League.

Sisi treated each of the politicians with friendliness and respect, said security sources, but made his point clear: chaos in the Suez cities endangered the Canal and threatened the stability of the state. He told the political leaders they must compromise over their differences.

“The country was facing a political stalemate that had to be ended to prevent a downward spiral of events. Now is not the time to dissolve a newly elected state institution (the presidency),” said the security source with links to the military.

To ram the point home, Sisi went public with his message the next day, warning that political unrest was pushing the state to the brink of collapse. The military leadership also played a role in bringing political leaders together two days later, under the auspices of the head of the venerable Azhar university. The party leaders met and signed a document renouncing violence.

In a continuation of a system operated by Mubarak, the new Islamist government has agreed that decisions on the military budget will continue to be discussed in the national defense council, not parliament. In the council – which includes the president, parliament speaker and military leaders – security officials have the upper hand over civilian members.

The government has also guaranteed the armed forces control over provinces along the border with Israel and along the Suez Canal, according to a Muslim Brotherhood source.

Egyptian authorities announced at the end of January that shipping fees for the Canal would rise between two and five percent from May 1. The waterway is an important source of funds for the country and for the military, generating revenue of about $5 billion a year in hard currency.

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Mexico estimates 26,000 missing since 2006

Mexico estimates 26,000 missing since 2006

Posted on 28 February 2013 by GGS News

pb1GGS NEWS : Mexico’s government has estimated that 26,122 people have gone missing since December 2006, a period dominated by drug-related violence.
The latest figure is much higher than previous government estimates, which put the number at a few thousand.
The list includes more than 20,000 ongoing official investigations, but 5,206 still have to be verified.
Last week, pressure group Human Rights Watch said it found evidence “of disappearances involving state agents.”
The group documented 250 disappearances that took place during the previous administration of President Felipe Calderon and accused all branches of the security forces of involvement, often at the behest of drug cartels.

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Argentina passes deal with Iran to probe Amia bombing

Argentina passes deal with Iran to probe Amia bombing

Posted on 28 February 2013 by GGS News

pb1GGS NEWS : Despite opposition by Israel and its Western allies, Argentine lawmakers are set to approve an agreement with Iran to set up a “truth commission” to investigate the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.

“I beg you congressmen to take the side of the victims and justice. It will be you who decide if the case moves forward or remains paralyzed,” Argentina’s Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said at a Lower House joint meeting where he defended an agreement with Iran to probe into the AMIA bombing.

“In every step I took, I had in mind that the Argentinian people have learned with a lot of suffering that justice and not execution must be sought. We must seek the truth and not revenge. All the victims deserve to know that we do not forget them,” he added. The minister made clear that the South American government would not allow foreign geostrategic interests to interfere in the AMIA case.

“I am no one’s puppet. The country is no one’s puppet. We assume our political commitment and ask you to join that political commitment…. No country in the world has taken this case and put it on the table and many countries are using the AMIA case for their own geostrategic interests,” Timerman stated.

Argentina’s senate on February 21 gave the green light for the agreement with Iran on the AMIA case with the senators voting 39-31 in favor of the accord.

On January 27, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and Timerman signed a memorandum of understanding for the two countries in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to shed light on the 1994 bombing on the AMIA building in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people. AMIA stands for the Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina or the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association.

The Israeli regime reacted angrily to the deal a day after it was signed. Tel Aviv demanded an explanation for the move, but the request was strongly rejected by the Argentinian Foreign Ministry on January 30 as an “improper action.”

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Timerman have endorsed the agreement, which stipulates that the fact-finding commission, composed of five foreign legal experts, issue a report after carrying out an evaluation of Argentina’s investigation into the issue.

Under intense political pressure imposed by the US and the Israeli regime, Argentina had formally accused Iran of having carried out the bomb attack. The Islamic Republic has categorically denied any involvement in the terrorist bombing.

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Australia makes largest meth seizure

Australia makes largest meth seizure

Posted on 28 February 2013 by GGS News

pb1Australia,(GGS NEWS) 28 FEB : Australian police have announced their largest seizure of methamphetamine, an illicit drug smuggled into Sydney hidden in shipments of chemicals from China.

Authorities said on Thursday that they had also arrested an Australian, a Singaporean and a man from Hong Kong, after seizing 585kg of the drug valued at $448m.

“This is the largest single seizure of ice in Australian law enforcement history and almost doubles the previous record seizure of 300kg in July 2012,” police said in a statement.

The drugs were found in a shipment of cleaning chemicals from Shenzhen in southern China following a tip-off to the Asian crime squad in September.

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Tony Negus said the sophisticated syndicate went to “considerable lengths to escape detection” and the authorities had not ruled out further arrests, either in Australia or overseas.

“We’ve already been in contact with authorities in China and a range of further inquiries are under way,” said Negus.

Andrew Scipione, police commissioner of New South Wales state, said it was “very fortunate that somebody took the time to make that phone call”.

“This is the sort of drug that sends people mad,” he said of the extremely addictive stimulant that can trigger erratic and violent behaviour.

The three arrested men, who will appear in a Sydney court on Thursday, face life in prison and/or more than a million dollars fine for commercial drug possession.Lucrative market

Australia is becoming an increasingly lucrative market for international drug networks because of the strength of the local currency and resilience of the national economy compared to other wealthy nations.

The previous record seizure of 306kg came during a investigation into a Hong Kong-linked international drugs syndicate that resulted in seven arrests, including four from the former British territory.

The drugs had been stashed in terracotta pots in a shipment from Thailand.

More recently, Australian police in November seized 235kg of methamphetamine hidden inside a consignment of heavy machinery from China.

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Kenya bus crash ‘kills at least 35’ near Mwingi town

Kenya bus crash ‘kills at least 35’ near Mwingi town

Posted on 28 February 2013 by GGS News

pb1GGS NEWS : At least 35 people have been killed in a bus crash near Mwingi town in eastern Kenya, a traffic officer has said.
Most of the passengers worked in the capital, Nairobi, and were returning to their homes to vote in Monday’s election, a survivor said.

Farah Aden Ali, who sustained minor injuries, said the bus over-turned after the driver lost control.
Many of Kenya’s roads are in a bad state, and buses are poorly maintained, correspondents say.

Traffic officer Samuel Kimaru said at least 35 passengers died and another 50 were wounded in the overnight accident.
“The death toll may increase because there were serious injuries following the accident. Those who were injured are undergoing treatment in hospital,” he is quoted as saying by Kenya’s Standard newspaper.

Mr Aden Ali said that rescue teams arrived only about four hours after the crash, causing many people trapped in the wreckage to die.

The bus was over-crowded with many passengers – who were going to the towns of Mandera and Garissa – standing, he said.

“The bus had problems with the gear from when it left Nairobi,” Mr Aden Ali added.
He said he was asleep, but woke up shortly before the accident.

“The driver lost control. He tried to bring it back under control, but it rolled over and turned on its side,” Mr Aden Ali said.
Traffic on Kenya’s roads is usually high before an election, as city workers travel to their rural homes, where they are registered to vote.  Kenya will hold parliamentary and presidential elections on Monday.

The presidential poll is expected to be a close contest between Prime Minister Raila Odinga and one of his deputies, Uhuru Kenyatta, who is due to stand trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) later this year for allegedly orchestrating violence after the disputed 2007 election.

President Mwai Kibaki, who beat Mr Odinga in the 2007 election, is stepping down after two terms.

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Tony Blair defends Rwanda’s role in DR Congo

Tony Blair defends Rwanda’s role in DR Congo

Posted on 28 February 2013 by GGS News

pb1GGS NEWS :(BBC ) Former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has defended Rwanda over its part in the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

He told the BBC the causes of that conflict were complex and Kigali should not be singled out for blame.

He also said it was wrong to withhold aid to Rwanda, as many Western countries have done.

Rwanda denies a UN accusation that it has been backing the Congolese M23 rebel group.

About 800,000 people have been displaced in fighting since May 2012 when the rebels launched a rebellion against the DR Congo government.Last year, a report by the UN Security Council’s Group of Experts said that M23 leaders “receive direct military orders” from Rwanda’s chief of defence staff, Gen Charles Kayonga, “who in turn acts on instructions from the minister of defence”, Gen James Kabarebe.

Mr Blair acts as a personal adviser to Mr Kagame – who came to power after the 1994 genocide – and one of his charities, the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI), employs people inside the Rwandan government.

“If you read, and I have read, both the UN report and the very detailed rebuttal of those claims by the Rwandan government, you’ve got to say there’s a dispute over the facts,” Mr Blair told the BBC’s Focus on Africa TV programme.

He said there were a dozen different small militias in DR Congo, complicating the situation for the government.

“I’m not disputing the need to make sure that everybody abides by the right international principles here, I’m simply saying it isn’t right to put all of this on Rwanda ,” he said.

Rwanda had made good use of the aid money and there had been massive poverty reduction in the country, Mr Blair said.

Rwanda had “virtually eliminated measles in the country, now moving on to rubella”.

“The way they’ve reduced malaria deaths by something like 60%. These are massive achievements done through aid.

“To withdraw the aid in those circumstances seems to me a way to punish the Rwandan people without necessarily helping the issue of the conflict.”

Mr Kagame’s critics accuse him of leading a repressive regime, which jails opponents and cracks down on the media.

Last October, opposition leader Victoire Ingabire was convicted of treason and sentenced to eight years in jail. She denied the charge.

BBC

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