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DR Congo Sends Warplanes Against Advancing M23 Rebels

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The Democratic Republic of Congo deployed two warplanes against advancing M23 militants on Thursday in the country’s volatile east, sources said, after a regional bloc called for rebels to disarm.

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Tanks and two fighter jets targeted rebel positions in the town of Kibumba at noon, according to a resident who spoke to AFP via telephone from the region’s main city Goma.

M23 fighters recently captured the town in North Kivu province, which lies just 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Goma, a commercial hub of one million people.

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A security official, who requested anonymity, confirmed the warplane strikes. “We have hope, we are moving forward,” he told AFP.

The retaliation by Congolese forces comes as the M23 has been pushing closer towards Goma, sparking fears of an attack on the city.

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Drawn mostly from Congolese Tutsis, the rebel group has recently captured swathes of territory across North Kivu.

The advance has triggered a humanitarian crisis and a showdown with Rwanda — which the DRC accuses of backing the M23.

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Local residents and administrative officials told AFP that the M23 has also begun a push westwards into North Kivu’s Masisi territory, from its stronghold near the border with Uganda and Rwanda.

“The rebels are here,” a resident of Tongo, a town lying on the road leading to Masisi territory, said on Thursday.

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An official in the local administration, who requested anonymity, also told AFP late Wednesday that M23 fighters had entered his office.

The DRC’s army has yet to communicate officially about the rebel advance.

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Thousands of people marched against the M23 in protests held across the country on Thursday, including more than 15,000 in the capital Kinshasa, according to the organisers.

Fleeing the enemy
Thousands of people packed their belongings and headed towards Goma on Tuesday, amid rumours of a rebel advance, after troops were seen fleeing.

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The following day, a military tribunal in Goma sentenced three to death for “cowardice” and having “fled before the enemy,” among other charges, a court official said.

In practice, the death penalty in the DRC is commuted to life imprisonment.

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On Wednesday, the head of the newly created East African Community (EAC) military force in eastern DR Congo, Jeff Nyagah, said that rebels must pursue political negotiations and disarm.

“Those who fail or refuse to voluntarily disarm, then we’ll go for them,” the Kenyan general warned.

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Nyagah also vowed that the EAC force would protect Goma.

Kenya’s former president Uhuru Kenyatta, a mediator for the crisis for the seven-nation EAC, had on Tuesday also urged militants to lay down their arms and engage in negotiations.

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The EAC has called for a “peace dialogue” in Kenya’s capital Nairobi on November 21.

France’s foreign ministry on Wednesday condemned the latest violence and urged the M23 to withdraw from its occupied territory, according to a statement.

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Rebel resurgence
Over 120 armed groups are active across eastern Congo, many of which are a legacy of regional wars that flared at the turn of the century.

The M23 first leapt to prominence in 2012 when it captured Goma, before being driven out and going to ground.

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But the rebel group re-emerged late last year, claiming that the DRC had failed to honour a pledge to integrate its fighters into the army, among other grievances.

Despite official denials from Kigali, an unpublished report for the United Nations seen by AFP in August pointed to Rwandan involvement with the M23.

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Rwanda accuses Kinshasa of colluding with Hutu militants who fled across the border after the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The DRC denies this.

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Foreign

School staff locked up child with no food until they started eating their own faeces

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A former Liberty ISD teacher and two instructional assistants have been arrested for allegedly isolating a student with no food until they were forced to eat their own feces and drink their urine.

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Melody LaPointe, 47, of Baytown; Tarah Tinney, 33, of Liberty; and Augusta Costlow, 27, of Liberty, have been charged with four counts of abandoning or endangering a child.

As per court documents, the incident took place at Liberty Independent School District, Texas, in 2021, when the workers placed a pupil in isolation and deprived them of food until they started eating their feces, The Mirror reported.

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The teacher and school assistants had placed a pupil in isolation and deprived them of food until they started eating their faeces and urine, according to court documents.

A school spokesperson said the two teaching assistants were placed on administrative leave whilst police investigated the allegations.

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However, LaPointe had recently been working as a teacher for Bonnie P. Hopper Primary School in Houston, Texas – despite being under investigation.

The primary school sent parents an email on November 17 informing them the teacher had been arrested.

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It said: “In an effort of full transparency, we want to inform our families of an incident that occurred yesterday during dismissal.

Certified French Tutor in Nigeria with Years of Experience – Ms Blessing Akpan

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“A teacher at Bonnie P. Hopper Primary School was arrested yesterday by Liberty County constables.

“The cause for arrest occurred in Liberty County and is not affiliated with Goose Creek CISD in any way.

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“The teacher is currently placed on administrative leave with pay, pending the outcome of an investigation, after which the District will take appropriate disciplinary action.

“As this is a pending legal matter, Goose Creek CISD will allow the legal process to proceed and refrain from further comment.

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“We want to ensure our families that the safety and security of your children is our 1 concern. We thank you for your continuous support of our campus and our district.”

The email led to furious parents questioning why their children were allowed to be taught by LaPointe given an investigation into her conduct at her former school was taking place.

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Amanda Henry, who has a six-year-old daughter at the school, told ABC 13 : “I am scared to send my daughter to school.

“You are supposed to send them there to be protected, and they hire this lady who apparently they did not do an extensive background check on and hurt a child, left this child locked up in a room, having to eat his own faeces and drink his own urine. It’s disturbing.”

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The school tried to reassure parents but failed to address why she was allowed to teach whilst under investigation.

A spokesperson for Goose Creek said: “We immediately reported the matter to law enforcement and CPS, removed the educators who continued to work for us from the classroom, and conducted a comprehensive investigation.

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“Based upon our investigation, we reported the educators to the State Board for Educator Certification and shared our results with law enforcement officials.”

According to LaPointe’s education certificate, she had an investigatory flag on her file, the Texas Education Agency said.

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Foreign

Adolf Hitler was a demonic figure – Joe Biden

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*Calls out antisemitism after Kanye West’s ‘I like Hitler’ comment

By Francesca Iwambe

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The United States President Joe Biden has called on political leaders to reject antisemitism “wherever it hides”.

He made the call on Twitter, a day after rapper Kanye West went on a tirade praising Adolf Hitler and Nazis.

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Biden wrote in a tweet: “I just want to make a few things clear: The Holocaust happened. Hitler was a demonic figure. And instead of giving it a platform, our political leaders should be calling out and rejecting antisemitism wherever it hides. Silence is complicity.”

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Kate Middleton wears Meghan and Harry’s ‘Montecito mansion on her neck’ at Earthshot Prize ceremony

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By Francesca Iwambe

Kate Middleton looked spectacular as she arrived to attend the Earthshot Prize ceremony in Boston along with husband Prince William.

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The Princess of Wales was spotted wearing a necklace worth more than $15 million at the ceremony.

Reports have it that the dazzling deco choker was gifted to Diana by Queen Elizabeth who inherited it from her grandmother Queen Mary.

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It is pertinent to mention here that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle purchased their Montecito mansion for $14.7 million.

“She’s wearing the Montecito mansion on her neck,” a royal fan quipped.

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Harry and Meghan live in their stunning house which is only a six-minute drive from Oprah’s Promised Land estate.

In mid-June 2020, Meghan and Harry purchased their multimillion-dollar estate in Santa Barbara County for $14.7 million (£12.8m).

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Since stepping back from official duties and making America their home have relocated to a beautiful mansion in Montecito, Santa Barbara where they are raising their two children, Lilibet and Archie.

The Earthshot ceremony where Billie Eilish will lead a lineup including Annie Lennox, Ellie Goulding and the Beyoncé proteges Chloe x Halle performing at the MGM Music Hall in Boston, will bring to a close the Waleses’ first visit to the US in eight years.

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