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Australian PM Refuses To Cede Power, Offers Possible Second Leadership Ballot

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Australian PM Refuses To Cede Power

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stubbornly clung to power on Thursday as senior ministers deserted him, saying he would hold a second leadership vote on Friday only if he received a letter signed by the majority of the ruling party.

Former home affairs minister Peter Dutton narrowly lost a challenge against Turnbull on Tuesday and has declared he would again contest a Liberal party leadership vote, while Australian media reported the country’s treasurer and foreign minister will also be candidates if a vote is called.

Key Turnbull supporter Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said Turnbull no longer had majority party support and that Dutton was now the best person to lead the conservative government to the next election, due by May 2019.

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Several ministers have tendered their resignation. The leadership crisis saw the government adjourn parliament on Thursday until September.

Turnbull said if he received a letter requesting a fresh vote with the signatures of 43 Liberal Party lawmakers, he would call a party meeting for midday Friday (0200 GMT). If a leadership spill motion was then passed, he would not stand in the vote.

Australian media reported on Thursday that Treasurer Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will contest for the top job if a meeting is convened.

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Morrison has been a Turnbull supporter, but has reportedly long held ambitions on the prime ministership.

Bishop, foreign minister for almost five years, has been deputy leader of the Liberal Party since 2007.

Whoever emerges as Australia’s next prime minister, they will become the country’s sixth prime minister in less than a decade. None of those, which includes two stints for Labor leader Kevin Rudd, have served a full term in office.

“Australians will be rightly appalled by what they are witnessing in their parliament,” Turnbull told reporters in Canberra.

The political revolving door has angered and frustrated voters and the business sector.

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The political uncertainty clouded the outlook for investors who punished the Australian dollar, sending it 0.9 percent lower to $0.7283. The Aussie was the worst performing major currency on Thursday.

Australian shares slipped 0.3 percent.

“For everybody in the country what is happening in Canberra is disappointing and frustrating. Business likes certainty and confidence in what happens in the future. Anytime we see uncertainty like what is happening in Canberra it is not helpful,” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.

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Deputy Secretary Sullivan To Visit South Africa and Angola

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Deputy Secretary Sullivan To Visit South Africa and Angola

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, John Sullivan is visiting South Africa and Angola this week.  Although the aim is to strengthen bilateral relations with the two countries, it is believed when he meets with South Africa, the contentious Venezuela vote in the United Nations will come up.

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South Africa voted against a US resolution in the UN Security Council that Venezuela’s opposition leader, Juan Guaido, should be recognized as president until elections are held. In other words, South Africa voted against removing Nicolas Maduro as Venezuelan president.

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On the Angolan side, the U.S. commends the country’s new President Joao Lourenco for stamping out corruption.  Sullivan will also discuss strengthening bilateral ties with the nation.

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Kenya: Fire Razes Section Of Toi Market In Kibera

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Kenya: Fire Razes Section Of Toi Market In Kibera

A huge fire has razed a section of Toi market in Kibera, some seven kilometers from Nairobi’s central business district.

Witnesses say the fire broke out at about 3a.m. local time on Tuesday and, within three hours, it had reduced to ashes property worth millions of shillings.

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At the same time, the flames had spread fast.  Shanties, including those in residential areas, were said to have smouldered after being burnt to the ground.

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The open-air market, famous for used clothes, fresh produce, artefacts and toys, is located on the outskirts of Kibera Slum, one of the biggest informal settlements in Africa.

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The market is a meeting place for thousands of buyers and sellers, but it has suffered devastating fire incidents every year since 2014.

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Singapore: Jewel Changi Airport To Open Next Month

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Singapore: Jewel Changi Airport To Open Next Month

The wait is finally over for travelers who frequently fly into Singapore’s Changi Airport.

More than five years since revealing plans for the airport’s stunning new addition, officials have announced that the “Jewel Changi Airport” complex will open to the public in the first week of next month.

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The distinctive doughnut-shaped jewel is first and foremost a central hub in connecting three of Changi Airport’s current four terminals.

Conceived by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie as a new “magical garden,” Jewel Changi Airport is nearly one and a half million square feet.  It is reported to have cost a whopping one and a quarter billion dollars to build.

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