Darfur rebels ‘seize’ Sudan army base

Updated 24 November 2012
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Darfur rebels ‘seize’ Sudan army base

KHARTOUM: Sudanese rebels have seized an army compound in the Darfur region, the insurgents said on Saturday, after peacekeepers expressed concern over escalating violence.
The pre-dawn attack happened on Friday about five kilometers northeast of Kebkabiya in North Darfur state, said Ibrahim Al-Hillu, spokesman for the Sudan Liberation Army’s Abdelwahid Nur faction.
“We captured the compound and all the equipment inside, with five on our side wounded,” he told AFP from his base in France.
Hillu added that the rebels then repulsed a government counter-attack and are now “counting their bodies.”
Sudan’s army spokesman could not be reached for comment.
Kebkabiya is about 150 kilometers west of El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state where violence has surged.
Earlier this month, the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said “escalating violence has become a matter of grave concern.”
Since July, civilians have been increasingly at risk from inter-communal fighting, harassment by militia groups and sporadic clashes between rebels and government troops, particularly in North Darfur, UN chief Ban Ki-moon said in October.
The Nur faction has several hundred combatants and a “sphere of influence” limited to the mountainous Jebel Marra area, south of Kebkabiya, said a July report by the Small Arms Survey, a Swiss-based independent research project.
The fertile Jebel Marra is home to the non-Arab Fur people who gave their name to Darfur (Land of the Fur).
Government military operations and air attacks have regularly targeted the area, the Small Arms Survey said.
Government forces are now massing for a new attack on eastern Jebel Marra, according to Hillu.
Although down from its peak, violence persists in Darfur nine years after Nur and other ethnic minority rebels rose against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government, which they want to overthrow.
Impoverished Darfur is also dealing with a rare outbreak of yellow fever that health officials say is suspected of killing 127 people in the region since early September.


Animation film fest rescinds Kobe Bryant invite after outcry

Updated 38 min 9 sec ago
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Animation film fest rescinds Kobe Bryant invite after outcry

  • In 2003, Bryant was charged with raping a 19-year-old hotel employee
  • An online petition had been circulating demanding Bryant be dropped

LOS ANGELES: Kobe Bryant was dropped Wednesday from the jury of an animated film festival after calls for the former NBA star’s ouster over a 2003 rape allegation.
Eric Beckman the CEO of GKIDS, the company that organizes the Animation Is Film Festival, announced the move.
“After discussions with the various stakeholders of Animation Is Film, the decision has been made to remove Kobe Bryant from the 2018 jury, Beckman said in a statement. “We are a young organization and it is important to keep our collective energies focused on the films, the participating filmmakers, and our festival attendees.”
An online petition had been circulating demanding Bryant be dropped.
Bryant won an Academy Award in March for his part in making the animated short, “Dear Basketball” and has founded an animation company, Granity Studios.
He released a statement saying he was honored to be invited and disappointed to be excluded.
“This decision further motivates me and my commitment to building a studio that focuses on diversity and inclusion in storytelling for the animation industry,” Bryant’s statement said. “I remain focused on changing the world in positive ways through diverse stories, characters, and leadership, in order to inspire the next generation.”
In 2003, Bryant was charged with raping a 19-year-old hotel employee.
The Lakers star said he believed it was a consensual sexual encounter. The case was dropped after Bryant’s accuser refused to testify.
She later filed a civil suit against him, which was settled out of court with Bryant admitting no guilt.