Military in Zimbabwe’s capital after army chief’s threat
HARARE, Zimbabwe — At least three explosions were heard in Zimbabwe’s capital early Wednesday and military vehicles were seen in the streets after the army commander threatened to “step in” to calm political tensions over 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe’s possible successor. The ruling party accused the commander of “treasonable conduct.”
The Associated Press saw armed soldiers assaulting passers-by in the early morning hours in Harare, as well as soldiers loading ammunition near a group of four military vehicles. The explosions could be heard near the University of Zimbabwe campus.
Those developments came several hours after The Associated Press on Tuesday saw three armored personnel carriers with several soldiers in a convoy heading toward an army barracks just outside the capital. For the first time, this southern African nation is seeing an open rift between the military and Mugabe, the world’s oldest head of state who has ruled since independence from white minority rule in 1980. The military has been a key pillar of his power.
Mugabe last week fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and accused him of plotting to take power, including through witchcraft. Mnangagwa, who enjoyed the military’s backing and once was seen as a potential president, fled the country and said he had been threatened.
Iran to probe state-built homes destroyed by deadly quake
SARPOL-E-ZAHAB, Iran — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani launched an investigation Tuesday into why government housing built by his hard-line predecessor collapsed while others withstood a powerful earthquake near the border with Iraq that killed more than 530 people.
In the Kurdish town of Sarpol-e-Zahab, which was reconstructed in the decades since the 1980s war with Iraq, the outer walls of apartment complexes tumbled away in the magnitude 7.3 earthquake Sunday night. The housing was built as a part of the “Mehr” or “kindness” project of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Some now-homeless survivors simply wept outside, while others angrily showed Associated Press journalists the destruction done by the quake.
Key UN committee condemns North Korea for not aiding people
UNITED NATIONS — A key U.N. committee approved a resolution Tuesday condemning North Korea for diverting its resources to pursue nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles instead of helping its people, over half of whom need more food and improved medical care.
The resolution sponsored by the European Union and Japan was adopted without a vote by the General Assembly’s human rights committee. It has 61 cosponsors — two more than last year — and now goes to the 193-member assembly which is certain to adopt it in December.
Estonia’s deputy U.N. ambassador Minna-Liina Lind, speaking on behalf of the EU, accused North Korea of committing serious human rights violations “in a widespread and systematic way,” including by its “inhumane conditions in detention camps.”