War Criminal Kills Himself in Court

A convicted Bosnian Croat war criminal has died from drinking poison after the UN’s International Court of Justice, known as The Hague, upheld his sentence.

Slobodan Praljak was appealing the 20-year sentence he was given for his crimes in the city of Mostar, during the Bosnian war, from 1992 to 1995.

The courtroom was thrown into chaos when the 72-year-old chose to end his own life, in front of the panel of judges who had, moments before, overturned his appeal.

Before drinking the poison, Praljak shouted defiantly: “Judges, Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal, with disdain I reject your verdict!”

Presiding Judge Carmel Agius immediately halted proceedings and the former war general was rushed to a nearby hospital. Praljak was pronounced dead a few hours later.

An investigation will be launched into who supplied him with the poison, and how he managed to smuggle the bottle into the UN’s highest court.

The UN announced that the courtroom has been declared “a crime scene”.

Praljak was convicted for breaching the Geneva convention, violating the laws or customs of war, and committing crimes against humanity.

During 1993, General Praljak was in charge of the Dretelj concentration camp, known for its brutality and inhumane conditions.

Praljak, arrested in 2004, had already served more than two-thirds of his sentence, and it’s likely he would have been released soon.

Image: Praljak drinks poison [online image] (2017) sourced on 30 November 2017 http://www.afr.com/content/dam/images/g/z/v/k/6/v/image.related.afrArticleLead.620×350.gzvk61.png/1512023370283.jpg

Disney Casts “Mulan”

Walt Disney Studios has cast Chinese actress Crystal Liu Yifei in the title role of their upcoming live-action version of “Mulan”.

The 30-year-old is already well known in China as an actress, model and singer, and has starred alongside huge names, such as Jackie Chan and Nicolas Cage.

The upcoming film is inspired by the poem “Ballad of Mulan”, in which a young woman pretends to be a man to take her father’s place in the army. The poem also inspired Disney’s 1998 animated musical version.

Disney reportedly searched for a year to find the right Mulan and considered nearly 1000 different actresses for the role.

Yifei has been acting for more than a decade, and won the Golden Lotus Award for Best Actress at the Macau International Movie Festival in 2013.

Several Hollywood studios have faced backlash in recent years for casting white performers to play characters originally intended to be people of colour. Her casting has been hailed as a victory for diversity.

Disney’s live-action Mulan is set for release in 2019.

5 Surprising Benefits of Garlic

While garlic has a bad reputation for giving people smelly breath, it actually has a number of surprising health benefits. Here’s why you should be using or chomping down on some garlic – just make sure you won’t be smooching anyone right after:

1. Garlic contains a compound called “allicin” which is a natural antibiotic. It boosts your body’s natural defenses, giving you immune system support.

2. Garlic is a natural pain killer. You can apply it topically to the skin to reduce the pain and itching of insect bites or rashes. Simply cut a clove in half and rub the cut side onto the area.

3. Many studies have shown that garlic can help protect your body form various types of cancers, such as colon, breast and prostate cancer. Garlic contains chemicals that may actually block cancer-activating carcinogens from forming.

4. Garlic is incredibly nutritious and contains very few calories. It contains a little bit of almost everything we need, including manganese, fibre, selenium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C.

5. The active compounds in garlic can reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol. This lowers your risk of heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular diseases.

2018 Grammy Awards: Nominees

The nominations for the 60th Grammy Awards to be held on 28 January 2018 were announced Tuesday morning.

Rapper, and husband to Beyonce, Jay Z led the nominations with a whopping eight nods. The hip hop icon was the only artist to be nominated in the top three categories: Record, Album, and Song of the Year.

Other top nominated artists include Kendrick Lamar, with seven nominations, Bruno Mars, with six nominations, and Childish Gambino, with five nominations.

Overall, the nominees are very male-dominated, with New Zealand’s Lorde as the only woman up for Album of the Year.

Two of the artists nominated for the Best Rock Performance award have received their nods posthumously: Leonard Cohen, who died in November last year was nominated for “You Want it Darker” and Chris Cornell, who committed suicide in May 2017, was nominated for “The Promise”.

Noticeably absent from the main categories were Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Ed Sheeran, surprising many industry observers. Sheeran and Gaga did, however, get nods in the pop categories.

See some of the nominees below:

Record of the Year:
“Redbone” — Childish Gambino
“Despacito” — Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee Featuring Justin Bieber
“The Story Of O.J.” — Jay-Z
“HUMBLE.” — Kendrick Lamar
“24K Magic” — Bruno Mars

Album of the Year:
Awaken, My Love! — Childish Gambino
4:44 — Jay-Z
DAMN. — Kendrick Lamar
Melodrama — Lorde
24K Magic — Bruno Mars

Best New Artist:
Alessia Cara
Lil Uzi Vert
Julia Michaels

Kenya’s Opposition Leader: “I will be president”

Raila Odinga, leader of Kenya’s opposition, told a crowd of supporters that he still intends to be president.

Odinga held an impromptu rally less than an hour after President Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in for a second, five-year term, on Tuesday.

“On December 12, we will have an assembly that will swear me in,” Odinga told his supporters.
Odinga also said that Kenyatta’s presidency is illegitimate.

Opposition supporters gathered along a road in the Nairobi suburb of Eastlands, after police sealed off the area where Odinga had planned to hold a rally earlier in the day.

Shortly after Odinga’s speech, riot police used tear gas to disperse the crowd.

Kenya’s Supreme Court overturned the August presidential election because of irregularities and fraud allegations. A new vote was set for October, but Odinga chose to withdraw, due to a lack of election reform.

Supporters of Kenyatta, who won the election re-run with 98% of the vote after Odinga’s boycott, have urged the opposition to engage in reconciliation talks with the ruling party.

However, Odinga’s National Super Alliance said in a statement: “A return to the political backwardness of our past is more than unacceptable. It is intolerable. This divide cannot be bridged by dialogue and compromise.”

Chelsea’s Goalkeeper: “I’m the best”

Thibaut Courtois, Chelsea’s goalkeeper, said that he feels he is the best goalkeeper in the world, because all players need to have that mindset to succeed.

The 25-year-old Belgian international has had consistently excellent performances for The Blues since returning from Atletico Madrid in 2014, where he was on loan since 2011.

Courtois was a part of the Chelsea squad which clinched the Premier League title in 2015/2016, and 2016/2017.

Courtois told Sky Sports, “Obviously there are other great goalkeepers, so it’s not for me to judge who is the best, but obviously I feel the best because that has to be your mind-set.”

He added: “I try to work every day very hard to become better and better.”

Chelsea management announced recently that they would be re-opening contract talks with Courtois, after negotiations stalled last week.

Courtois became the youngest goalkeeper to represent Belgium in 2011, at the age of 19.

Premier League title holders Chelsea are 11 points behind leaders Manchester City, after roughly a third of the season.

Bali: Volcanic Eruption Wreaks Havoc

Mount Agung in Bali, Indonesia, has begun erupting, leading to mass evacuations, stranded travellers and health concerns.

On Saturday, Mount Agung, which means “The Great Mountain”, started spewing clouds of white and grey volcanic ash up to 4000 metres into the air, as lava was seen welling up in the crater.

Indonesian authorities raised the volcano warning to the highest level on Monday, fearing an imminent major eruption for the first time since 1964.

Over 100 000 people have been instructed to evacuate the area, and Bali’s main airport has been closed.

After 440 flights were cancelled for a second day, approximately 60 000 travellers have been stranded on the island, which is a popular tourist destination.

The airport has been closed because volcanic ash can damage aeroplane engines and cause them to fail. Ash can also clog fuel and cooling systems, and limit pilot visibility.

Besides ash, streams of rock mixed with water known as “lahars” have also been flowing down from the mountain. Officials have warned people to stay away from the lahars.

According to a spokesperson for Indonesia’s national disaster agency, only 29 000 people have moved to shelters thus far. Many residents have refused to evacuate, unwilling to leave their jobs, livestock and fields.

Those still in the area have been given face masks to help protect them from the continuous ash fall, which can severely damage the lungs.

Image: Mount Agung erupting [online image] (2017) sourced on 28 November 2017 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f1/Mount_Agung%2C_November_2017_eruption_-_27_Nov_2017_02.jpg/220px-Mount_Agung%2C_November_2017_eruption_-_27_Nov_2017_02.jpg

Furious EPL Star Wants To Move

Defender David Luiz reportedly wants to join FC Barcelona, following a recent spat with his manager.

Luiz was left out of Chelsea’s side for their important Premier League fixture against Manchester United on 4 November, where Chelsea won 1-0. The Brazilian wasn’t only omitted from Antonio Conte’s starting 11, but from the squad as a whole. This left many a fan confused.

Rumour is that the Italian manager hasn’t been thrilled with the player’s performance in recent weeks, and wants him to improve. Apparently Luiz is fed up with Conte at Chelsea and wants to move to Spanish giants FC Barcelona, who he has been linked with before.

Luiz was accused of questioning Conte’s tactics, and Conte was furious at Luiz for that. Conte took Luiz out of training after just 10 minutes, and watched the rest of the session from the stands.

Luiz has played 12 matches for Chelsea this season, scoring two goals.

Egypt: Mosque Attack Death Toll Rises to 305

Egypt is still reeling from the gun and bomb attack on a mosque in northern Sinai, Egypt, which killed 305 people, and injured 128 people, on Friday.

Several militants surrounded the mosque and unleashed their attack, as the imam was about to deliver his sermon.

The terrorists threw grenades into the mosque and opened fire on approximately 500 worshippers.

According to survivor, Ebid Salem Mansour: “The shooting was random and hysterical at the beginning and then became more deliberate. Whoever they weren’t sure was dead or still breathing was shot dead.”

While no one has yet taken credit for the attack, Egyptian officials believe that the assault was carried out by ISIS. A number of survivors heard the assailants shouting, “Allahu Akbar”, which means, “God is great” in Arabic.

The assault, which is the worst terrorist attack in Egypt’s history, targeted a Sufi mosque. Sufism is a mystic movement within Islam. Islamic militants see Sufis as heretics because of their less literal interpretations of the faith.

President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has vowed that the onslaught “will not go unpunished”, while the Sinai area’s tribal leaders have sworn a blood-feud revenge against those behind the coordinated attack.

Image: Relatives try to find their loved ones amongst the dead [online image] (2017) sourced on 27 November 2017 http://matzav.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/159358350-Egyptmosqueattack_6-696×348.jpg