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DR Congo is Cursed by its natural wealth

The Democratic Republic of Congo is potentially one of the richest countries on earth, but colonialism, slavery and corruption have turned it into one of the poorest, writes historian Dan Snow.

The world’s bloodiest conflict since World War II is still rumbling on today.

It is a war in which more than five million people have died, millions more have been driven to the brink by starvation and disease and several million women and girls have been raped.

The Great War of Africa, a conflagration that has sucked in soldiers and civilians from nine nations and countless armed rebel groups, has been fought almost entirely inside the borders of one unfortunate country – the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Indonesia halts Australia co-operation amid spying row

Indonesia has suspended co-ordinated military co-operation with Australia amid an ongoing row over reports Canberra spied on Jakarta officials.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the suspension included operations to stop people-smuggling, joint military exercises and intelligence exchange.

The move came after Jakarta recalled its ambassador from Canberra on Monday.

Reports of the spying allegations came out in Australian media from documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

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Baghdad struck by deadly bomb blasts

At least 29 people have been killed and dozens wounded in a series of bomb attacks in mostly Shia areas of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, officials say.

The deadliest attack was in the central Sadriya district, where a car bomb was detonated at an crowded market.

Bombs exploded at around the same time on busy streets in the Shaab, Tobchi, Karrada, Azamiya and Amil areas.

Sectarian violence has surged across the country in recent months, reaching its highest level since 2008.

The UN says 979 people – including 158 police and 127 military personnel – were killed in violent attacks in October. More than 6,500 civilians have died since January.

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Republican congressman Trey Radel admits cocaine charge

A Republican congressman has been sentenced to one year’s probation after pleading guilty to cocaine possession.

First-term Florida Representative Trey Radel, 37, learned his fate at a Washington DC court.

The father of one said he was “disappointed” with himself. He had faced a maximum sentence of 180 days in jail and a $1,000 (£620) fine.

Radel admitted purchasing 3.5g (0.12oz) of the drug from an undercover agent on 29 October.

Federal officials told Radel he would face criminal charges the same evening.

The charges were made public on Tuesday.

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US urged to consider Plan B to force Bahrain reforms

A human rights group has urged the US to consider using the threat of removing the strategically vital Fifth Fleet from Bahrain as leverage to push for reform in the Gulf island kingdom that has been wracked by more than two years of anti-government unrest.

The Washington-based Human Rights First argues in a report released on Friday that the US government should “develop a new strategy and publically inform the Bahraini government that the future of the Fifth Fleet requires political and social stability”.

The Fifth Fleet, as well as US Naval Forces Central Command, are headquartered at a sprawling facility called Naval Support Activity-Bahrain. It is home to a carrier strike group, an amphibious ready group, and about 5,000 US personnel.

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