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Why oil collapse is forcing Saudi Arabia to cut back on its checkbook diplomacy

On March 5, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister announced that the kingdom would complete a $4 billion arms deal with France, but instead of sending the weapons to Lebanon — as was first planned — the arms would go to the Saudi military. The kingdom cancelled the grants to arm the Lebanese Army and security forces with French weapons after the Lebanese government failed to condemn an attack in January against the Saudi embassy in Iran. Saudi officials blamed the Shi’ite group Hezbollah, Lebanon’s most powerful militia and political movement, for exerting too much control over the Lebanese government and moving the country closer to Iran.

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Sudan Threatens to Close Border with South Sudan Again

Sudan is threatening to close its border with South Sudan and deport more than 300,000 South Sudanese students on grounds that the South is supporting rebels fighting the government of President Omar al-Bashir. Ibrahim Mohamud Hamid, a senior assistant to Bashir, aired the accusation and warnings on Thursday. South Sudan’s Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin denied his government is supporting rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, or SPLA North, who are fighting the Sudanese government in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

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South Sudan Troops Suffocated 60 Men, Boys, Amnesty Reports

The global human rights watchdog Amnesty International has accused South Sudan military forces of suffocating 60 men and boys in a shipping container. In a report released Thursday, the London-based organization called for the perpetrators to be prosecuted. Amnesty International says that in October 2015, government soldiers rounded up more than 60 men and boys in Leer, a town in the northern Unity state, and locked them in a shipping container on the grounds of a Catholic church.

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Australian Navy Intercepts Fishing Boat Carrying 2,000 Guns And Ammunition To Somalia – Vessel A Part Of Major Illegal Arms Trade?

A huge cache of 2,000 guns was found on a fishing boat by the Australian Navy. It is believed the Somalia-bound dinghy could be part of major illegal arms trade, meant to supply arms to the war-torn country. A fishing boat ferrying more than 2,000 weapons, hidden under fishing nets, was intercepted by Australian Navy. The weapons cache included assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and mortar tubes. The boat was headed to Somalia and may be part of a larger network of vessels that regularly supply arms to the country that has been barred from buying weapons.

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Progress Africa: Private Aviation Company Launches Ethiopia’s First Air Ambulance Service!

East African Aviation, a private company, has inaugurated Ethiopia’s first ambulance transportation service.The Company owned by Captain Mulat Lemlemayehu, a former commercial pilot at the Ethiopian airlines, also inaugurated its newly established aviation school and air charter service at a ceremony later Thursday in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa. East African Aviation has become the first aviation company in East African region to provide air ambulance transportation, flight training and private charter services all in one place.

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