Sudan referendum: early results show vote for split

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Early results from Southern Sudan’s referendum indicate the region has voted overwhelmingly to split from the north and form a new country. Full results of the poll are not due until next month, but the region is widely expected to choose to secede. Southern Sudanese people living in Europe have already voted 97% in favour of a new state. Read more at BBC.

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Tunisia gripped by uncertainty

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Bands of looters go on the rampage while a fire in a prison apparently linked to the violence kills 42 inmates. Armed militias have taken to the streets of Tunisia following the toppling of longtime ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, sowing fear among the population as the country’s new leadership attempts to bring order and form a coalition government. Looting and deadly prison riots have erupted throughout the country after mass protests forced Ben Ali, who had been in power since 1987, to flee to Saudi Arabia. “There is a real sense of fear right now on the streets,” said Al Jazeera’s Nazanine Moshiri, reporting from Tunis, the capital. Read more at aljazeera.

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France pledges reform after diabetes drug scandal

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French Health Minister Xavier Bertrand has promised a complete revamp of the country’s medical regulatory system. He was speaking after an official report said a diabetes drug which caused up to 2,000 deaths should have been banned 10 years earlier. The drug – known as Mediator – should have been banned as early as 1999, when it began to emerge that it could cause heart disease, the report said. Several other European countries and the US then withdrew it. Read more at BBC.

French prison head Goncalves suspended over Halimi girl

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A French prison chief has been suspended over an alleged affair he had with a woman used as bait for a notorious anti-Semitic gang murder. Prosecutors said Florent Goncalves, head of Versailles women’s prison, was placed under investigation for passing money and other items to the inmate. He is also accused of conducting a sexual relationship with her. Read more at BBC.

Facebook used to trace Holloway would-be rapist

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A man who was traced on Facebook by a woman after he told her his first name has been found guilty of trying to rape her following a retrial. Alpha Gray, 30, of Holloway, north London, denied attacking the woman, who is in her 20s, in Tufnell Park in May. The victim, who suffered bruises and a bleeding ear, said she found him on Facebook after Gray told her his name, age and the area he lived in. Gray will be sentenced on 11 February at the Old Bailey. Read more at BBC.

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