Democratic Republic of Congo goes to the polls
KINSHASA • The Democratic Republic of Congo started voting yesterday for a successor to long-serving President Joseph Kabila after a tense campaign the opposition said was marred by crackdowns and disruptions.
Mr Kabila's handpicked successor, Mr Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, is running for the ruling coalition and faces strong challenges from opposition alliances headed by Mr Felix Tshisekedi and Mr Martin Fayulu.
The current President, in power for almost 18 years, is barred by the Constitution from running for a third term, having won elections in 2006 and 2011. Voters will also select national and provincial lawmakers.
Rare Madagascar birds given new home
ANTANANARIVO (Madagascar) • One of the rarest birds in the world, thought to be extinct just over a decade ago, has been given a new home.
Twenty-one Madagascar pochards now live on Lake Sofia, a remote lake in the north. The birds, which hatched in October, spent a week in aviaries on the lake, before they were released.
According to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, the pochards adapted quickly to the lake, associating with other wild ducks and returning to the floating aviaries to feed and roost.
Madagascar pochards were thought to be extinct for 15 years, until a group of ducks was discovered in 2006.
Choo Yun Ting
Monk's traffic ticket for driving in robe causes stir
FUKUI (Japan) • A case in which a Buddhist monk was given a traffic ticket for driving in a ritual robe that allegedly interfered with his safe driving has caused a stir, as the monk and his sect oppose such regulations, saying the rules would stop their daily activities.
The incident turns on prefectural traffic regulations, which prohibit driving in clothing that could affect safe driving. However, many monks drive in their robes on a daily basis.
The violation written on the ticket was "driving in kimono that could affect safe driving".
The monk, who is in his 40s, has refused to pay the fine of 6,000 yen (S$74).