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Zimbabwe opposition leader Roy Bennett dies in U.S. helicopter crash.

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Exiled Zimbabwe opposition leader Roy Bennett and four other people were killed in a helicopter crash in a remote northern part of the U.S. state of New Mexico, officials and his political party said on Thursday.

The crash of a private Huey helicopter in rugged terrain near Raton, New Mexico, on Wednesday evening killed Bennett, 60, along with his wife, Heather Bennett, 55, James Coleman Dodd, 57, of Colorado, Charles Ryland Burnett, 61, of Texas and Paul Cobb, 67, of Texas, New Mexico State Police said.

Bennett, a former treasurer general of the opposition MDC party, was an important figure in Zimbabwean politics and served time in prison under former President Robert Mugabe. He recently told CNN that his country would never again let itself be ruled by a dictatorship.

“Roy was a resolute and committed fighter for democratic change in Zimbabwe,” the MDCsaid in a statement.

The party described Bennett as a charismatic grassroots politician and successful farmer in the country’s eastern Chimanimani District. He was fluent in Zimbabwe’s Shona language, it said, and had helped hundreds of impoverished villagers pay school fees for their children.

Though white, Bennett fought for the rights of black Zimbabweans, the party said, and had the nickname “Pachedu,” a Shona word that translates as “together” or “one of us.”

Tributes to the fallen leader are being shared on social media.

Crime

Kenyan Bishop Bags 75 Years Jail Term For Defiling Three Girls

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A bishop accused of defiling three girls he was living with at an orphanage, infecting one of them with HIV has now sentenced to 75 years in prison.



Kisumu Resident Magistrate Pauline Mbulika found him guilty of three counts of defilement and deliberate transmission of HIV.

Joseph Agutu had promised to sponsor the minors before he started defiling them.

Agutu who hid his face from the cameras as police escorted him out of the solitary cell to Kodiaga Maximum Prison, had maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings.

He was charged with committing the crime against the girls between April and July 2016. One of the girls is aged 14 while two are 15 years old.

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The court heard that the accused intentionally committed the crime and deliberately infected one of the minors with HIV.

The accused also reportedly touched the girls inappropriately on various dates between April and July 12, 2016. In addition, Agutu also faced an alternative charge of touching the private parts of the minors.

Four prosecution witnesses pointed an accusing finger to the Bishop with the minors recounting the sexual encounters that the man subjected them to.

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One of the minors who is an orphan painfully narrated to the court how the bishop lured her and her grandmother to the trap.

“My grandmother brought me to him and he promised to sponsor my education. My grandmother went back home and left me with him at the church,” said the minor.

After a while, she told the court, the bishop defiled her and called the other girl and defiled them too as she slept on the floor. She said they were crying throughout the ordeal.

The court heard that the following morning the bishop refused to allow them to go to school but instead ordered them to go to church.

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Business

Mitsubishi exits thermal coal sector, sells stakes in Australia mines

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Japan’s Mitsubishi has said it will sell its stakes in two Australian thermal coal mines for A$750-million, a move that means its exit from upstream thermal coal amid growing pressure from environmental activists.




The stake sales comes as a growing number of companies and pension funds across the globe are divesting assets or companies that generate revenues from fossil fuels, particularly coal.

Thermal coal, used to power turbines to produce electricity, has fallen out of favour with investors worried about pollution and greenhouse gases.

Mitsubishi will sell its 31.4% stake in Clermont coal mine to a joint venture between Glencore and Sumitomo, and its 10% stake in Ulan coal mine to Glencore, it said in a statement.

The deals are aimed at optimising its asset portfolio, Mitsubishi said.

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For Mitsubishi, which decided to sell its interest in two other thermal coal mines in Australia last year, the latest deals will mean an exit from thermal coal operations, although its coking coal operation will remain a key asset for the trading house.

The Clermont deal, expected to be completed in 2019, will bring the Glencore-Sumitomo joint venture’s stake in the mine to nearly 81.5%, Sumitomo said in a separate statement.

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“The acquisition will allow us to continue stable supply of high-quality thermal coal to our existing customers, including Japanese utilities,” a Sumitomo spokesman said.

Sumitomo’s share of the Clermont purchase means it will pay about 23-billion yen for a 15.7% stake in the mine, he said.

Sumitomo has no plans to invest in any new development projects for thermal coal mines, given the serious concerns over climate change, the spokesman said.

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