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Malaysia court released woman falsely accused over the murder of Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s Half-brother.

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A Vietnamese woman who spent more than two years in a Malaysian prison on suspicion of killing the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was released from jail and returned to Vietnam on Friday.

Doan Thi Huong was charged along with an Indonesian woman with poisoning Kim Jong Nam by smearing his face with liquid VX, a banned chemical weapon, at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017.

Malaysian prosecutors dropped a murder charge against Huong last month after she pleaded guilty to an alternate charge of causing harm.

The 30-year-old arrived at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport, just outside the Vietnamese capital, late on Friday, where she spoke to a large group of media gathered inside the terminal building.

“I feel happy when returning to my country,” said Huong, who said she was looking forward to heading to her family home, a small town in the province of Nam Dinh, 130 km (80 miles) from Hanoi.

Ahead of her arrival, Huong’s father, Doan Van Thanh, told Reuters he was planning to celebrate his daughter’s return with a large party in their village.

“We will slaughter some pigs for the party. My daughter particularly likes fried fish, so we will prepare that too,” Thanh said.

In a letter shared by Huong’s lawyers ahead of her departure from Kuala Lumpur, Huong thanked the governments of Vietnam and Malaysia for their support.

Her co-accused, Siti Aisyah, was freed in March after prosecutors also dropped a murder charge against her.

South Korean and U.S. officials have said the North Korean authorities had ordered the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, who had been critical of his family’s dynastic rule. Pyongyang has denied the allegation.

Defense lawyers have maintained the women were pawns in an assassination orchestrated by North Korean agents. The women said they thought they were part of a reality prank show and did not know they were poisoning Kim.

Four North Korean men were also charged but they left Malaysia hours after the murder and remain at large.

Malaysia was criticized for charging the two women with murder – which carries a mandatory death penalty in the Southeast Asian nation – when the key perpetrators were still being sought.

Huong, a keen singer who once appeared on the Vietnam Idol talent show, told reporters she had no plans to return to Malaysia soon, but was considering her future plans.

“I still don’t really know what to do next,” said Huong. “But I think I want to become an actress”.


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24 Hours Across Africa

Israel election: Netanyahu, Gantz battle too close

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Israel’s election was too close to call on Wednesday, with a partial vote tally showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tied with his main rival, former military chief Benny Gantz.

An official result was still hours, perhaps days off. But with more than 63 percent of votes counted, theis  Netanyahu-led right-wing bloc was, as expected, more or less even with Gantz’s center-left.

With no single-party majority in the 120-seat Knesset, or parliament, there will likely be weeks of coalition talks before a new government is formed.

The ballot’s wildcard, former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, emerged as a likely kingmaker as head of the secular-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party.

Lieberman has been pushing for a unity government comprised of the biggest parties. He declined to back Netanyahu’s bid to form a narrow right-wing and religious coalition after an April election, bringing about Tuesday’s unprecedented repeat vote.

Addressing Likud party faithful, Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving premier, sipped water frequently and spoke hoarsely. He made no claim of victory or concession of defeat, saying he would await final results.

His dead-of-night appearance was a far cry from his triumphant – and in the end premature – declaration five months ago that he had won a close election.

Gantz was more upbeat, telling a rally of his Blue and White party that it appeared “we fulfilled our mission”, and he pledged to work toward forming of a unity government.

Reuters

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24 Hours Across Africa

Inflation rate falls to 1.7%

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 The office for National statistics says the consumer price index is 1.7%-down from 2.1% – in August

Head of inflation at ONS Mike Hardie said: “The inflation rate has fallen noticeably into August, to its lowest since late 2016. This was mainly driven by a decrease in computer game prices, plus clothing prices rising by less than year after the end of the summer sales.

“Annual growth in house prices slowed to its lowest rate since September 2012, with four of the nine English regions now seeing prices falling over the year”.

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