H&M stores stormed in Africa over 'monkey in the jungle' sweatshirt ad: Members of a South African opposition party stormed into some H&M stores across the country on Saturday to protest a promotional image of a black child wearing a sweatshirt with the words “Coolest monkey in the jungle.” Local media reports said the Economic Freedom Fighters urged shopping malls to evict the Swedish clothing retailer, which has apologized after an outcry in other countries. People have called the image racist and inappropriate. Television footage showed clothing in one of the South African stores scattered everywhere. H&M in South Africa says it had removed the sweatshirt from sale. “We have got this wrong and we are deeply sorry,” a message on its South African website says. EFF leader Julius Malema said he doesn’t regret taking the action Saturday, the South African Broadcasting Corporation reported.
Ethiopia to release all political prisoners: Ethiopia's prime minister has announced the release of all political prisoners and the closure of a notorious detention centre which allegedly used torture to extract confessions. Hailemariam Desalegn told a press conference charges would also be dropped for those still awaiting trial. The move is designed to allow political dialogue, he said. Ethiopia is accused by human rights groups of using mass arrests and detention to stifle opposition. The country declared a state of emergency in 2016, following a year of protest calling for political and economic reforms, which prompted a crackdown. Mr Hailemariam's announcement included the closure of Maekelawi - a detention facility at the centre of the torture allegations, which have been denied by the government. According to Ethiopian newspaper the Addis Standard, the prison will become a "modern museum". A new detention centre will be opened, Mr Hailemariam said, which would comply with international standards. It is unclear exactly what prompted the decisions, which came after days of consultations within the ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). However, the Addis Standard links it to two days of action across social media at the end of December, raising awareness of the plight of political prisoners. (BBC online)
Swedish politics - Moderaterna make big gains in opinion polls: The biggest oppostion party in the Swedish parliament reached 22.2 per cent in the latest poll of political sympathies. This is an increase of 4.1 percentage units from the last SCB poll. Miljöpartiet is under the cut-off for a place in parliament at only 3.8 per cent. Kristdemokraterna also remain outside parliament with their 3.1 percent. The anti-immigrant Sverigedemokraterna noted a backslide of 3.6 percentage units but still have a healthy 14.8 percent of voter sympathy. Socialdemokraterna remain the biggest party in the country with 32,6 per cent. This is an increade of 1.5 percentage units from the last measure. Vänsterpartiet also increased its share to 7.0 per cent. All these mean the ruling coalition of S and MP will together get 36.4 per cent of the votes if there is an election today. This figure is higher if V is counted in the red-green coalition that is now ruling Sweden. This is bigger than the total of the Allianspartierna that now form the opposition block in Riksdagen, the Swedish parliament.
World Cup 2018 - Africa's groups: Africa's five representatives to next year's World Cup Finals in Russia found themselves in the last two seeding groups and were each drawn against, on paper, tougher opponents in the group games. Ghana's conquerors in the qualifying games, Egypt, were drawn in Group A with hosts Russia, Uruguay and Saudi Arabia. The play their first game against Suarez's Uruguay on June 15th and should have a good chance of qualifying if they beat the South Americans. Morocco was drawn in Group B with Portugal, Spain and Iran. Nigeria found itself in Group D with Argentina, Croatia and Iceland. Group G comprises Belgium, England, Tunisia and Panama whiles Senegal is grouped with Poland, Colombia and Japan in Group H. Each of the African countries has a good chance of qualifying from the group games. The Swedes consider themselves as having been drawn in a tough group that has defending champions, Brazil, as well as Mexico and South Korea. The games are half a year away giving a lot of time for teams to develop and bring in new players.
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