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ONE-MINUTE READS … News from around the world | News

***USE MANDELA PIC AS STAND ALONE**

USA

Clothes renting business booming

Renting clothes could be the future of fashion – or it could just be a fad. But traditional retailers can no longer afford to wait on the sidelines to find out. That’s why a growing number are now offering customers the option to rent clothes for a monthly fee instead of buying them.

Bloomingdale’s, Banana Republic and Urban Outfitters are the latest to offer the services. Even footwear chain Designer Brands says it’s considering launching a rental service for shoes. Now a booming US$1 billion business, the clothing rental sector is expected to reach $2.5 billion by 2023, according to research firm GlobalData.

MALI

Deadly cycles of violence plagues West African country

Islamic militants and ethnic-based militias killed more than 450 civilians in central Mali last year, making it the deadliest year in the region since the country’s crisis began in 2012, Human Rights Watch said in a new report yesterday.

Militants have even begun pulling men off of public transport based on their ethnicity and killing them, the group said, underscoring how Islamic extremists have inflamed tensions between communities that long lived in relative peace.

“Armed groups are killing, maiming, and terrorising communities throughout central Mali with no apparent fear of being held to account,” said Corinne Dufka, West Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The human toll in shattered lives is mounting as the deadly cycles of violence and revenge continue.”

CHINA

China reported a rise in new virus cases yesterday, denting optimism that disease control measures including isolating major cities might be working, while the operator of a cruise ship in Japan reported dozens of new cases.

Britain declared the virus an “imminent threat” and said it would forcibly detain infected people if necessary. France tested 45 children and their parents after five British tourists contracted the virus at a ski resort.

The mainland death toll rose by 97 to 908 in the 24 hours through midnight Sunday and 3,062 new cases were reported. That was up 15 per cent from Saturday and broke a string of daily declines. The fatality toll has passed the 774 people believed to have died in the 2002-03 epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome, another viral outbreak that originated in China. The total of 40,171 cases on the mainland vastly exceeds the 8,098 sickened by SARS.

More than 440 cases have been confirmed outside mainland China, including two deaths in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

SUDAN

President shamed with ‘spoiler of peace’ award

South Sudan President Salva Kiir on Monday was named the top “spoiler of peace” in a new award that seeks to shame him and others into taking serious steps to end bloody conflict in the world’s youngest country.

Kiir and rival leader Riek Machar are under growing pressure to form a coalition Government this month, the significant next step in a fragile peace deal signed in 2018 to end a five-year civil war that killed nearly 400,000 people. The deadline has been extended twice and the international community is signalling impatience.

Now a Uganda-based group, Atrocities Watch Africa, is citing Kiir and others for their roles in the conflict that also has displaced at least two million people. Many fled to Uganda.

The “spoiler of peace” award citation accuses Kiir of being unwilling to compromise on major issues needed to form the coalition Government. It also asserts that under his command and control, Government-backed fighters killed thousands of people and committed atrocities such as looting and razing villages.

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