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WHO chief reverses Mugabe ambassador appointment

The head of the World Health Organization on Sunday reversed his decision to name Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador, following widespread uproar.

“Over the last few days, I have reflected on my appointment of H.E.President Robert Mugabe as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for (Non-communicable diseases) in Africa. As a result I have decided to rescind the appointment” the head of the UN agency, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in a statement.

© AFP Phill Magakoe 

© AFP Phill Magakoe 

Catalonia weighs options as Spain ups the stakes

Catalonia’s separatists were planning their response Sunday after Spain took drastic steps to stop the region from breaking away by dissolving its separatist government and forcing new elections.

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and his regional executive — who sparked Spain’s worst political crisis in decades by holding a banned independence referendum on October 1 — will be stripped of their jobs and their ministries taken over under measures announced Saturday by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

© AFP LLUIS GENE

© AFP LLUIS GENE

Tillerson woos Gulf allies in push to undercut Iran

Top US diplomat Rex Tillerson pursued efforts to curb Iran’s influence in talks with Gulf allies Sunday, but there was scant hope of a breakthrough in attempts to reconcile Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

As well as talks with senior Saudi officials in Riyadh including King Salman, Tillerson attended a landmark meeting between Saudi Arabia and Iraq aimed at upgrading strategic ties between the Arab neighbours.

© POOL Alex Brandon

© POOL Alex Brandon

Astros down Yankees, set World Series clash with Dodgers

The Houston Astros defeated the New York Yankees 4-0 on Saturday to book a Major League Baseball World Series showdown with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

After fending off elimination in game six on Friday, the Astros won the best-of-seven American League Championship Series four-games-to-three to reach the World Series for the second time in club history.

© GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA Bob Levey

© GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA Bob Levey

Former presidents take stage at hurricane benefit concert

All five of America’s living former presidents took the stage Saturday at a benefit concert in Texas to raise money for victims of the hurricane-ravaged southern United States and Caribbean.

Former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W.Bush and Jimmy Carter appeared together onstage at Texas A&M , praising Americans for their willingness to help fellow citizens and urging them to do more.

AFP PHOTO / JIM CHAPIN

AFP PHOTO / JIM CHAPIN