By Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete promised to end a wave of killings of albinos, saying the witchcraft-related murders were shaming his east African nation. Activists say attackers have killed at least 75 albinos in Tanzania since 2000 to use their body parts in rituals. "We will not allow things to escalate as they did in previous years," Kikwete said in a national address late on Monday. "I believe that with close cooperation between the government and society, we will succeed in ending these killings of persons with albinism and rid our nation of this shame." There are about 200,000 albinos in Tanzania, most of them easily recognisable as they lack pigment in their skin, eyes and hair. Witch doctors often tell clients that albino body parts will bring them luck in love, life and business. Similar beliefs exist in other African societies, but activists say attacks on albinos are particularly prevalent in Tanzania. "It is a false belief that if someone has the body part of a person with albinism, this will bring success in business, fishing and mining activities.
Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis hit centuries, while Dale Steyn shone in his 100th one-day international, as South Africa showcased their prowess with a 201-run rout of Ireland in the World Cup on Tuesday. Amla scored 159 off 128 balls to become the fastest man to reach 20 ODI centuries and du Plessis made 109 as the Proteas piled up a massive 411 for four after taking first strike at Canberra's Manuka Oval. Steyn put aside worries of mountain fires near his home in Cape Town as he bowled a hostile opening spell to wreck Ireland with two wickets in his first three overs. The fast bowler, who had grabbed just three wickets in South Africa's first three pool matches, finished with two for 39 and Kyle Abbott grabbed four for 21 as Ireland were bundled out for 210 in 45 overs.
By Dan Williams and Doina Chiacu WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will escalate his campaign against U.S. President Barack Obama's Iran diplomacy on Tuesday in a speech to Congress whose staging has put unprecedented stress on the two leaders' already strained ties. Although cold-shouldered by the administration, Netanyahu has offered an olive branch, saying he meant no disrespect to Obama by accepting an invitation to address U.S. lawmakers that was orchestrated by the president's rival Republicans. As many as one-fifth of Democratic members plan to sit out the speech to protest what they see as a politicization of Israeli security, an issue on which Congress usually unites. The White House is wary of Netanyahu using the forum to lay bare the closed-door negotiations designed to curb Iran's nuclear drive.
By Ahmed Rasheed and Dominic Evans BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Thousands of Iraqi soldiers and Shi'ite militiamen sought to seal off Islamic State fighters in Tikrit and nearby towns on Tuesday, the second day of Iraq's biggest offensive yet against a stronghold of the radical Sunni Islamist militants. Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, who has helped coordinate Baghdad's counter-attacks against Islamic State since it seized much of northern Iraq in June, was overseeing at least part of the operation, witnesses told Reuters. His presence on the frontline highlights neighboring Iran's influence over the Shi'ite fighters who have been key to containing the militants in Iraq. In contrast the U.S.-led air coalition which has been attacking Islamic State across Iraq and Syria has not yet played a role in Tikrit, the Pentagon said on Monday, perhaps in part because of the high-level Iranian presence.
By John Geddie LONDON (Reuters) - Chances of Greece leaving the euro zone in the next 12 months are the highest since late 2012 even though Athens's financial lifeline has been extended, a survey of investors based mainly in Germany showed on Tuesday. The survey of 980 individuals and institutional investors registered with consultancy firm sentix, found that 37.1 percent of respondents expect Athens to leave the currency bloc, up from 22.5 percent in January.
The United States is sending a team of federal investigators to Bangladesh to help probe the murder of a visiting American blogger by suspected Islamist militants, Dhaka police said Tuesday. Avijit Roy, known for his anti-religious blog posts and books including the best-selling "The Virus of Faith", was hacked to death with a machete as he returned home from a book fair with his wife in Dhaka last Thursday. Bangladesh's elite security force on Monday arrested radical Islamist Farabi Shafiur Rahman, the chief suspect in the murder, who they say sent Roy several death threats.