Taliban power transition raises hopes for Afghan peace talks

Afghan National Army soldiers keep watch near the rubble of the house belonging to Mullah Omar close to the mosque where he founded the Taliban movement 20 years ago in the village of Sangesar, on December 11, 2014The Taliban named Mullah Akhtar Mansour as their new leader Friday, a historic power transition that raises hopes the relative moderate's leadership will pave the way for an end to Afghanistan's bloody war. The Taliban also announced his deputies — Sirajuddin Haqqani, who leads the Taliban-allied Haqqani network and has a $10 million US bounty on his head, and Haibatullah Akhundzada, former head of the Taliban courts. The appointment of Mansour, seen as a pragmatist and a proponent of peace talks, comes a day after the Taliban confirmed the death of their near-mythical leader Mullah Omar, who led the fractious group for some 20 years.


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When is a jackal not a jackal? When it’s really a ‘golden wolf’

A golden jackal is seen in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania in this undated handout pictureScientists said on Thursday a comprehensive genetic analysis found that these populations are made up of two entirely distinct species, with those in Africa different from the others. The scientific name for the golden jackal is Canis aureus. The researchers proposed renaming those in Africa Canis anthus, or the African golden wolf.


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