South Africa

Turmoil after minister fired

South Africa faced political and financial turmoil Friday after President Jacob Zuma fired the finance minister and reshuffled 10 of the country’s 35 Cabinet ministers, intensifying a rift in the party that took power after the 1994 end of white minority rule as well as concerns about corruption at top levels of government. The currency slipped, and people protested outside parliament and the national treasury against the dismissal of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, the widely respected steward of one of Africa’s biggest economies and a bulwark against perceived efforts to raid state coffers for personal gain.

Venezuela

Loyalist, nations decry ruling

Venezuela’s chief prosecutor and longtime loyalist Ortega Diaz broke with the government Friday and rebuked a Supreme Court decision stripping congress of its last vestiges of power. The move showed a crack in the embattled administration of socialist President Nicolas Maduro amid a torrent of international condemnation over what many decried as a step toward dictatorship. The move gave a major boost to the opposition, some of whom spent the day sparring with riot police.

United Nations

500 Congo peacekeepers cut

The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Friday to cut 500 troops from the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo and improve its operations to focus on protecting civilians and enabling presidential elections this year — key steps urged by the Trump administration. The French-drafted resolution is the first adopted since the U.S. began a review of the 16 U.N. peacekeeping missions as part of its plan to cut foreign aid and reform U.N. operations. Its support by all 15 council members, after difficult negotiations, reflects widespread backing for the U.S. goal of streamlining the U.N.’s far-flung operations that deploy over 107,000 troops and civilians at an annual cost of over $7.8 billion.

Chief welcomes Ukraine truce

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is welcoming a new cease-fire agreement between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists in the country’s east and urging all parties to honor it. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Friday that Guterres is greatly concerned about “the fate of the civilian population” and hopes the pact will lead to progress on security and economic, humanitarian and political issues.

Compiled from wire reports.