“Credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s (S&P) has downgraded South Africa’s rating to junk status, as the country’s currency continued to slide following a major cabinet reshuffle. In an unscheduled review that prompted a sell-off in South African assets, S&P on Monday cited the impact of divisions in the government of President Jacob Zuma that led to leadership changes, including the departure of former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.”This has increased the likelihood that economic growth and fiscal outcomes could suffer,” said S&P, which cut its rating by one notch to BB+ – its highest non-investment grade mark – and also assigned Africa’s most industrialised economy a negative outlook. The rand, which has fallen three percent against the US dollar since the Friday night shake-up, tumbled further after the downgrade.” (Al Jazeera http://bit.ly/2o3jVlf

Things are Getting Tense in Kinshasa…Congolese police deployed heavily across the capital Kinshasa on Monday as opposition calls for a general strike after a breakdown in talks with President Joseph Kabila’s allies last week raised fears of renewed violence. Security forces in Democratic Republic of Congo killed dozens in protests over election delays last year but the strike appeared to be peaceful on Monday morning as stores and banks were shuttered and streets quiet. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2oRqioY)

Latest on the St. Petersburg metro bombing. (RFE/RLhttp://bit.ly/2o34z0m)

PODCAST: Richard Haass admits he was probably being too candid. (Global Dispatches podcast http://bit.ly/2o3inrr)

With Civilian Deaths Mounting in Mosul, Will the International Criminal Court Intervene? (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/2ouoEgv)

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