President-elect Donald Trump has been named Time magazine’s Person of the Year.
Mr Trump, interviewed by NBC television, said the decision meant a lot to him.
“And it’s a very important magazine, and I’ve been lucky enough to be on the cover many times this year – and last year. But I consider this a very, very great honour.”
Other finalists for the title included Hillary Clinton, Beyonce, the former United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage and the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Last year Time made German chancellor Angela Merkel its Person of the Year. Then, Trump disagreed strongly with the choice, tweeting derogatory comments about Ms Merkel’s management of Germany and complaining that he should have been named instead. “I told you @TIME Magazine would never pick me as person of the year despite being the big favourite. They picked [the] person who is ruining Germany.”
Assad: Aleppo victory will be huge step
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said a victory in Aleppo would be a “huge step” in ending the country’s five-year civil war. In an interview with Syrian daily Al-Watan Assad said, “It’s true that Aleppo will be a win for us, but let’s be realistic – it won’t mean the end of the war in Syria.”
Government forces secured the Old City, the heart of Aleppo, from the rebels on Wednesday with more neighbourhoods expected to fall. The rebel fighters had held most of Aleppo since 2012, but have now been reduced to less than 20 per cent of the area.
Since the war began in March 2011 in response to the oppressive Assad rule, hundreds of thousands of citizens have been killed and half the population have been driven from their homes, creating the world’s worst refugee crisis.
Matteo Renzi forfeits leadership
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has resigned after the people rejected his European policy in a referendum three days ago. He delayed his announcement until the 2017 budget had passed through the Senate earlier on Thursday. Mr Renzi will act as caretaker Prime Minister until a new leader is selected and a new government formed. Mr Renzi gambled his career on the referendum in which 59 per cent voted against his proposed constitutional reform. The next election in due in 2018.
Kenya court halts HIV data collection
A Kenyan high court has barred the government’s collection of data on HIV-positive children and pregnant women, ruling it is an unconstitutional violation of rights and privacy of those living with HIV. According to UNAids, more than 1.5 million Kenyans, including 98,000 children, live with HIV.
President Uhuru Kenyatta last year ordered the names be collected to help health services manage the pandemic, but rights campaigners argued the process could lead to prejudicial stigmatisation.
Oakland fire victims sent heartbreaking final messages to loved ones
A mother of one of the victims in the Oakland warehouse fire has told a country sheriff of the last text message that her daughter sent her before she died. Ray Kelly of the Alameda County Sheriff’s office said the mother woke up to messages saying “I’m going to die, mom” and then “I love you.”
Kelly said some of the 36 victims were found hugging each other, looking like they were trying to protect one another. One artist and survivor left an injured friend behind when the smoke became overwhelming. The warehouse was used by an artists collective, The Ghost Ship. Many of the victims were part of the tight-knit creative community. – Compiled from web sources by Alicia Camilleri and Sinead Fogarty
Collage compiled from historic Time Magazine covers.