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Madagascar has named Jean Razafindravonona finance and budget minister, making him part of a 31-member cabinet crucial to ending a political crisis on the Indian Ocean island state. President Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who took office in January, has pledged to woo foreign investors and tourists back to Madagascar, which is famed for its exotic wildlife and also boasts nickel, cobalt, coal, iron ore and uranium deposits. Analysts said Razafindravonona has a good grasp of the management of public finances, earned during a long stint as the director of the budget office in the finance ministry. "The question is whether he will be able to put in place good financial governance and stable institutions which investors can have confidence in," said Hugues Rajaonson, an economist.
By Patrick Markey and Lamine Chikhi ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the independence veteran in power for 15 years, won re-election on Friday with more than 80 percent of a vote opponents dismissed as fraud to keep an ailing leader in power. Bouteflika had cast his vote sitting in a wheelchair on Thursday in what was a rare public appearance since suffering a stroke last year that raised questions about stability in the North African OPEC oil-exporting state. The Algerian leader, 77, was already widely expected to win with the backing of the powerful ruling Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN) party, which has dominated the political system since independence from France in 1962. Preliminary official results showed Bouteflika had won with 81.53 percent of the vote, Interior Minister Tayeb Belaiz told a news conference.
Four French journalists held hostage in Syria since June were found by Turkish soldiers on its border with Syria on Saturday, Turkish media reported, and French President Francois Hollande said the four were in good health. Nicolas Henin, Pierre Torres, Edouard Elias and Didier Francois were found in Sanliurfa province blindfolded with their hands bound, Dogan News Agency said. Dogan said the journalists had been kidnapped by the rebel group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) but that an unknown group brought the journalists to the Turkish border on Friday night.