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By Denis Dumo JUBA (Reuters) - South Sudan rejected on Tuesday a United Nations appeal to halt the planned expulsion of the world body's top humanitarian aid official in the country, saying he had regularly spoken out against the government. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday condemned the move to expel Toby Lanzer, deputy head of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, and said the British-born envoy had been "instrumental in addressing the increasing humanitarian needs of conflict-affected communities" in South Sudan. Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told Reuters: "It is impossible to reverse ... (the) idea of expelling Toby Lanzer." The cabinet came to the decision after Lanzer made comments that were "completely against the government".
Gunmen killed nine Afghan employees of a Czech aid organisation in their beds during an overnight raid Tuesday on their guesthouse in northern Afghanistan, the latest attack on humanitarian workers in the war-battered country. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the killings in the relatively tranquil Balkh province, but the Taliban are intensifying their annual spring offensive despite repeated government attempts to reopen peace talks. The nine victims were employees of People in Need (PIN), a Czech organisation that has been active in Afghanistan since 2001, delivering aid to remote communities in the east and north.
By Megha Rajagopalan and John Ruwitch JIANLI COUNTY, China (Reuters) - Rescuers fought bad weather on Tuesday as they searched for more than 400 people, many of them elderly Chinese tourists, missing after a cruise boat was buffeted by a freak tornado and capsized on the Yangtze River. The accident on Monday night is likely to end up as China's worst shipping disaster in almost 70 years. Divers and other rescue workers pulled five people they found trapped in the upturned hull of the four-deck Eastern Star, a fraction of the 458 people state media reported were on board when the ship capsized.