Sierra Leone pastor discovers 706-carat diamond | Reuters
By Umaru Fofana | FREETOWN FREETOWN A Christian pastor has found one of the world's largest uncut diamonds - weighing 706 carats -- in Sierra Leone's eastern Kono region.The stone, a photograph of which was posted on the president's official website, is being stored in the country's central bank, government sources said.A local chief from Kono handed the stone to President Ernest Bai Koroma on behalf of Emmanuel Momoh who made the discovery.
By Umaru Fofana
FREETOWN A Christian pastor has found one of the world's largest uncut diamonds - weighing 706 carats -- in Sierra Leone's eastern Kono region.The stone, a photograph of which was posted on the president's official website, is being stored in the country's central bank, government sources said.A local chief from Kono handed the stone to President Ernest Bai Koroma on behalf of Emmanuel Momoh who made the discovery. The government plans to auction it. The presidency said in a statement on Thursday that Koroma thanked the chief who acted as an intermediary for not smuggling it out of the country.
Diamonds fueled a decade-long civil war that ended in 2002 in which 50,000 people were killed. Rebels forced civilians in the east to mine the stones and bought weapons with the proceeds, leading to the term 'blood diamonds'."He (Koroma) underscored the importance of selling such a diamond here as it will clearly give the owners what is due them and benefit the country as a whole," the statement said.
The stone is yet to be valued but could be worth millions of dollars. Sierra Leone's gross national income per capita stood at $620 in 2015, according to World Bank data. The United Nations lifted a ban on diamond exports from Sierra Leone in 2003. The International Monetary Fund expects the country to export $113 million worth of diamonds this year though the sector remains plagued by smuggling.
Despite its size, this week's discovery is considerably smaller than the Cullinan diamond, which was found in South Africa in 1905. That 3,106-carat stone was cut into several polished gems and the two largest pieces are part of Britain's crown jewels.A 1,111-carat diamond was unearthed in a Botswana mine in 2015. (Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Pritha Sarkar)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.