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The Africa Report: 28 May

EWN's Africa correspondent, Jean-Jacques Cornish reports on the day's top African news

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS

ZUMA PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR AU RAPID RESPONSE FORCE

Last Tuesday, the African Union announced the creation of a rapid response force at its summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Five days later, President Jacob Zuma pledged South Africa's full support for the force.

The Zuma administration is intent on South Africa showing its military muscle with involvement in Darfur, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and, of course, the Central African Republic (CAR).

South Africa will become part of the special intervention brigade in the Eastern DRC.

President Zuma suggested an interim force and was first in line to offer support for it.

The peace and security commissioner, Ramtane Lamamra, voiced his desire to have the force running as soon as possible.

With Uganda and Ethiopia following South Africa's lead, the rapid response force now has the support of three out of 54 member states.

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CHINESE TEEN VANDALISES EGYPTIAN ART

The parents of a Chinese teenager who vandalised a 3500-year-old artwork have appealed to the world for forgiveness.

15 year-old Ding Jinhao was caught defacing an ancient Egyptian artwork at a temple in Luxor, Egypt with the message "Ding Jinhao was here".

He was caught by other Chinese tourists who took a photo of him and posted it to social media sites.

Soon after, Ding Jinhao was named and his date of birth and school were posted online.

His parents have since apologised to a local newspaper in their hometown of Nanjing and have asked for forgiveness as they say he is only a teenager and is facing a lot of pressure.

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CHINA'S VAST ILLEGAL IVORY TRADE

In more news regarding China, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have reported that 2011 holds the world-record in terms of elephants killed.

China remain one of the chief perpetrators in illegal ivory trade.

7.7 tonnes of ivory were seized in China in 2011, representative of 800 elephants and 2012 is set to look worse.

This haul of illegal ivory illustrated the scale of these operations and the flaws in China's ability to control markets.

There are legal ivory sales from stock piles but some of the Chinese markets are abusing this and bringing in poached ivory.

It is the scale of the operation that is worrying the WWF.

There is only an estimated 500 million elephants left on the planet so it is unknown how long they will be able to survive this.