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Thursday 16 May 2019

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Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, gestures as she testifies before a House Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing on the dangers of reporting on human rights, on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 16, 2019.

Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist slain at a Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey last year, said Thursday that she could not believe that no one has yet faced serious consequences for the crime.

"I cannot understand that the world still has not done anything about this," Cengiz told a U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs subcommittee, speaking in Turkish through an interpreter.

"I still cannot make human sense of it. I still cannot understand. I still feel that I'll wake up," she said in emotional testimony to a hearing on international press freedom and the dangers of reporting on human rights.

Cengiz was the last person to see Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and columnist for The Washington Post, before he went into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 to obtain papers for their upcoming marriage.

He never left the building.

The Saudi journalist, a royal insider who became a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed and dismembered inside the consulate by a team of Saudi operatives, provoking international revulsion.

"We still don't know why he was killed. We don't know where his corpse is," Cengiz said. She called for sanctions to punish Saudi Arabia and for Washington to push for the freedom of political prisoners held in the kingdom.

FILE - Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks during a press conference in Manama, Bahrain, Feb. 1, 2015.
FILE - Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks during a press conference in Manama, Bahrain, Feb. 1, 2015.

U.S. authorities have concluded that responsibility for Khashoggi's death went to the highest levels of the Saudi government. Riyadh denies the crown prince was involved.

Cengiz said she came to Washington hoping to help provoke a stronger reaction to her fiance's death. She said President Donald Trump invited her to the White House months earlier, but that she had not come then because she was not confident about his response.

"I think we choose between two things ... ," Cengiz told the subcommittee. "We can either go on as if nothing has happened ... or we can act, we can leave aside all interests, international interests and politics, and focus on the values for a better life."

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In the past, Trump has resisted imposing consequences such as strong sanctions. Saudi Arabia is considered an important partner in the Middle East and a counterweight to Iran.

Calling the United States "a fortress" protecting freedom of thought and human rights, Cengiz appealed for justice. "I think it is a test for the United States and I believe it is a test that it can and should pass," she said.

** FILE ** In this April 24, 2008 file photo, trading gets underway on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange in Harare.

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister announced the rebasing of the economy on Wednesday, following the adoption of a new currency earlier this year, and said growth would be slowed this year by a drought and a cyclone that hit eastern regions.

The economy grew higher than expected in 2018, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube told parliament.

The central bank scrapped the peg between its quasi-currency bond note and electronic dollars against the U.S dollar in February and merged them into a single transitional currency called the RTGS dollar.

Rebasing the economy broadly means changing the reference points used to calculate the country’s gross domestic product.

The southern African nation rebased its economy last October boosting it by 40% to $25.8 billion and Ncube said the adoption of the RTGS$ required another rebasing exercise, which put the economy at RTGS$70.1 billion or $21 billion at the official exchange rate.

Ncube said the economy had grown by 6.2 percent in 2018 compared to an initial forecast of 3.1 percent but he saw growth being throttled this year by “severe economic shocks”, including a drought that has wilted crops and a cyclone that hit western parts of Zimbabwe in March.

He said Zimbabwe had 876,000 tonnes of maize in strategic grain reserves, enough to feed the country for seven months.

Ncube said the national treasury’s austerity measures had meant a budget surplus of RTGS$443 million was recorded in the first quarter and added that the target of a budget deficit of 5% of GDP would be achieved this year. $1:RTGS$3.3 (Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe Editing by Janet Lawrence and Frances Kerry)

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