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First pictures of two accused over Cecil the lion killing

These are the two men accused of illegal poaching after Zimbabwe's best loved lion Cecil was shot dead.

Game park owner Honest Ndlovu and hunter Theo Bronkhurst are accused of illegal poaching. Credit: Reuters

Game park owner Honest Ndlovu and hunter Theo Bronkhurst are accused of illegal poaching after it was alleged a US dentist paid them £32,000 so he could shoot the lion.

Cecil, who was a much-loved tourist attraction and the subject of a university study, was then skinned and beheaded.

Walter Palmer from Minneapolis admitted killing Cecil but claims he was told the hunt was legal. It is not yet known if he will also face charges over the killing.

Pakistan suspicious over reports of Taliban leader death

Reports that Mullah Mohammad Omar have been met with scepticism in the Pakistan military ahead of with peace talks with the Afghan government.

Mullah Mohammad Omar went into hiding after 911 Credit: Reuters

A senior official from the Pakistani military, which historically has close ties to the Afghan Taliban and other Islamist militant groups in the region, said he could not confirm Omar's death.

"It is worth asking why this news has come out now, when we are two days away from the second round of peace talks," said the official.

"Especially in light of reports that he died two years ago... why is this news being released now? It raises questions about the intentions of people who don't want talks to go forward."

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Afghanistan 'assessing' reports Taliban leader is dead

The Afghanistan government has said it is investigating reports that the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammad Omar is dead.

Mullah Mohammad Omar has not been seen since 2001 Credit: Reuters

In a press conference in Kabul, a Government spokesman said: "We are still in the process of assessing those reports."

The announcement followed reports in Afghan local media that Omar, who has not been since 2001, was dead but have died as long as two years ago. Some of the reports also indicated Mullah Omar's son was in a position to take over the Islamist insurgency that is fighting against Afghanistan's foreign-backed government.

Omar went into hiding 14 years ago after his government was forced from power by the US-led Coalition following the 911 attacks in the USA.

The Taliban has yet to comment on the claims.

Protesters leave stuffed toys outside dentist's practice

Credit: EBU

Protesters have left stuffed animal toys outside the dental practice owned by the US hunter who killed Cecil the lion.

The River Duff Dental Practice in Bloomington, Minneapolis has been forced to close following the backlash against Walter Palmer.

Two men are due to appear in court in Zimbabwe charged with poaching offences over Cecil's death.

There are mounting calls to prosecute Palmer who claims he thought the hunt had been organised legally.

Turkish airstrikes on Kurdish targets in northern Iraq

Turkish air strikes hit six Kurdish militant targets in Turkey and northern Iraq overnight, a statement from the prime minister's office said.

Turkish authorities have also detained a total of 1,302 people in 39 provinces as part of a crackdown targeting members of Islamic State, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and illegal leftist groups, the statement said.

Two to appear in court over Cecil the lion killing

Cecil the lion was a popular attraction for tourists. Credit: EBU

Two men are due to appear in court today over the killing of Cecil, Zimbabwe's most famous lion.

Hunter Theo Bronkhurst and private game park owner Honest Ndlovu are charged with poaching offences.

US dentist Walter Palmer wounded Cecil with a bow and arrow but the 13-year-old lion with not shot dead for another 40 hours.

He claims to his knowledge Bronkhurst and Ndlovu had organised the trip legally and said he had not been contacted by Zimbabwean authorities.

But Ndlovu was not allocated a lion on his hunting quota for this year, according to Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.

If convicted, Bronkhurst and Ndlovu will be required to pay $20,000 in compensation and the court may impose an additional jail term.

Zimbabwe issues annual permits allowing foreign hunters to kill wildlife saying this allows it to raise money for conservation.

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US dentist who shot Cecil 'is not even a human being'

Angry animal lovers claim the US dentist who shot Cecil the lion is "not even a human being".

Christopher Flugge said: "If you're going to do something like that, be a man and actually go out in the wild where the animal has a chance to get some revenge against you.

"Any hunter that's worth a damn will probably find it incredibly disrespectful and repulsive. He's not even a human being as far as I'm concerned."

Jean Flugge added: "It upsets me that people can be so stupid to take a life like that, whether it's human or not."

Hunting in Africa must be stopped, say campaigners

Animal campaigners have called for an immediate stop to hunting in Africa after one of it's most famous lions Cecil was shot dead.

Dr Pieter Kat, Trustee of charity LionAid, told ITV News: "Unfortunately Cecil is not the first lion to die in this fashion. He is not even the 101st lion to die in this fashion.

"What we need to do is determine how many lions are left in Africa. We at LionAid say there's 15,000, but that's still probably way over the top.

"Until and unless we have a proper lion count, we just cannot afford to take off any more lions, whether the hunters call it sustainable or trophy hunting. We must put a stop to this immediately."

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