Top of the Morning: Ghana President John Atta Mills Dies Suddenly; Turkey Shuts Syria Border

Top stories from DAWNS Digest. 

Ghana President John Atta Mills Dies Suddenly

President Mills, who was internationally recognized as an African democratic role model, died suddenly on Tuesday in Accra. He will be succeeded by a vice president. Ghana is the region’s most stable democracy and Mills was a cherished leader. “Vice President John Dramani Mahama would be sworn in to replace Mills under Ghana’s constitution, officials said. The president’s office said that Mills, who celebrated his 68th birthday on Saturday, died a few hours after being taken ill, but no further details were given. A presidential aide, who asked not to be named, said the president had complained of pains on Monday evening and died early on Tuesday afternoon when his condition worsened. Mills had returned from medical checks in the United States a few weeks ago. Ghana’s election commission said December’s presidential and parliamentary elections would go ahead as planned. ‘The election calendar remains unchanged – it’s purely a party matter,’ election chief Kwadwo Afari-Gyan told Reuters, explaining that it was up to the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to find a candidate to replace Mills.” (Reuters

Turkey Seals Border with Syria

Humanitarian supplies and refugees will still be let through, but that’s about it for now. “Turkey has closed its border with Syria to commercial traffic but the United Nations’ refugee agency said it will remain open to refugees fleeing the conflict and that hundreds of people have made their way to safety in the past 24 hours. Turkish customs officials announced they were closing the 566-mile border Wednesday following the seizure of two crossing points by Syrian rebel forces last week. At one crossing point, Bab al-Hawa, dozens of Turkish trucks were burned or looted when the rebels seized control, The Associated Press reported. Wednesday’s decision, which Turkish officials said affects three border posts still open at Cilvegozu, Oncupinar and Karkamıþ, coincided with an upsurge in fighting between government and rebel forces in Aleppo, about 30 miles from Bab al-Hawa.” (NYT