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UN peacekeepers in Bangui, Central African Republic, on Dec. 25. Photo: Nacer Talel/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Three UN peacekeepers were killed north of Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic, on Friday, just days before the country's presidential and legislative elections, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The country has faced unrest and insecurity since former President Francois Bozize — who the UN accused of ordering assassinations and arbitrary arrest and torture — was ousted by a rebellion in 2013. Bozize has denied the allegations.

  • The government and its allies have increased their security efforts to tried to fend off a rebel offensive ahead of Sunday's elections, per Reuters.
  • At least two other peacekeepers were injured in Friday's attack.

The big picture: The country's top court on Saturday denied opposition requests to delay the elections.

  • President Faustin-Archange Touadera is seeking a second term.
  • The court also denied Bozize's candidacy against Touadera earlier this month, claiming that he did not meet the “good morality” requirement for candidates because of an outstanding international warrant and sanctions from the UN, per Reuters.
  • The UN also accuses Bozize, a former general who seized power through a 2003 coup, of collaborating with militias to prevent the elections from going ahead.

What they're saying: "The Secretary-General strongly condemns attacks against civilians, humanitarians, state authority and peacekeepers, as well as candidates," said Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesperson for Secretary-General António Guterres.

  • Guterres "calls on national authorities to ensure accountability for election-related violence," Dujarric said in a statement.
  • Mankeur Ndiaye, the special representative of the UN Secretary-General in the Central African Republic, encouraged voters to “not give into panic… and rumors that aim to discourage them.”

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Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

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CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.

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