Global demand for rare earths is huge. Mines in DR Congo are often under the control of armed groups. So far, international efforts to curtail the trade in so-called 'conflict minerals' have only had limited success.
Primal rainforest was destroyed largely in Brazil, DR Congo and Indonesia last year to make way for cattle, crops and mining, says the World Resources Institute. The loss equates to one football pitch every six seconds.
The attacks killed an unknown number of health workers working to combat an Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Dozens of workers have been evacuated due to deadly unrest near a UN peacekeeping base.
The International Criminal Court is to hand down a verdict in the trial of a former Congolese general on Monday. Bosco Ntaganda has been charged with crimes including using child soldiers and rape.
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