Monthly Archives آگوست 2020

Mustapha Adib poised to be designated Lebanon’s new prime minister

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Lebanon began consultations Monday to name a new premier, with the country’s envoy to Germany, Mustapha Adib, emerging as a front-runner, as French President Emmanuel Macron was to visit the disaster-hit country.

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Adib, a relatively unknown 48-year-old Lebanese diplomat and close aide to former prime minister Najib Mikati, has received backing from the country’s Sunni Muslim political heavyweights, including the Future Movement party headed by former premier Saad Hariri.

On Monday, Hariri officially nominated Adib to be Lebanon’s next prime minister, adding that a new government should be formed quickly.

Lebanon has experienced similar political shake-ups in the past, including the nomination of outgoing prime minis...

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January 2015 attackers ‘failed’ in bid to divide French populace, says Hollande

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Former French president Francois Hollande maintained Sunday that jihadists had failed to divide the population with terror attacks in January 2015 that killed 17 people.

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On Wednesday, 14 people face trial in connection with the murders, which heralded an unprecedented wave of attacks in France.

They are accused of helping to prepare the killings, but three who disappeared in northern Syria and Iraq will be tried in absentia.

“I feared the society could tear itself apart, because that was the terrorists’ goal: divide the French, stigmatise Muslims, create the spirit of hatred that in the end is what motivates them,” Hollande told France 2 television.

From January 7-9, 2015, gunmen attacked the satirical newspaper Char...

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US-China tensions over WTO chief hobbles UN body

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As Roberto Azevedo leaves the World Trade Organization Monday, the institution faces multiple crises without a captain — a situation experts warn could drag on for months.

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Any future WTO leader will head an organisation mired in stalled trade talks and struggling to curb trade tensions between the United States and China.

It must also help member countries navigate a devastating global economic slump sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

The global trade body faces relentless attacks from Washington, which has crippled the WTO dispute settlement appeal system and threatened to leave altogether.

Many observers fear that intransigent US positions could paralyse the WTO process of designating a new director general, leav...

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North Macedonia’s parliament approves new left-wing coalition government

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North Macedonia’s Social Democrats returned to power Sunday after parliament approved their new coalition, ending a months-long leadership void amid the pandemic. 

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The vote brings Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, credited for putting the Balkan state on an EU path, back into top office after his party narrowly won a victory over right-wing rivals in July. 

“A period of order, justice and discipline is coming, it is time for vetting of the judiciary and unselective rule of law,” Zaev told the assembly.

His governing coalition, a tie-up with the largest party representing the ethnic Albanian minority, was approved by 62 votes in the 120-seat assembly following two days of heated debate that ended just before a midnight deadl...

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Trump and Biden clash after street protests in Portland turn deadly

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Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Sunday called violence at protests in Portland, Oregon, unacceptable and challenged President Donald Trump to stop “recklessly encouraging” it, after one person was killed during clashes between rival groups.

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Demonstrations against racism and police brutality have swept the United States since the death in May of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Protests have roiled downtown Portland every night for nearly three months following Floyd’s death, and police there said they had made arrests after one person was shot to death on Saturday night.

“I condemn violence of every kind by anyone...

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US Covid-19 cases surpass 6 million as Midwest, schools report outbreaks

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U.S. cases of the novel coronavirus surpassed 6 million on Sunday as many states in the Midwest reported increasing infections, according to a Reuters tally.

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Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota have recently reported record one-day increases in new cases while Montana and Idaho are seeing record numbers of currently hospitalised Covid-19 patients.

Nationally, metrics on new cases, deaths, hospitalisations and the positivity rates of tests are all declining, but there are emerging hotspots in the Midwest.

Many of the new cases in Iowa are in the counties that are home to the University of Iowa and Iowa State University, which are holding some in-person classes...

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Hezbollah ‘open’ to French proposal for new political order in Lebanon

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Hezbollah chief Hasan Nasrallah on Sunday said that his Shiite movement is “open” to a French proposal for a new political pact for Lebanon as long as there is national consensus.  

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“On his latest visit to Lebanon, we heard a call from the French president for a new political pact in Lebanon… today we are open to a constructive discussion in this regard,” Nasrallah said in a speech. 

“But we have one condition: this discussion should be carried out… with the will and consent of the various Lebanese factions.”

Nasrallah did not elaborate on what kind of changes his movement was willing to consider but cited criticsm from “official French sources” over Lebanon’s “sect-based political system and its inability to solve L...

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France calls for ‘rapid transition’ to civilian rule in post-coup Mali

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France on Sunday called on Mali’s military junta to “quickly” organise a transition to civilian rule after this month’s coup, warning that the political crisis would benefit terrorists.  

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The August 18 coup has shocked ally France, which fears instability in Mali could undermine its military campaigns against Islamist militants in West Africa’s Sahel region.

“This transition must be done quickly… It is a matter of months,” Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly told French media.

“If this is not done, then the risk is that it will first benefit the terrorists, because terrorists feed on the weakness of states and the Malian state is weak, very weak at the moment,” she added.

“Moreover, the international community, whic...

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Meet two of the women running for president in male-dominated Ivory Coast

Despite the male-dominated political landscape in Ivory Coast, a handful of women intend to stand for president in the October election. Among them are Marie Carine Bladi and Danièle Boni Claverie, who offer a study in contrasts: one is a relative newcomer, a beauty queen making waves, while the other is a seasoned politician.

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Politics in the Ivory Coast is a largely masculine affair. The ballot for October’s presidential election is dominated by three veteran male politicians: 78-year-old President Alassane Ouattara, 86-year-old former president Henri Konan Bédié and 67-year-old former premier Pascal Affi N’Guessan.

But Article 36 of the new constitution, introduced at the end of 2016, says the state must seek “the promotion of political righ...

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Montenegro voters face choice between pro-EU ruling party and pro-Russian opposition

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Voters in Montenegro on Sunday cast ballots in a tense election that is pitting the long-ruling pro-Western party against an opposition seeking closer ties with Serbia and Russia. 

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The parliamentary vote is marked by a dispute over a law on religious rights that is staunchly opposed by the influential Serbian Orthodox Church.

The issue has fueled divisions in the nation of 620,000 people that has defied its traditional Slavic allies to become independent in 2006 and join NATO in 2017. 

Indicating high interest in the election, more than half of eligible voters had cast their ballots by midday. Lines formed outside some polling stations on a very hot summer day.

Months of church-led protests against the property bill ...

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