China will impose visa restrictions on United States citizens who have engaged in what it called egregious behaviour over Tibet, in an apparent retaliation against U.S restrictions on some Chinese officials.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian on Wednesday told newsmen that Beijing would allow no foreign interference in Tibetan affairs.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, cited what he called human rights abuses by the Chinese government in Tibetan areas.
On Tuesday, Pompeo said the United States would restrict visas for some Chinese officials because Beijing obstructs travel to the region by United States diplomats, journalists and tourists.
Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
New York prosecutor investigating Trump for fraud in fight over tax records
A New York prosecutor on Monday suggested he was investigating President Trump and his company for possible insurance and bank fraud – a much broader probe than previously known in an attempt to obtain Trump’s financial records.
District attorney Cyrus Vance made the disclosure in a court filing, arguing that Trump’s accounting firm should be forced to comply with a subpoena for his tax returns.
The subpoena is part of a grand jury investigation which until now was believed to focus on possible hush-money payments to two women who say they had affairs with the former real estate mogul.
The filing was in response to a bid by Trump’s lawyers last week to block the subpoena, calling it “wildly overbroad” and “issued in bad faith.”
Vance said Trump’s attorneys were relying on a false assumption that the investigation was limited to hush-money payments, without specifying the focus of the probe.
The district attorney said in the filing that “undisputed” news reports about “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organisation” made it clear there was a legal basis for the subpoena.
In early July, the United States Supreme Court rejected Trump’s claims of presidential immunity in criminal investigations, potentially paving the way for Vance to obtain the records.
The Supreme Court did not order the tax documents to be handed over, and the ruling indicated the president could try to fight the subpoenas in lower courts.
Trump has fought the subpoena for nearly a year and his lawyers have vowed to continue the battle in lower courts.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
Nigeria’s candidate for WTO chief prioritizes fixing dispute settlement system if selected
Okonjo-Iweala, who is competing with seven other nominees for the position of director-general of the WTO, told Xinhua in a recent interview that her top priorities if selected, would be preparing for the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) in Kazakhstan in 2021.
She also hoped to work on restoring the dispute settlement system and updating the WTO’s rule book.
The WTO’s dispute settlement body is currently paralysed.
The Appellate Body, considered as the Supreme Court for global trade disputes, is supposed to have seven judges and needs a minimum of three judges to function.
The United States administration has been blocking new appointments for more than two years, with United States officials claiming that the court had gone beyond its remit.
“I would be focusing, if I get the job, on the dispute settlement system because this is the fundamental pillar of the WTO,’’ Okonjo-Iweala said.
“If you have a rules-based organisation, you must have a place where rules are arbitrated and that’s what happens with the dispute settlement system.
“So, restoring that will be a top priority as well.’’
She also had a 25-year career at the World Bank, including as a managing director.
The candidate, who also sits on the board of Twitter and the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, said she was confident to win the selection process and that she would be a listener-in-chief as well as a tough negotiator.
“I have strong political skills and negotiation skills.
“I think that’s very much needed; I am a consensus-builder and I’m a good listener too.’’
The candidate showed her confidence to “find a way to unlock the seeming division’’ on the trade side, between China and the United States, underlining that finding areas of mutual interest and to build trust within the WTO trading system would be important.
“Actually, if you listen to the two members, they have some things in common,’’ Okonjo-Iweala added.
“The dispute settlement system of the WTO is valued by both, they want it to reform, they don’t want it to disappear.’’
“I think the best thing China can do is to recover quickly.
“Because it’s one of the engines of growth in the world and it’s almost a quarter of world trade,’ she told Xinhua.
“So, if it recovers quickly, it means that it can help the rest of the world recover.
“So, that’s the role I would see for China.’’
Roberto Azevedo, the incumbent WTO chief, announced in May that he will officially leave his post on Aug. 31, a year before his term expires.
The second phase of the selection process, in which the candidates “make themselves known to members’’, will end on Sept. 7 and then the General Council chairperson will consult with all WTO members before making the final decision.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
COVID-19 vaccines now in phase 3 clinical trials– WHO
The director-general said: “ We all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection.
“However, there’s no silver bullet at the moment and there might never be; for now, stopping outbreaks comes down to the basics of public health and disease control.
“Testing, isolating and treating patients, tracing and quarantining their contacts. Do it all.
“Inform, empower and listen to communities. Do it all.
“For individuals, it’s about keeping physical distance, wearing a mask, cleaning hands regularly and coughing safely away from others. Do it all.’’
Ghebreyesus said the message to people and governments was clear: “Do it all, and when it’s under control, keep going! Keep strengthening the health system.
“Keep safeguards and monitoring in place, because lifting restrictions too quickly can lead to resurgence.
“Keep investing in the workforce and communicating and engaging communities.
“We have seen around the world, that it’s never too late to turn this pandemic around,’’ he said.
According to him, if we act together today, we can save lives, we can save livelihoods, if we do it all together.
He told journalists that the Emergency Committee on COVID-19 met on Friday and reviewed the current pandemic.
“It was a sobering moment coming six months on from when the committee advised.
“And, I agreed that the outbreak constituted a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
“At the time, Jan. 30, there were fewer than 100 cases and no deaths outside of China.
“Since then, the number of cases has increased more than five-fold to 17.5 million, and the number of deaths has more than tripled to 680,000,’’ the director-general said.
In addition to the direct toll COVID-19 is having, Ghebreyesus said the committee noted the health impact that disrupted services were having on a range of other diseases.
“That compounds what we already know about reduced immunisation coverage, cancer screening and care, and mental health services.
“A survey of responses from 103 countries between mid-May and early July, found that 67 per cent of countries report disruption in family planning and contraception services.
“More than half of countries reported disruption in antenatal care services and more than a third of countries reported disruption in child birth services.
“On top of the health impact, we have seen the damage COVID-19 has caused socially, economically and politically.
“The committee put forward a number of recommendations for countries to continue to implement to bring the virus under control.
“These range from sharing best practice, to enhancing political commitment and leadership for national strategies and localised response activities driven by science, data and experience.’’
He said from serology studies that most people remained susceptible to this virus, even in areas that have experienced severe outbreaks.
“Over the past week we’ve seen several countries that appeared as though they were past the worst now, contending with fresh spikes in cases.
“However, we’ve also seen how some countries, regions or localities that had a high number of cases are now bringing the outbreak under control.
“It’s not easy, of course. Strict measures may cause their own problems for delivery of essential health services, the economy and societies overall.
“The committee acknowledged that Member States have tough choices to make to turn the epidemic around.
“But, they were also clear that when leaders step up and work intensely with their populations, this disease can be brought under control.’’
He further said we learnt everyday about this virus.
“ I’m pleased that the world has made progress in identifying treatments that can help people with the most serious forms of COVID-19 recover.
“The committee recommended that countries engage in the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, participate in relevant clinical trials, and prepare for safe and effective therapeutics and vaccine introduction,’’ Ghebreyesus said.
Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)
United States judge whose son was killed by gunman speaks out
A United States Federal Judge whose son was killed and husband wounded by a gunman disguised as a FedEx driver detailed her last moments with her only child in an emotional video posted online.
“Two weeks ago, my life as I knew it changed in an instant and my family will never be the same,” United States District Judge Esther Salas said in the video posted to YouTube on Monday.
The attack on Salas’ family in New Jersey happened July 19. The accused gunman, attorney Roy Den Hollander, was later found dead in an apparent suicide in upstate New York.
He is described as an anti-feminist lawyer, and officials said Salas had recently presided over one of his cases.
That morning the Salas family was getting ready to clean up after a party. They had just celebrated her son’s 20th birthday.
“Daniel always wanted to spend his birthdays with his dad and me so he asked that we host a party for a few of his Catholic University of America friends,” she says in the video.
Despite the pandemic, they agreed.
“We thought we could adhere to safety guidelines,” she says.
After going to church with her husband, Salas said she went alone to the basement to wake up her son.
“We were chatting, as we always do, and Daniel said, ‘Mom, let’s keep talking. I love talking to you, Mom,’” Salas says, struggling to hold back tears. “And it was at that exact moment that the doorbell rang.”
Her son ran upstairs. Moments later, she heard gunshots and screams.
“I later learned that this monster, who had a FedEx package in his hand, opened fire,” she says in the video, her voice shaking.
“But Daniel, being Daniel, protected his father and he took the shooter’s first bullet directly to the chest.”
Her son later died. Her husband, Mark Anderl, a 63-year-old criminal defense lawyer and former prosecutor, was shot three times, she explains. One bullet struck his chest, another his stomach, and the third his right forearm.
“While my husband is still in the hospital recovering from his multiple surgeries, we are living every parent’s worst nightmare,” she pauses for a moment, before adding: “Making preparations to bury our only child, Daniel.”
Salas noted that the gunman was easily able to find her personal information online. She then pleads for lawmakers to help protect the private details of federal judges, so no one else suffers the same fate as she and her family.
“My son’s death cannot be in vain, which is why I am begging those in power to do something to help my brothers and sisters on the bench,” she says.
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)