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Pompeo meets Afghan rivals, discusses peace deal, political crisis

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Pompeo meets Afghan rivals, discusses peace deal, political crisis: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Kabul on Monday in a surprise trip to war-torn Afghanistan, where a highly-touted peace initiative appears to have derailed, amid rivalry among the country’s leaders.

Pompeo met President Ashraf Ghani and Ghani’s former electoral opponent Abdullah Abdullah.

A spokesman for the presidential palace said Pompeo and Ghani talked about the Afghan peace process, the need to forge consensus on its next steps as well as political and security issues.

Abdullah wrote on his official Facebook page that he also met with Pompeo and discussed the “need for solving the ongoing political crisis.’’

A political drama is playing out between the last election’s two main presidential candidates: incumbent Ghani, who was declared winner and Abdullah, who rejected the results.

The standoff comes after the Taliban militant group agreed to a peace deal last month with the United States, which plans to scale back its troop numbers in Afghanistan after almost two decades of conflict.

However, talks between the Afghan government and the militants have stalled over a prisoner swap, with the rifts among the country’s leadership frustrating the way forward.

The U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, said Washington would like to see the prisoner releases begin soon.

According to the agreement, up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners should be released ahead of intra-Afghan negotiations that had been planned to start soon and which would include the militants. The talks have not started.

Pompeo’s trip, which was not previously announced, comes just days after his State Department advised against all international travel, due to the risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Edited By: Hadiza Mohammed/Silas Nwoha
(NAN)

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Defiant Netanyahu goes on trial in Israel charged with corruption

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Defiant Netanyahu goes on trial in Israel charged with corruption

Jerusalem, May 24, 2020   Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday became the first serving Israeli Prime Minister to go on trial, proclaiming his innocence in the corridor before walking into court to face charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) shakes the hand of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo following their meeting in Jerusalem (Photo by Sebastian Scheiner / POOL / AFP)

The trial came a week after Israel’s longest-serving leader was sworn in to a record fifth term, demonstrating his knack for survival by securing an unexpected power-sharing deal with his main opponent after three inconclusive elections in a year.

He says the cases against him are a left-wing plot to unseat him.

Netanyahu, 70, was indicted in November in cases involving gifts from millionaire friends and for allegedly seeking regulatory favours for media tycoons in return for favourable coverage.

He appeared at Jerusalem District Court flanked by a clutch of cabinet ministers from his right-wing Likud party.

In the courtroom, Netanyahu and the judges wore face masks because of the coronavirus crisis.

One of the judges asked Netanyahu whether he had read and understood the indictment. He replied: “Yes, your Honour.”

The hearing lasted an hour. The court excused Netanyahu from appearing in person at the next hearing set for July 19. Israeli analysts say the trial could last months or even years.

Before the hearing, Netanyahu appealed to public opinion, taking off his mask to address television cameras in the courthouse hallway.

“These investigations were tainted and stitched-up from the first moment,” Netanyahu said.

“I am appearing here today as your prime minister, standing tall and with head high,” he said.

In a statement, Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit said prosecutors “will continue to conduct themselves without fear, even given the preposterous attempt – which should be rejected out of hand – to ascribe ulterior motives to law-enforcement authorities”.

Supporters, some in masks, rallied outside the East Jerusalem building, their chants of “Bibi, King of Israel”, using his nickname, audible in the courthouse.

One supporter’s sign read: “You’ll never walk alone”. Many waved blue-and-white Israeli flags.

Anti-Netanyahu demonstrators gathered outside his residence in central Jerusalem holding up a banner reading “Crime Minister,” a slogan that also appeared on some face masks.

Netanyahu, in power now for 11 straight years plus three in the 1990s, kept the position of prime minister by securing the power-sharing deal last month with his main opponent, the centrist former general Benny Gantz.

The pact also opens the way for Netanyahu to proceed towards a pledged annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank, land that Palestinians envisage as part of a future independent state.

Bribery charges carry a sentence of up to 10 years in jail and/or a fine. Fraud and breach of trust carry a prison sentence of up to three years.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

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Afghan girls design ventilator from car parts for Covid-19 patients

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A group of Afghan girls has designed the prototype of a cheap ventilator that can help patients, suffering from the novel coronavirus who are struggling, to breathe.

Members of the all-female robotics team known as the “Afghan Dreamers” – aged between 12 and 18 years old – live in the country’s western Herat province.

The six-member team took up the challenge when the virus reached their province after thousands of people fled neighbouring Iran to escape the pandemic.

Local officials said they were concerned about lack of ventilators to help patients severely affected by the disease.

The ‘Afghan Girls’ Robotic Team’, as they are also known, created a prototype for a ventilator costing around $600.

A standard ventilator costs an average of $30,000 on the global market.

Spare parts from Toyota Corolla cars and motorcycles were the only tools available to the teenagers as they built the device during the lockdown.

A physician from Harvard University and scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were among the experts the team approached for guidance.

“The ventilator is almost completed and only needs an air sensor to work similar to a standard device,’’ said Roya Mahboob, the tech entrepreneur, who sponsors 50 girls including the robotics team.

Mahboob has been named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people.

In the absence of the air sensor, the team’s ventilator can pump air into the lungs of patients for two hours.

Nahid Rahimi, 18, who joined the group last year, told dpa that the team had tested the device in a hospital and that experts approved of it.

Some improvements are still needed though, she said.

The team also plans to present a new device in the near future called the “Virus Killer”.

It scans and kills viruses on surfaces in seconds, using a UV light.

“The team has done a brilliant job,’’ Ms Mahboob said, noting the country’s lack of resources and the ongoing war.

“At a time as the world is fighting the coronavirus crisis, the Afghan girls took a step forward and did what they could.’’

The Afghan Dreamers have been honing their skills for years but in 2017, when hoping to attend an international robotics competition in Washington, the team was denied a visa by the U.S. embassy in Kabul.

The ensuing headlines reportedly led the U.S. President Donald Trump to intervene and the girls returned from the event with a silver medal for “courageous achievement”.

Since then, the team has participated in many other competitions from Canada to Mexico.

The girls’ robots have won prizes including the 2018 Rookie Inspiration Award and the 2019 Asia Game Changer award.

Their homeland had recorded some 10,000 cases of the virus by Saturday and a death toll of 216 that includes at least 11 health workers.

Of Afghanistan’s 37 million people, only 30,000 have been tested since the country reported its first case in February.

The country has limited testing capabilities and a fragile health-care system after four decades of war and conflict.

There are fears of further, undetected outbreaks in Afghanistan, where there are only 400 ventilators and 3,000 beds for patients suffering from COVID-19.

Many in the country do not believe that the virus is particularly serious and there is a rumour that the president is exaggerating about the disease in order to attract aid.

However, the number of cases continues to climb.

“If the situation continues like this, we may see a major crisis and tragedy in Afghanistan in June and July,’’ Health Minister, Firuzuddin Firuz, warned recently.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

 
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Mozambique reports 26 new cases of COVID-19

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Mozambique recorded 26 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 194, health authorities announced on Sunday.

It was the largest increase in a single day since the country reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19 on March 22.

Public Health Director Rosa Marlene, speaking at the regular press conference in Maputo, said nine of the new cases are asymptomatic and the rest have mild to moderate symptoms. The patients are in isolation at home while the process of mapping their contacts is underway.

Among the 26 new cases, 24 are of Mozambican nationality, one is of South African nationality and one is of American nationality.

Mozambican authorities have so far tested a total of 8,463 suspected cases, with 1,634 of them still under quarantine.

(XINHUA)

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South Sudan confirms 10 new cases of COVID-19 as tally hits 665

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South Sudan’s Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 10 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the number of infections to 665.

Angok Gordon Kuol, an official with the Ministry of Health of South Sudan, said the latest cases are from 218 samples which were tested in the last 24 hours.

“The Ministry of Health is conducting tracing of individuals who had contact with COVID-19 cases,” Kuol told reporters in Juba.

The official reiterated that South Sudan so far registered six recovery cases and eight fatalities.

He urged the public to strictly observe the rules of social distancing and other public health measures that were declared by the government as a means to manage the spread of the disease.

Kuol called on the public to report any suspected case to the nearest public health facility.

The spike in COVID-19 cases came after the government eased the restrictions that were imposed as part of measures to help control the spread of the virus in the country.

(XINHUA)

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Chinese medical experts in Algeria hold video conference about COVID-19

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Chinese medical experts in Algeria on Sunday held a video conference with Chinese people in Tunisia for the prevention of the COVID-19.

Organized by the Chinese embassy in Tunisia, workers from Chinese companies and Chinese people living in Tunisia participated in the video conference.

During the conference, Chinese medical experts answered questions related to the COVID-19, including the prospect for the resumption of the work of Chinese companies in Tunisia and personal protection measures against the COVID-19.

Chinese Ambassador to Tunisia Wang Wenbin said that Chinese people in Tunisia strengthened their confidence in the prevention of the COVID-19 through the training event.

Zhou Lin, the expert team leader and the deputy director of Chongqing Municipal Health Commission, said the expert team is willing to provide support and professional consulting for Chinese people in Tunisia to fight against the epidemic at any time.

At the invitation of the Algerian government, the Chinese medical expert team arrived in Algeria on May 14.

During their stay in Algeria, they have already carried out extensive and in-depth exchanges with their Algerian counterparts on the prevention and control measures of the COVID-19.

They also held several video conferences with Chinese companies and Chinese people in Algeria for the prevention and control of the COVID-19.

(XINHUA)

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U.S. urges action toward lasting peace in Afghanistan

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U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has called for additional steps by the Taliban and the Government of Afghanistan toward lasting peace in the country.

The call followed Saturday’s announcement of a three-day ceasefire by the Taliban in observance of the Eid-el-Fitr festival and the government’s pledge to reciprocate.

In a statement on Sunday, Pompeo welcomed the ceasefire announcement, which he said “we worked hard to achieve”.

“I hope that this respite from conflict gives Afghan people the space and security they deserve to celebrate Eid,” he said.

He urged both parties to use the opportunity to take “additional steps toward a peaceful future for their country”.

The Taliban’s announcement came through its spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, who directed its fighters to halt attacks against government forces.

“Do not carry out any offensive operations against the enemy anywhere.

“If any action is taken against you by the enemy, defend yourself,” the BBC quoted him as saying.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani issued a statement welcoming the announcement, with a promise of compliance by security and defence forces.

Ghani later announced that the government would “take another step forward” as a demonstration of its commitment to peace.

“I announce that the release of the Taliban prisoners will be accelerated and serious measures will be taken,” he said in a televised address.

In February, the U.S. reached a deal with the Taliban agreeing prisoner exchange with the Afghan authorities, but implementation has been stalled.

While the militant group accuses the government of trying to delay the release, officials argue that its demands are unreasonable.

Pompeo said the U.S. remained committed to the implementation of the U.S.-Taliban agreement and the U.S.-Afghanistan Joint Declaration.

“I expect the Taliban to adhere to their commitment not to allow released prisoners to return to the battlefield.

“Finally, I expect both leaders of the Afghan government and the Taliban not to escalate violence after Eid.

“This violence is counterproductive, deepens grievances, and prolongs the suffering of the Afghan people.

“Peace is the consistent and overwhelming desire of the Afghan people. We hope this ceasefire can build trust.

“Next, all sides should work together to build on the momentum of this historic Eid ceasefire to move with urgency to intra-Afghan negotiations,” he said.

 

Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Singapore reports 548 COVID-19 cases

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Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 548 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 31,616.

Of the new cases, 99 percent are linked to known clusters, while the rest are pending contact tracing.

A total of 994 more cases of COVID-19 infection have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. In all, 14,876 have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospitals or community care facilities, the ministry said.

(XINHUA)

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Sierra Leone records highest daily rise as COVID-19 cases soar to 721

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Sierra Leone recorded 100 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, the highest daily rise in the country, bringing the total number of infections to 721, local health authorities said.

The new cases were from a total of 284 samples tested in the last 24 hours, and 67 of the new infections were recorded from the Sierra Leoneans repatriated from Kuwait, it added.

The West African country has recorded 40 COVID-19 deaths as of Sunday, the authorities said.

Sierra Leone recorded its index case of COVID-19 on March 31, and prevention measures including a curfew and ban on inter-district travel remain in force.

(XINHUA)

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Live COVID-19 updates: Africa’s total cases exceed 107,000, death toll surpasses 3,200

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The following are the updates on the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

– – – –

JOHANNESBURG — A total of 53 positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at Mponeng mine in Johannesburg, South Africa’s Gauteng Department of Health said on Sunday.

The department said all the positive workers have been isolated and they have sent s team to trace the close contacts.

– – – –

NAIROBI — Kenya’s Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 22 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the national tally to 1,214.

The official said that one patient succumbed to the disease while receiving treatment, bringing the total number of deaths to 51.

– – – –

DOHA — Qatar’s health ministry on Sunday announced 1,501 new infections of COVID-19, increasing the total number of confirmed cases in the Gulf state to 43,714.

“A total of 657 people recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 9,170, while two died, raising the fatalities to 23,” according to a ministry’s statement quoted by the official Qatar News Agency.

– – – –

ADDIS ABABA — The number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases across Africa rose from 103,933 on Saturday morning to 107,412 as of Sunday morning, the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention said on Sunday.

The continental disease control and prevention agency, which noted that the virus has so far spread into 54 African countries, also disclosed that some 42,626 people who have been infected with the COVID-19 have recovered across the continent as of Sunday morning.

– – – –

BEIJING — China, Japan and the Republic of Korea have set an example for the world in jointly fighting the pandemic, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Sunday.

(XINHUA)

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Palestinians celebrate Eid al-Fitr under lockdown to prevent spread of COVID-19

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Palestinians in the West Bank on Sunday celebrated the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr under a strict ban on movement to prevent the spread of the COVID-19.

The restrictions include full lockdown on all commercial shops, except for bakeries and pharmacies, according to the spokesperson of the Palestinian Ministry of Interior Ghassan Nimer.

On Friday night, Palestinian security forces were deployed at the entrances of the West Bank cities as the ban on movement came into effect and is expected to continue until Monday night.

According to official data, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Palestine has reached 602, while the number of the recovered climbed up to 475.

(XINHUA)

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Kipchoge likens global pandemic to running marathon uphill

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World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge has likened the struggle athletes are enduring during the COVID-19 pandemic to running a marathon on an uphill course.

Kipchoge, who plans to run a course record in the London Marathon in October, said he has maintained a strict training program despite doing it alone at home.

The Olympic marathon champion, who has not lost a single race since 2013, when he was beaten by then-world record holder Wilson Kipsang in Berlin, said he is keen to defend his titles in London and at the Tokyo Olympics.

However, he said athletes must become innovative to overcome the challenges caused by the coronavirus.

“I’m a marathoner, and the marathon is like life,” Kipchoge said on Sunday from Eldoret. “We have many courses in the world: flat courses, uphill and downhill, and this period of COVID-19 is like an uphill course, where we need to live in a slow way, in a positive way, in order to finish the race well.”

Kipchoge said while he misses group training, he has adjusted his program to focus more on strength work and long runs rather than speed and tactics.

Kipchoge has been on the frontline to help athletes in vulnerable positions. He has partnered with the Kenyan government and enlisting the support of his sponsors to deliver food packages to lower-level athletes in the country, to give them the fuel required to continue their training and help their families.

“Our country right now is total upside down,” Kipchoge said. He has proved the power of sport to be a role model when needed most.

“We have many athletes in Kenya, and for 80 percent of them, is participating in races in Europe, America, Asia and Oceania regions for financial means. That’s what they were relying on. So last week, we provided about 70 athletes from five counties in Kenya with food for the whole month,” said Kipchoge.

However, despite the hunger to return to competition, Kipchoge advised athletes to stay strong and remain positive as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

(XINHUA)

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1,501 new COVID-19 infections detected in Qatar, 43,714 in total

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Qatar’s health ministry on Sunday announced 1,501 new infections of COVID-19, increasing the total number of confirmed cases in the Gulf state to 43,714.

“A total of 657 people recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 9,170, while two died, raising the fatalities to 23,” according to a ministry’s statement quoted by the official Qatar News Agency.

A total of 188,143 persons have undergone lab tests for COVID-19 so far.

(XINHUA)

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Kenya’s COVID-19 cases hit 1,214 as 22 more test positive

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Kenya’s Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 22 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the national tally to 1,214.

Rashid Aman, Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Health of Kenya, told journalists that the cases were discovered after testing 1,108 samples in the last 24 hours.

Aman said that three patients were released during the period from hospitals, bringing the total number of patients who have so far recovered to 383.

The official said that one patient succumbed to the disease while receiving treatment, bringing the total number of deaths to 51.

He said that so far 59,260 samples have been tested since the pandemic was reported in the country on March 13.

Aman added that from the 22 people who were tested positive in the last 24 hours, 17 are male while five are female.

Kenya has banned movements in and out of areas including Nairobi and Mombasa following the increases of cases.

“I want to state that the restrictions were not aimed at punishing any particular community. The restrictions and measures have been advocated for in the interest of public good, and to contain the spread of the disease,” Aman added.

(XINHUA)

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UN Chief welcomes Afghan ceasefire on Eid-el-Fitr

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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has welcomed the ceasefire announced by the Taliban with the Afghan government to mark the Muslim festival of Eid el-Fitr.

“The secretary-general welcomes the announcement by the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban of a ceasefire to enable the Afghan people to celebrate the Eid-el-Fitr holiday in peace.

“He urges all parties concerned to seize this opportunity and embrace an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.

“Only a peace settlement can bring an end to the suffering in Afghanistan,” Guterres’ spokesman, Mr Stephane Dujarric, said in a statement.

He reiterated the UN’s commitment to supporting media reports on the people and government of Afghanistan in their search for lasting peace and development.

Taliban militants were the first to declare a unilateral ceasefire on Saturday, saying they would only attack if attacked, according to media reports.

“Do not carry out any offensive operations against the enemy anywhere.

“If any action is taken against you by the enemy, defend yourself,” the BBC quoted Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid as saying.

Mujahid explained that the  ceasefire had been declared solely for Eid-el-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani issued a statement welcoming the announcement with a promise of compliance by security and defence forces.

In a televised address from the presidential palace after Eid prayers, he said: “As a responsible government, we also want to take another step forward.

“I announce that the release of the Taliban prisoners will be accelerated and serious measures will be taken.”

The three-day ceasefire followed intensified attacks by the hardline Islamist group against government troops in recent weeks, according to the BBC.

“It is likely to raise hopes of a longer-term reduction in violence in the country”, but a similar ceasefire announced for the same festival in 2018 was not extended, the outlet reported.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Clap for Carers campaign should end next week in UK: creator

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The creator of the “Clap for Carers” initiative in Britain has said the next nationwide round of applause for frontline workers should be the last one, the Evening Standard newspaper reported.

Since March 26, the campaign has been taking place every Thursday night from the country’s doorsteps, windows, gardens and balconies in a show of appreciation to doctors, nurses and all other people involved in tackling the spread of COVID-19.

But its founder, Annemarie Plas, has said that it would be “beautiful” to end Clap for Carers after its 10th week, and make it an annual event.

“I think it’s good to have the last of the series next Thursday, because to have the most impact I think it is good to stop it at its peak…Without getting too political, I share some of the opinions that some people have about it becoming politicised,” Plas, a 36-year-old yoga teacher from south London, was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

“I think the narrative is starting to change and I don’t want the clap to be negative,” she was quoted.

Another 282 COVID-19 patients have died in Britain as of Friday afternoon, bringing the total coronavirus-related death toll in the country to 36,675, British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Saturday.

The figures include deaths in all settings, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community.

Meanwhile, 2,959 people have been confirmed positive for the virus, bringing the total confirmed cases in Britain to 257,154 as of Saturday morning.

(XINHUA)

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Workers disinfect markets amid COVID-19 outbreak in Mexico

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A worker disinfects a market which prepares to reopen amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Mexico City, Mexico, on May 23, 2020. (Photo by Alejandro Ayala/Xinhua)

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Saudi Arabia registers 2,399 new coronavirus cases, 72,560 in total

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Saudi Arabia registered on Sunday 2,399 new coronavirus cases, increasing the total number of infections to 72,560.

The death toll increased to 390 with 11 new fatalities, the health ministry tweeted.

The overall recovered cases increased to 43,520 with 2,284 new recoveries, it said.

Saudi Arabia enforces a 24-hour nationwide lockdown during the Eid al-Fitr holiday from May 23 to 27 as part of the precautionary measures against coronavirus.

(XINHUA)

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More than 50 cases of COVID-19 confirmed at S. Africa’s gold mine

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A total of 53 positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at Mponeng mine in Johannesburg, South Africa’s Gauteng Department of Health said on Sunday.

The department said all the positive workers have been isolated and they have sent s team to trace the close contacts.

“The Gauteng department of health can confirm that 53 employees at AngloGold Ashanti Mponeng mine have tested positive to COVID-19. The management of the mine has indicated that the underground production will remain closed until further notice,” said Gauteng Department of Health in a statement.

It said that it was informed by the mine management that 378 underground miners were tested and 274 results were out while 104 are still being processed.

Limited mining activities restarted in the country about a month ago.

In terms of lockdown regulations, employers are required to provide a workplace risk assessment plan that should include the provision of screening and testing facilities, sanitary and social distancing measures and measures to protect vulnerable employees.

(XINHUA)

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2nd LD-Writethru: Opening session of Israel’s Netanyahu corruption trial concludes

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First hearing in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial was concluded on Sunday afternoon, with defense lawyers asking for a six-month delay in the proceedings.

Live broadcast on all Israel’s main TV channels showed Netanyahu entering the small courtroom, surrounded by his bodyguards. He did not sit down before making sure all the photographers left the room to avoid a picture of him sitting at the defendants’ bench.

At the start of the hour-long session at the Jerusalem District Court, Netanyahu was required to confirm that he had read and understood his indictment.

Netanyahu’s lawyers then asked to delay the discussions for at least six months, saying they need to go through “300 folders” of evidence and require additional time to prepare for the trial. The prosecution objected, saying the defense team had more than a year to read the materials and prepare.

The judges are expected to publish their decision by Tuesday.

Upon arriving at the court, Netanyahu launched an all-out attack against the justice system, charging the trial is a conspiracy by media, police, prosecution, and the left-wing to oust him.

With his right-wing Likud party ministers standing around him, wearing masks, Netanyahu accused the justice system of carrying out “an attempt to eliminate the will of the people” and an “attempt to depose a strong right-wing leader.”

Hundreds have rallied outside the court, protesting in support of Netanyahu and against him.

The opening of the trial marks the first time in Israel’s history that a sitting prime minister is facing criminal trial.

Netanyahu appeared at the hearing after the three-judge panel rejected last week his request to skip the opening hearing.

The unprecedented trial started a week after Israel’s longest-serving leader had been sworn-in for a fifth term.

Netanyahu is indicted with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three separate cases. In an affair dubbed by the police, “Case 4000,” Netanyahu allegedly took bribes from Shaul Elovitch, a former control-holder of Bezeq, Israel’s largest telecom company, by giving Bezeq financial and regulatory benefits.

During the alleged offenses, Netanyahu was the communication minister in addition to his capacity as prime minister.

In exchange, Elovitch, a close friend of Netanyahu, allegedly required Walla, a news site controlled by Elovitch, to provide favorable coverage of the Netanyahu and his wife Sara.

In “Case 1000,” Netanyahu and his family allegedly received expensive cigars, champagne, and jewelry worth about 1 million new shekels (268,200 U.S. dollars) from the Israeli businessman and Hollywood tycoon, Arnon Milchan, between 2007 and 2016.

In “Case 2000,” Netanyahu and Arnon Mozes, the publisher of Yedioth Ahronoth, one of Israel’s largest newspapers, allegedly held talks over an exchange deal, in which Netanyahu would receive favorable coverage in Yedioth Ahronoth.

(XINHUA)

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Africa’s COVID-19 death toll surpasses 3,200 as total cases exceed 107,000

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The number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases across Africa rose from 103,933 on Saturday morning to 107,412 as of Sunday morning, the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said on Sunday.

The continental disease control and prevention agency, which noted that the virus has so far spread into 54 African countries, also disclosed that some 42,626 people who have been infected with the COVID-19 have recovered across the continent as of Sunday morning.

The death toll due to the COVID-19 pandemic across the African continent also surged from 3,183 on Saturday morning to 3,246 as of Sunday morning, according to the Africa CDC.

The Africa CDC added that the Northern African region is the most affected area across the continent both in terms of positive COVID-19 cases, as well as the number of deaths.

(XINHUA)

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