Foreign

Sudan gov’t agrees to delay peace talks with armed groups to Dec. 10

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The Sudanese government has agreed to delay Thursday’s peace talks with the armed groups to Dec. 10, after a request from the host country South Sudan.

Sudan’s Higher Peace Council said this in a statement by its spokesperson Mohamed Al-Hassan Al-Taishi on Tuesday.

South Sudan’s capital Juba had been scheduled to host a new round of peace talks on Thursday between the Sudanese government and the armed groups from Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions.

“The government has agreed to delay the peace negotiations to Dec. 10 at the request of the mediation,”  Al-Taishi said.

On Oct. 14, Juba hosted a round of peace talks between the Sudanese government and the armed groups.

Sudan’s Justice and Equality Movement, the Sudan Liberation Movement /Minni Minnawi faction, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/northern sector took part in the talks with the government. (Xinhua/NAN)

YEE

(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)

Foreign

New Zealand: Rescue team recovers 6 bodies from volcanic island

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A recovery team has retrieved six bodies from New Zealand’s White Island volcano in spite of eruption risks, four days after it erupted.

Ashley Bloomfield, Director-General of the New Zealand Ministry of Health, said this at a news conference.

Efforts are still being made to recover two more bodies, including one that was spotted in the water near the shore of the Volcano Island. The other one is still missing and presumed dead.

At the time of eruption, there were 47 tourists and tour guides on the island, a major scenic spot about 30-minute sailing from the east coast of the North Island.

The six bodies were transported on the HMNZS Wellington, a New Zealand navy vessel, while 15 victims are being treated in burns units nationwide, and 13 Australians transferred back to home hospitals.

The recovery brings the official death toll from Monday’s eruption to at least 15.

“Today was all about reuniting them with their loved ones,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

“We know that reunification won’t ease that sense of loss or grief because I don’t think anything can, but we felt an enormous duty of care as New Zealanders to make sure that we brought their family members back,” Ardern said.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said, “We are very focused on finding the other two and returning them to their loved ones.”

Families of the victims attended a sea blessing at sea close to the White Island, 50km offshore from Whakatane, on Friday morning.

GNS scientist Graham Leonard said the volcanic island in the Eastern Bay of Plenty of New Zealand’s North Island is highly volatile at the moment.

According to updated calculations provided by GeoNet volcanologists on Thursday afternoon, there is a 50 per cent to 60 per cent chance of another eruption occurring that could impact outside of the marked vent area within the next 24 hours.

Since around 4:00 a.m. on Wednesday local time, the level of volcanic tremor has significantly increased at the island, said GeoNet on Wednesday.

“I hope the time comes when we can all pay tribute to what they did today, because although the best science and information available was used to try and make sure that we looked after them, there was a huge amount of courage still required to do what they did today,” Arden said, while acknowledging those involved in Friday’s recovery operation.

Two Chinese nationals were among those injured, according to the Chinese Embassy in New Zealand.

Bloomfield said that the national multiple complex burn action plan had been activated.

Many of the injured tourists are said to have more than 30 per cent of body burnt.

“The small team of two doctors and six nurses at Whakatane Hospital’s emergency department were confronted with one of the country’s largest natural disasters,” the hospital said.

“I’ve never seen this number of critically injured patients coming into an emergency department in a short space of time,” Dr Heike Hundemer, Whakatane Hospital’s Clinical Leader, said.

Messages and medical resources have been sent to New Zealand from the U.S., Australia and Britain, including skin for grafts.

Survivors from Australia have been transferred to Melbourne and Sydney after medical evaluation.

Only one Australian patient will remain in a New Zealand hospital by Friday.

The White Island, a volcanic island, is a famous tourist attraction which people can explore by boat or by helicopter. If safety conditions permit, visitors can even enter the main volcano crater.

Edited by: Fatima Sule/Ijeoma Popoola

(NAN)

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Foreign

Nigerians detained in Bosnian camps will return safely – NIDCOM boss

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had been concluded adding that the Nigerian Mission in Hungary “has taken steps to ensure that the matter is resolved and the welfare of the two Nigerians protected.”

She added that five of them were in that country to participate in the table tennis event without the knowledge of the Nigerian Table Tennis Federation, two returned more than two weeks ago, and three of them stayed back while one had already applied for asylum.

Although the Croatian authorities had through the Nigerian ambassador in Budapest denied the allegation maltreatment by the Croatian Police, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama has demanded full investigation into the matter.

She said that the conditions attached to their release included the usage of their return tickets from Zagreb back to Nigeria and must not seek Asylum in Croatia, just as one of them had already done.

Dabiri-Erewa appealed to Nigerians to always inform relevant authorities whenever they go on such trips outside the country and to be of good behaviour.

According to a report, Abia Alexandro Uchenna, Eboh Kenneth Chinedu, and three other students arrived in Zagreb, capital of Croatia, on Nov. 12, for the fifth world inter-university championships held in the

country.

They were allegedly arrested while taking a walk around the country’s capital on November 18 as they couldn’t produce relevant documents to the police.

The police officers were reported to have transferred the students to the country’s Bosnia-Herzegovina border, where Croatian authorities had gathered a group of illegal migrants attempting to cross into the

country.

Edited by: Emmanuel Yashim

(NAN)

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Algeria awaits results of post-Bouteflika presidential elections

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Algerians on Friday were awaiting results of a contested presidential election, which was held amid protests in several cities, disruption of voting in some polling stations and a partial boycott of the poll.

Thursday’s election came eight months after April’s resignation of long-time ruler Abdelaziz Bouteflika, following pressure by mass protests.

Since then, protests continued as people called for the departure of key Bouteflika-era officials and for an overhaul of the political system before an election was held.

Protesters took to the streets on Thursday in the capital Algiers and several eastern cities, while people stormed some polling stations and destroyed the ballots.

Clashes between protesters and security forces erupted in some areas.

Turnout stood at 41 per cent, according to Head of the Electoral Commission, Mohammed Sharafi.

Five contenders are vying for the presidency, including two former prime ministers.

Protesters have criticised the five hopefuls, saying they were once part of or aligned with Bouteflika’s rule.

Bouteflika ruled OPEC-member Algeria for two decades, an era that was dominated by cronyism and mismanagement.

Edited by: Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim

(NAN)

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Foreign

Russian TV pulls Ukrainian leader Zelensky’s show after one evening

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 Russian state television channel TNT pulled Ukrainian actor-turned-president Volodymyr Zelensky’s show “Servant of the People” after one evening this week.

The premiere came a day after Zelensky met for the first time in person with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a summit in Paris, seeking to end a long-running conflict in eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border.

Zelensky joked last night that broadcasting the show, which foreshadowed his ascent to the presidency, must have been a mistake by the Russian channel, owned by natural gas export monopoly Gazprom.

It’s obvious that it was a “major error by the broadcaster or the part of the government that controls Russia’s information policy,” Zelensky said in comments aired by Ukrainian channel 1+1.

In the sitcom “Servant of the People”, Zelensky plays an outspoken schoolteacher who unexpectedly wins Ukraine’s presidential election after a candid video of him bad-mouthing the current government goes viral.

Zelensky jokes about Putin early in the series. After winning the presidency, Zelensky’s character is handed a luxury Hublot watch, a brand said to have been proudly worn by Putin.

Ukraine’s new leader replies, “Putin – Hublot?” a pun on a swear word used in an anti-Putin slogan popular in Ukraine.

Relations between Russia and Ukraine have fallen to an all-time low since the conflict erupted five years ago in response to Kiev ousting its then pro-Russian president in a political pivot toward the West.

Zelensky, inaugurated this year, has set out ending the conflict as his top priority.

YEE

Edited by: Emmanuel Yashim

(NAN)

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Foreign

More than 200 firearms surrendered after amnesty launched in S. Africa

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More than 200 firearms and 2,000 rounds of ammunition have been surrendered since the South African government announced amnesty at the beginning of this month, the police on Friday said.

The Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, disclosed this in Pretoria.

The firearms amnesty was commenced on Dec. 1 and it will end on May 31, 2020.

“I encourage all South Africans, who are in possession of illegal or unwanted firearms to surrender them to their nearest police stations during this amnesty period knowing they will not be prosecuted,” the minister said.

He said they have established 46 stations where gun owners can surrender their firearms from 7:00 until 17:00 each day.

The police said they believe the amnesty period would result in the reduction of illegally possessed firearms.

The last time South Africa had firearms amnesty was in 2010 when more than 42,000 guns and 450,000 rounds of ammunition were recovered.

Edited by: Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim

(NAN)

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