U.N. calls on Tunisia to immediately release detained official
Tunisian national Moncef Kartas is a member of a panel of experts that monitors sanctions, including an arms embargo, on Libya and reports their findings to the U.N. Security Council.
He was detained in late March at Tunis airport.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the detention and prosecution of Kartas was “in violation of the privileges and immunities that have been granted to Mr Kartas in the interests of the United Nations.”
He told reporters on Wednesday that the United Nations has formally asked Tunisia for Kartas’ “immediate release and for the charges against him to be dropped.”
A spokesman for a Tunisian anti-terrorism judiciary unit told Tunisian state news agency TAP on March 30 that the detained official had traveled in a private capacity on his Tunisian passport, meaning he was not entitled to diplomatic immunity and could be arrested.
Namibia to deport 53 refugees back to S. Africa
A police commissioner, David Indongo said on Monday that Namibia would deport 53 foreign nationals who fled neighbouring South Africa following a recent wave of xenophobic attacks.
The commissioner said that the 53 foreign nationals who had camped at the Osire refugee camp, were transported on Saturday morning by immigration officials to the southern border settlement of Noordoewer in preparation for their deportation.
The refugees, who include 14 men, 13 women and 26 children, are being accommodated at the EHW Baard Primary School hostel in Noordoewer,’’ he said.
According to the Namibian police, the majority of the refugees are Congolese and Angolan nationals who have South African-issued asylum permits.
The 53 formed part of more than 600 refugees and asylum seekers who had camped at the UN’s High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) offices in Cape Town and Pretoria while demanding to be taken to safer countries abroad.
Edited by: Hadiza Mohammed/Emmanuel Yashim
Japan to pay additional $13.8bn for 2011 quake reconstruction
Government officials on Monday said that Japan would be expected to pay an additional reconstruction cost of 1.5 trillion yen (13.8 billion U.S. dollars) for the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis in northeastern Japan.
According to the government, the additional costs will be generated in the fiscal period between 2021 and 2025.
The officials said that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet would likely adopt a draft reconstruction policy drawn up by a government committee by the end of the year, while related bills are expected to be submitted during 2020 ordinary Diet session.
According to the government, the total expenditure for reconstruction work through 2020 is estimated at slightly more than 31 trillion yen (285.2 billion dollars).
According to the draft, the government will use tax revenue including an increase in income tax 2020 to fund the reconstruction works from fiscal 2021 to 2025.
The Japanese government also plans to extend the work of the Reconstruction Agency for an extra 10 years, compared to its closure originally planned to take place in March 2021 so that it can continue aiding reconstruction of areas contaminated by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster.
Established in February 2012, the agency has been working as the central control point for efforts to reconstruct disaster-stricken areas.
Edited by: Emmanuel Yashim
Edited by: Hadiza Mohammed
U.S. indicts 40 public officials for corruption
The United States Government says it has indicted “almost 40 public officials” and their immediate family members around the world for corruption this year.
U.S. Secretary of State, Mr Mike Pompeo, disclosed this in a statement on the occasion of the 2019 International Anti-Corruption Day on Monday.
He said the indictment was pursuant to Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2019.
Pompeo said the U.S. would continue to use of the instrument “to prevent corrupt officials of foreign governments and their immediate family members from traveling to and spending their ill-gotten gains in the United States”.
“On this day, we renew our call to all countries to address the scourge of corruption.
“They should effectively implement their international anticorruption commitments, including those under the UN Convention against Corruption,” he said.
The Secretary of State also urged them to support civil society and the media journalists; “and take measures to promote open and accountable governance”.
Edited by: Sadiya Hamza
Youth empowerment, mobilisation key in anti-graft war — UNGA president
The President of the UN General Assembly (PGA), Amb. Tijani Muhammad-Bande, has called for active engagement of young people in the fight against corruption.
The way we engage young people today will determine the prospects for sustainable development and peace.
Mobilising and empowering Youth for Justice is key to ensuring sustainable solutions to combating corruption,” he said in a message to mark the 2019 International Anti-Corruption Day.
Referencing findings that an estimated 2.6 trillion dollars is stolen through corruption globally every year, Muhammad-Bande urged stronger international collaboration to check the menace.
He said: “The International Anti-Corruption Day is an opportunity to acknowledge and promote the efforts against corruption and bribery worldwide.
According to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development’, we need to fully address corruption to have any hope of achieving the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.
Corruption diverts resources away from poverty-eradication efforts. It fuels conflict and disharmony in society.
I have set poverty eradication and quality education as key priorities for the 74th Session of the General Assembly.
Corruption also hinders the achievement of quality education at the same time, education is a crucial element to effectively address the phenomenon of corruption.
It fosters attitudes that do not tolerate corruption.
The PGA described corruption as a serious global challenge to which no country is immune.
He, therefore, called on stakeholders to use the day to rededicate themselves to fight against corruption, including through cooperation and partnerships.
Edited by: Chukwudi Ekezie
Namibia launches book honouring founding president
Namibia launches book honouring founding president
Windhoek, Dec. 9, 2019 Namibia on Monday launched a book “teaching and leading by example’’ in honour of their founding president, Sam Nujoma.
The book depicts him as a pragmatic and visionary leader who led Namibia in pursuit of justice, rule of law, gender equality and self-determination.
Speaking at the launch, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said Nujoma led with distinction and example.
“It is only a humble and dignified leader who after having defeated a bitter enemy, can hold out an olive branch in the spirit of peace and reconciliation to forgive past wrongs and move towards building a nation.
“Because of his humility, Nujoma laid a solid foundation of peace in a country torn apart by war.’’
The nine-chapter book summarises leadership attributes of Nujoma, who was also described as a man full of humility.
The book is published by the Sam Nujoma foundation, with contributions from local and international scholars.
Edited by: Hadiza Mohammed/Donald Ugwu
Erdogan says Turkey ready to help Afghanistan eliminate IS
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that Turkey would give all the necessary support for the eradication of the Islamic State (IS) from Afghanistan.
The outbreak of Daesh virus in Afghanistan must be prevented,” Erdogan said at the eighth ministerial conference of Heart of Asia Istanbul Process in Istanbul, using the Arabic name of the IS.
The Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process was established to provide a platform to discuss regional issues, particularly encouraging security, political, and economic cooperation among Afghanistan and its neighbours.
The process began with the Istanbul conference in Afghanistan in 2011 upon the initiative of Turkey.
To prevent terrorist organisations from finding a favorable environment in the region, the international community needs to boost material and moral investments in Afghanistan, the president said.
Neglecting Afghanistan by focusing on some of the gains achieved in recent years will result in irreparable damage,” he stressed.
In his view, the private sector and regional projects should play a major role in the economic and social development of Afghanistan.
Edited by: Hadiza Mohammed/Emmanuel Yashim
UN urges Somalia to step up fight against graft
The UN senior envoy in Somalia on Monday called on the government to strengthen the fight against corruption which is an obstacle to development and public trust.
James Swan, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia acknowledged the country’s progress in strengthening the rule of law and building accountable and transparent institutions.
Corruption is a major obstacle to development,” he said.
It undermines efforts toward state-building, peace and reconciliation. It erodes public trust and weakens state institutions’ ability to deliver to their people,”
Swan said the UN was very encouraged by the recent signing into law of the Bill on the establishment of the anti-corruption commission by President Mohamed Farmajo, and the elaboration of the national anti-corruption strategy.
These are commendable steps forward for Somalia,” he said.
He said a key instrument to sustain, manage and track countries’ fight against corruption was the UN Convention against Corruption, the world’s only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument.
According to Swan, though Somalia is yet to sign and ratify the Convention, the UN welcomes steps that are being taken toward the goal, such as the progress with the anti-corruption commission and the anti-corruption strategy.
He said that the UN system had since established an anti-corruption platform with international financial institutions and other development partners to provide technical and advisory services to Somalia in its efforts to curb corruption.
Swan said that other UN programmes that mobilised resources to support the country’s anti-corruption efforts across the country, centered on institutions and awareness-raising and on the judicial aspects of anti-corruption.
Edited by: Yahaya Isah/Emmanuel Yashim
Protests erupt as India pushes for religion-based citizenship bill
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in India on Monday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government presented to parliament a controversial bill that would give citizenship to non-Muslim minorities from three neighboring countries.
Home Minister Amit Shah introduced Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in India’s lower house amid raucous debate.
Opposition parties stood against the proposed law that would, for the first time, create a legal pathway to grant Indian nationality on the basis of religion.
The bill was originally introduced in 2016 during the Modi government’s first term but lapsed after protests and an alliance partner’s withdrawal. It proposes to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslims who came to India from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan before 2015.
Oppositions politicians inside parliament, and protesters in several Indian cities, said the bill discriminated against Muslims and violated India’s secular constitution.
Shah and Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which had included the CAB as part of its manifesto in the last general election, insist that it is necessary.
In these three countries, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians, followers of these six religions have been tormented,” Shah said, before the bill was tabled after a vote.
But protesters returned to the streets in Assam – one of India’s remote northeastern states that had previously opposed the bill – and blocked roads, burnt tyres and painted walls with slogans against the new proposal.
Student groups called for dawn-to-dusk shutdown in four districts of the state. Shops, businesses, educational and financial institutions remained shut and public transport stayed off the roads.
We will fight and oppose the bill till the last drop of our blood,” All Assam Students’ Union adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya told Reuters, underlining the region’s resistance against migrants amid fears that tens of thousands of settlers from neighboring Bangladesh would gain citizenship.
In Modi’s home state of Gujarat and the eastern city of Kolkata, hundreds of people staged protests and marched against the proposed law.
In a statement issued on Monday, a group of more than 1,000 Indian scientists and scholars also called for the immediate withdrawal of the bill.
We fear, in particular, that the careful exclusion of Muslims from the ambit of the bill will greatly strain the pluralistic fabric of the country,” the group said.
After going through the lower house of parliament, where BJP has a majority, the bill has to be passed by the upper house, where the ruling party enough votes. Any bill needs to be ratified by both houses of India’s parliament to become law.
“Please save this country from this law and save the home minister,” Asaduddin Owaisi, an opposition MP from the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen party, told parliament.
Edited by: Abdullahi Mohammed/Emmanuel Yashim
Some 100,000 employees in Finland’s industrial sector begin 3-day strike
Some 100,000 Finnish employees in the industrial sector on Monday began a three-day strike to back up their salary demands.
The action comprises both workers’ and management unions.
The strike was called by the Finnish Industrial Union, the Trade Union Pro and the “white-collar” Federation of Professional and Managerial Staff YTN.
Also, workers in the building and electrical sectors had announced solidarity strikes, bringing the total number of employees embarking on industrial action to nearly 100,000.
The striking workers include employees in fuel production, pharmaceutical companies, mines, and several technology companies.
The state mediator, Vuokko Piekkala, told Finnish national radio Yle that the views on salary increase between the employee and employer unions were widely apart.
Earlier, the Finnish Industrial Union rejected a mediation proposal by the state mediator, Riku Aalto, President of the Industrial Union, said the proposal was less than the two or three per cent increase obtained by employees in Finland.
Details of mediation proposals are not public in Finland.
Meanwhile, Finnish unions have largely set the increase levels of key competitor countries, mainly Germany, as a benchmark for their demands.
According to German Economic Research Institute, the average nominal increase agreed in 2019 was over three per cent and the metal sector had exceeded that.
Aalto said that the employers were trying to worsen the terms of labour.
The Executive Director for Industrial Relations at Technology Industries of Finland, Minna Helle, said the strike affected the reputation of Finland as an export provider.
She claimed the strike would cause 400-million-euro (or 442-million-U.S.-dollar) losses, while the union said the impact of the strike would be 26 million euros only.
However, the strike would be followed by a weeklong lockout in the Forest Industries concerning mainly sawmills and plywood plants.
The lockout would commence on Dec. 12 and ends on Dec. 18. Lockout is an employer measure. However, During a lockout employees would be excluded from the workplace and would not be paid.
Edited by: Yahaya Isah./Emmanuel Yashim
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