Connect with us

World

West says new Sudan army-led council violates democracy transition

Published

on

November 12, 2021

CAIRO (Reuters) -The United States and other Western powers expressed grave concern on Friday at the appointment of a new Sudanese ruling council by the general who led last month’s coup, saying it complicated efforts to restore a transition to democracy.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/coup-leader-pushes-sudan-off-post-bashir-path-democracy-2021-11-12 was sworn in on Thursday as head of the new Sovereign Council, which replaces the power-sharing body he dissolved last month in a takeover that derailed Sudan’s transition to civilian rule.

The move by the military undermined its commitment to uphold transitional arrangements requiring civilian members of the council to be nominated by the Forces for Freedom and Change, a political coalition that had been sharing power with the army since 2019, the United States, the United Kingdom, Norway, the European Union and Switzerland said in a statement.

Advertisement

It “complicates efforts to put Sudan’s democratic transition back on track”, they said, adding the move was “in violation” of an accord setting out the transition.

“We strongly urge against further escalatory steps,” they said in the statement.

French President Emmanuel Macron wrote on Twitter overnight that events in Sudan were very worrying. “We demand the immediate freeing of all those who embody the spirit and hope of the Sudanese revolution, which must not be betrayed,” he wrote.

The new 14-member Council includes civilians representing Sudan’s regions but none from the FFC, in effect dissolving the transitional partnership. One member has yet to be named.

Abdalla Hamdok, the prime minister ousted in the Oct. 25 coup, remains under house arrest. Hamdok has in turn demanded the release of top civilians and a return to the transition that began after the overthrow of long-term autocrat Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

Advertisement

Western donors which supported Sudan’s transition have frozen aid in response to the Oct. 25 takeover.

Earlier, Volker Perthes, the U.N. special representative for Sudan, said the unilateral decision “makes it increasingly difficult to return to the constitutional order”.

Perthes has been involved in mediation efforts aimed at securing the release of detainees and finding a negotiated way out of the crisis through a return to power-sharing between the military and civilians. But these efforts have stalled amid signs that the army is moving to consolidate control https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/sudans-military-rulers-draw-bashir-era-veterans-tighten-grip-2021-11-11/?enowpopup.

Opponents of the army’s move have called for big protests on Saturday. Security forces shot dead three people during the last big protest against the takeover on Oct. 31. In total, 15 protesters have been killed since the coup.

(Reporting by Nafisa Eltahir and Lilian Wagdy in Cairo, Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and Christian Lowe in Paris; Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

Advertisement

Continue Reading
Advertisement

World

China top representative in Macau to advise govt on national security-state media

Published

on

December 3, 2021

HONG KONG (Reuters) – China’s top representative in the semiautonomous gambling hub of Macau will begin advising the former Portuguese colony’s government on national security matters, state news agency Xinhua reported on Friday.

The move highlights increased scrutiny from Beijing over Macau affairs after the central government declared outflows of Chinese gambling-related funds into Macau and other gaming hubs a national security risk.

Last week Macau authorities arrested Alvin Chau https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/gambling-group-suncitys-shares-set-rise-61-after-arrested-chairman-resigns-2021-12-02, the founder of Macau’s biggest junket operator, which brings in high rollers to play at casinos, along with 10 others, for allegedly using Macau as a base for an illegal “live web betting platform.”

Advertisement

A warrant for Chau’s arrest has also been issued by the mainland Chinese city of Wenzhou, accusing him of forming an extensive junket agent network that helps citizens engage in gambling activities and of setting up a company that helps gamblers make cross-border fund transfers.

The move was seen as a warning that Macau and mainland Chinese authorities were adopting a zero-tolerance approach to the promotion of gambling in mainland China where it is illegal.

Xinhua said Macau asked Beijing to appoint a national security affairs adviser in the city and that Beijing tasked the head of its Liaison Office Fu Ziying to “supervise, guide, coordinate, and support” the government on the matter.

Beijing will also appoint three national security technical advisers from within the Liaison Office, which is Beijing’s main representative institution in Macau.

(Writing by Marius Zaharia; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

Advertisement

Continue Reading

World

S.Korea makes vaccine pass mandatory for many more venues as Omicron fears rise

Published

on

December 3, 2021

By Sangmi Cha

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea announced on Friday that people visiting restaurants and cinemas and other public spaces will have to show vaccine passes, amid a surge in COVID-19 infections and five confirmed cases of the Omicron variant.

The government also re-imposed limits on private gatherings, which had been recently relaxed, as the country posted record numbers of new cases this week.

Advertisement

Desperate to fend off the Omicron variant, authorities halted quarantine exemptions on Thursday for fully vaccinated inbound travellers and made a 10-day quarantine mandatory.

From next Monday, people visiting 14 designated public spaces, including hospitality and entertainment venues, will have to show their vaccines passes, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum told a coronavirus response meeting, setting out the plan to reduce the risk of community spread. The public will have a grace period of a week to get used to the new rules.

While people have been required to show their vaccine pass at high-risk venues such as gyms, saunas and bars, it is the first time that the requirement has been extended to restaurants and cafes.

From February, anyone aged 12 years or older will have to show a vaccination pass. The government decided to lower the exemption age, currently set at 17 years, to encourage teenagers to get vaccinated as the under-18 age group accounts for 20% of all infections, Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol told a briefing.

The limit on private gatherings was cut to six people in the greater Seoul area, and eight outside, from the current limit of 10 in Seoul and 12 outside, Kwon said.

Advertisement

South Korea has so far confirmed a total of five Omicron cases after a fully vaccinated couple tested positive for the variant after arriving last week from Nigeria. The patients are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms such as headache, low-grade fever, dizziness and sore throat, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

KDCA reported 4,944 COVID-19 cases for Thursday, a slight decline from record high 5,266 cases on Wednesday. It has reported a total of 462,555, with 3,739 deaths overall.

South Korea has fully vaccinated 91.6% of its adult population aged 18 and over, yet the booster dose uptake remains at 8.1%.

(Reporting by Sangmi Cha; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Advertisement
Continue Reading

World

U.S. House to consider bill to clamp down on products from China’s Xinjiang

Published

on

December 3, 2021

By Michael Martina and Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. House of Representatives is set to consider a bill as soon as next week that would ban imports from China’s Xinjiang region over concerns about forced labor, Representative Jim McGovern, the bill’s sponsor, told reporters on Thursday.

“Next week is an important week for human rights,” McGovern said. “… We think it’s important to move some China legislation, hopefully much of it focused on human rights. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act we want to see that get over the finish line in some form.”

Advertisement

President Joe Biden is hosting a summit of democracies next week, seen as an effort to push back against China’s growing influence.

Republicans and Democrats have been arguing over the Uyghur legislation for months. Most recently, Republican Senator Marco Rubio has been demanding that the measure be included as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, delaying the Senate’s consideration of the massive annual bill setting policy for the Pentagon.

Rubio’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether House passage of McGovern’s bill would change his stance on the defense bill.

If the Uyghur measure becomes law, it would create a “rebuttable presumption” that all goods from Xinjiang, where the Chinese government has set up a vast network of detention camps for Uyghurs and other Muslim groups, were made with forced labor.

China denies abuses in Xinjiang, which supplies much of the world’s materials for solar panels, but the U.S. government and many rights groups say Beijing is carrying out genocide there.

Advertisement

Republicans have accused Biden’s Democrats of slow-walking the legislation because it would complicate the president’s renewable energy agenda. Democrats deny that.

“I just want to see a strong, a much stronger, approach when it comes to forced labor in Xinjiang,” Democratic Representative Dan Kildee told Reuters in a telephone interview, arguing that domestic production of solar panels could be ramped up.

(Reporting by Michael Martina and Patricia Zengerle; Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending