UN: ‘Credible’ Evidence of Houthi Torture of Detainees

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

UN: ‘Credible’ Evidence of Houthi Torture of Detainees Sentenced to Death this Week

Friday, 12 July, 2019 – 10:45
A general view of the old city of Sanaa, Yemen November 19, 2018. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
The United Nations human rights office appealed on Friday to the Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen to review their death sentence against 30 prisoners, citing credible allegations that many were tortured during three years of politically-motivated detention.

It urged the Appellate Court in the Houthi-held capital of Sanaa, which is due to review the ruling, to take into account the serious allegations and violations of their right to a fair trial and due process in the lower court.

The specialized first instance criminal court handed down the death sentences on Tuesday, UN human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said.

Most of the 30 men are academics, students and politicians.

“At no point were they given a proper chance to present a defense,” Shamdasani said.

“There is a high likelihood that many of these charges are politically-motivated. There are very credible allegations of torture and mistreatment, our teams have been able to speak to families,” Shamdasani added.

“Any politically-motivated charges should be dismissed and international fair trial standards fully complied with,” she stated.

The government has pleaded with the international community to save the detainees.

Yemen’s Human Rights Ministry condemned in the strongest terms on Tuesday these verdicts that were based on confessions that were extracted after “brutal psychological and physical torture committed by the Houthis against the captives.”

“They culminated in a farce trial by an illegal court,” it added.

It urged the international community and organizations and United Nations special envoy Martin Griffiths to intervene immediately to save them.

“The only crime they have committed is living in area held by the militias,” it said.

Amnesty International, in a statement this week, denounced what it called a “sham trial” where the 30 men faced “trump-up charges including espionage for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition”.

India will be most populous country by 2027: UN

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

India will be most populous country by 2027: UN

According to a UN report, India will overtake China to become the world’s most populous country in 2027.

INDIA Updated: Jul 11, 2019 05:50 IST

Sanchita Sharma
Sanchita Sharma
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
population explosion,population boom,india population boom
The world’s population is projected to increase by 2 billion people, from 7.7 billion now to 9.7 billion in 2050, according to the UN report.(AFP File Photo)

India and Nigeria will host the two fastest growing populations over the next three decades, with India adding 273 million people and Nigeria 200 million by 2050, the rapid pace fuelled by vastly different factors, according to the United Nations World Population Prospects 2019 report.

India will overtake China to become the world’s most populous country in 2027, according to the report. The world’s population is projected to increase by 2 billion people, from 7.7 billion now to 9.7 billion in 2050, according to the report.

While India’s population will increase because of a large cohort of young people who will enter their reproductive age over the next three decades, which will add “population momentum” even if births fall to two children or less per woman, Nigeria’s population will be driven by women having many more children.

India’s total fertility rate (TFR, the average number of children a woman has in her lifetime) ) is 2.2, with half of the country’s population in 24 states having reached “replacement TFR” of 2.1 or less, which is number of children per woman at which a population replaces itself and stops growing. In Nigeria, the TFR is 5.4.

“Even if the TFR across all states were to fall immediately to two births or less per woman, India’s population would continue to grow, as it will in countries and regions where fertility has declined recently. In India, Latin America and the Caribbean, virtually all of the projected population growth till 2050 will be driven by the population momentum from a largely young population,” AR Nanda, former secretary, Union ministry of health, and trustee, Indian Association for the Study of Population, said ahead of the World Population Day on Thursday. “The National Population Policy 2000 had projected TFR will reach around 2.1, which will show when the Sample Registration System data comes out in 2020. Contraceptives and spacing methods, including male contraception, have to be made widely available, especially to adolescents and young adults, who get missed,” said Nanda.

Addressing high TFR in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar must remain a priority, say experts. “People must have access to uninterrupted quality services and social development support, such as nutrition, health, sanitation and infrastructure, to ensure they have the tools and the information to have the desired family size,” said Rajib Acharya, senior associate, Population Council of India.

Budgetary allocation for health went up by 15% this year, from ₹56,045 crore in 2018-19 (revised estimates), to ₹64,559 crore in 2019-20. But while the allocation for the National Health Mission went up by 8% over the previous year to ₹32,995 crore, the share of the Reproductive and Child Health flexipool out of the approved NHM funds has halved in four years, from 40% in 2016-17 to 20% in 2019-20, which some demographers find worrying.

“A major chunk of the increased allocation for NHM is driven by health system strengthening, which increased by around 12% over last year…,” said a health ministry official, who did not want to be named.

First Published: Jul 11, 2019 05:43 IST

Israel: IAEA finds traces of radioactive material at Iran site flagged by Netanyahu

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

TV: IAEA finds traces of radioactive material at Iran site flagged by Netanyahu

10 months after PM identified ‘secret atomic warehouse’ in Tehran, UN inspectors reportedly conclude that it was indeed used as a nuclear storage facility

Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2018 in New York City, and holds up a picture of what he said was a secret Iranian nuclear warehouse. (John Moore/Getty Images/AFP)

Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2018 in New York City, and holds up a picture of what he said was a secret Iranian nuclear warehouse. (John Moore/Getty Images/AFP)

Inspectors from the UN’s nuclear agency have found traces of radioactive material at a building in Tehran that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu identified last year as a “secret atomic warehouse,” an Israeli television report said on Thursday.

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency visited the site several times after Netanyahu identified it in an address to the UN General Assembly last September, took soil samples, and have now definitively concluded that there were “traces of radioactive material” there, Channel 13 news reported.

It quoted what it said were four senior Israeli officials involved in the matter, and said the UN agency’s findings had become known to these officials recently.

Iran has denied that the site was a nuclear facility or served any secretive purpose. In an initial response to Netanyahu’s UN speech, Iranian state media claimed the warehouse was actually a recycling facility for scrap metal.

Iran’s alleged ‘atomic warehouse’ in Turquzabad, Tehran (YouTube screenshot)

But the IAEA inspectors, who last visited the site in March, have reached a “definitive conclusion” that “there were traces of radioactive material” there, Channel 13 said, and are currently preparing a report on the matter.

The TV report noted that “the storing of radioactive material in a secret facility without informing the IAEA is a breach of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons [NPT], to which Iran is a signatory.”

Indicating that Washington is also aware of the IAEA inspectors’ findings, the TV report said that Israel and the US expect the agency to issue a public report on the matter shortly.

Coincidentally or otherwise, Netanyahu spoke on Wednesday by phone with US President Donald Trump about Iran. “The two leaders discussed cooperation between the United States and Israel in advancing shared national security interests, including efforts to prevent Iran’s malign actions in the region,” the White House said.

An image from a placard displayed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly showing a suspected “secret atomic warehouse” in the Turquzabad district of Tehran containing up to 300 tons of nuclear material. (GPO)

Speaking at the United Nations last September, Netanyahu called on the IAEA to inspect what he said was the “secret atomic warehouse” in the Iranian capital.

He claimed some 15 kilograms (33 pounds) of radioactive material had been recently removed from the atomic warehouse and squirreled away around Tehran, endangering the capital’s residents. The site may have contained as much as 300 tons of nuclear-related equipment and material in 15 shipping containers, Netanyahu added. He did not specify what nuclear material was contained at the site.

Netanyahu specified that there was a rug-cleaning business nearby: “Like the atomic archive [revealed by the prime minister in April], it’s another innocent-looking compound. Now, for those of you at home using Google Earth, this no-longer-secret atomic warehouse is on Maher Alley, Maher Street. You have the coordinates, you can try to get there. And for those of you who try to get there, it’s 100 meters from the Kalishoi, the rug cleaning operation. By the way, I hear they do a fantastic job cleaning rugs there. But by now they may be radioactive rugs.”

He added: “Now, countries with satellite capabilities may notice some increased activity on Maher Alley in the days and weeks ahead. The people they’ll see scurrying back and forth are Iranian officials desperately trying to finish the job of cleaning up that site. Because, you see, since we raided the atomic archive, they’ve been busy cleaning out the atomic warehouse.

“Just last month, they removed 15 kilograms of radioactive material,” he went on. “You know what they did with it? They had 15 kilograms of radioactive material, they had to get it out of the site, so they took it out and they spread it around Tehran in an effort to hide the evidence. The endangered residents of Tehran may want to know that they can get a Geiger counter on Amazon for only $29.99… They took this radioactive material and spread it around Tehran.

“Now, the Iranian officials cleaning out that site still have a lot of work to do because they’ve had at least, at least 15 ship containers, they’re gigantic, 15 ship containers full of nuclear related equipment and material stored there. Now, since each of those containers can hold 20 tons of material, this means that this site contains as much as 300 tons, 300 tons of nuclear related equipment and material.”

That speech came months after Israel’s disclosure that it had spirited away what it said was a “half-ton” of Iranian nuclear documents from Tehran, with Netanyahu saying both the archive and the warehouse were proof that Iran continues to seek atomic weapons despite the 2015 international agreement to limit its nuclear program. “Iran has not abandoned its goal to develop nuclear weapons…. Rest assured that will not happen. What Iran hides, Israel will find,” Netanyahu told the UN.

A local businessman speaks to Tasnim news reporter near an alleged secret Iranian nuclear site in the Turquzabad district of Tehran on September 30, 2018. (screen capture: Tasnim)

Following Netanyahu’s UN appearance, IAEA head Yukiya Amano said nuclear inspectors had visited “all the sites and locations in Iran which it needed to visit,” while pushing back against the prime minister’s assertion that the organization had failed to act on intelligence provided by Israel on the warehouse.

Diplomats quoted in April, however, said the IAEA visited the site in Tehran’s Turquzabad district multiple times the previous month. They said tests were underway on environmental samples taken from the facility in order to determine if nuclear materials were present there. It was said then that results could be ready by June.

“We have nothing to hide and any access given to the IAEA so far has been in the framework of laws and regulations and nothing beyond that,” an Iranian official said at the time.

Referring to Netanyahu’s statements as “ridiculous,” an Iranian state TV report said the country was committed to nonproliferation and noted Iran’s nuclear program was under surveillance of the IAEA. A state TV website briefly reported the Netanyahu accusation and called it an “illusion.”

A Tasnim News reporter who visited the warehouse last October was told by a worker from inside the facility that it was not a military site, and that the Israeli leader was “a stupid person” for believing it was a nuclear warehouse. The reporter did not enter the facility, only speaking to the worker via intercom from outside the locked gate.

The owner of the nearby carpet cleaning business told Tasnim “there was nothing out of the ordinary” about the warehouse, and asserted that Netanyahu was fed disinformation to “make him a fool.”

In this photo released by official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani, right, and Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Yukiya Amano shake hands for media at the start of their meeting at the Presidency office in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, December 18, 2016. (Iranian Presidency Office/AP)

Netanyahu was a vocal opponent of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran when it was signed under Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, arguing that it would not stop but only delay Iran’s nuclear weapon program, while removing sanctions critical to curbing Tehran. He praised Trump for withdrawing from the accord in May.

Iran has denied it is seeking atomic weapons, while warning it would walk back its commitment to the nuclear accord if it does not receive economic inducements from its remaining signatories — Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. In recent days, it has breached the accord’s cap on uranium enrichment levels.

Agencies contributed to this report.

READ MORE:
COMMENTS

Yemen Urges Int’l Pressure to Curb Potential Oil Spill in Red Sea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Yemen Urges Int’l Pressure to Curb Potential Oil Spill in Red Sea

Wednesday, 26 June, 2019 – 08:45
A ship carrying a shipment of grain is docked at the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen August 5, 2018. REUTERS/Abduljabbar Zeyad
Aden – Riyadh – Asharq Al-Awsat
The Yemeni government renewed calls on the United Nations to pressure Houthi militias into allowing international teams to prevent the breakout of a potentially disastrous oil spill at the Safir offshore oil platform, which floats off Hodeidah’s northern coast.

In an address to the UN Secretary General, Yemeni Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdullah al-Hadrami stressed the need to get Houthis to grant the international body’s probing technicians access to Safir.

The facility contains more than one million barrels of crude oil pumped before Houthis staged a nationwide coup four years ago. The Iran-backed insurgents refuse allowing the internationally-recognized government from exporting that oil, and threaten blowing up the naval facility if they are not allowed to sell the oil reserves themselves.

Any explosion at Safir will cause a catastrophic oil spill with irreversible environmental damage.

Apart from Houthi threats of attack, Hadrami warned against the  Houthis’ continued blocking of assessment teams from examining the reservoir, which he said was in a corrosive condition that could lead up to a shocking environmental disaster that would contaminate Red Sea and regional waters.

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, President of the Revolutionary Council, a body formed by the militants, had tabled an offer previously to sell the oil reserves stored in Safir and have the freely-elected government and insurgents split revenues.

Hadrami, for his part, stressed the government’s keenness to its long-standing demand for solutions on this particular issue. He underscored that the government has cooperated fully with the UN in this regard and is waiting for experts to evaluate the development of an effective strategy.

The Yemeni deputy foreign minister also placed blame on the militias for causing an environmental disaster in the Red Sea.

According to official sources, Hadrami stressed during a high-level meeting that the Yemeni government was – and still is – very keen on peace, and the full implementation of the UN-brokered peace agreement inked in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, last December.

“The government has made a lot of concessions to this end, despite the continued intransigence of the Houthi militias, their maneuvering to buy time at the expense of suffering Yemenis and the failure of the Swedish agreement,” he said.

Hadrami renewed the government’s condemnation of Houthis’ continued blackmailing of international organizations operating in Yemen and their militias looting of food aid and humanitarian relief.

He also appreciated the efforts and positions undertaken by the World Food Program (WFP) to put an end to such violations.

UN denunciation of pressure from the military/Bolsonaro to keep (Lula) imprisoned

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL’S 247 NEWS)

 

Lula will lead the UN denunciation of pressure from the military and Bolsonaro to keep him imprisoned

Former President Lula’s defense will lead the UN talks between former judge Sergio Moro and prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol revealed by The Intercept website. It will be one more complaint in the international organization of the illegal manipulations of today’s minister of the government of extreme right that resulted in the condemnation of the ex- president

247 – Former President Lula’s defense will lead the UN talks between former judge Sergio Moro and prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol revealed by The Intercept website. 

It will be further denunciation in the international body of the illegal manipulations of today’s minister of the extreme right government that resulted in the condemnation of the ex-president.  

The information is from the Folha de S.Paulo Panelcolumn that further emphasizes that Lula’s lawyers are going to present to the UN the statements made by members of the Armed Forces and the Bolsonaro government as a demonstration that all instances of the Brazilian judiciary are pressured to keep the former president in jail.   

The lawyers hope that Lula’s case will be considered by the multilateral body in September. The lawyers are providing information and arguments to demonstrate that in Brazil “there is no possible legal remedy” due to political tensions and pressures on the Judiciary to prevent the release of Lula.   

The allegation that the Armed Forces and Bolsonaro’s political and family clan are at the top of this political pressure is likely to have international repercussions.

UN Welcomes Saudi, UAE Support for WFP in Yemen

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

UN Welcomes Saudi, UAE Support for WFP in Yemen

Wednesday, 8 May, 2019 – 09:00
A man carries sacks of grain he received from a distribution center in Bajil, Yemen, December 13, 2018, 2018. (Reuters)
Hodeidah – Asharq Al-Awsat
The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) has welcomed a $240 million contribution from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to support the food needs of vulnerable people in Yemen during the holy month of Ramadan.

“The generous contribution will greatly help Yemenis follow their practices and traditions during this important time,” WFP said in a statement.

“WFP plans to use this contribution to provide millions of families with monthly food rations of flour, pulses, vegetable oil, sugar and salt.”

On the other hand, Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen Lise Grande said Tuesday that it is a relief that the UN has finally been given the green light to use an existing corridor to gain access to the Red Sea Mills, adding that it is very positive that the parties have taken this step.

“Securing access to the Mills has been a long, difficult and frustrating process,” she said.

Grande also stressed the importance of doing everything possible to ensure that all humanitarian partners have free, unimpeded and immediate access to people who need and deserve assistance.

“Everyone knows we need the food in the Mills. It’s now a race against time to salvage supplies that can feed 3.7 million people for a month,” she added.

The WFP, for its part, announced that a technical team led by it has gained access to the Red Sea Mills on the eastern outskirts of Hodeidah city as part of initial efforts to salvage a stock of 51,000 tons of wheat flour stored at the facility.

The Mills have been inaccessible for the last eight months due to intense fighting.

“The technical team will remain at the site to clean and service the milling equipment in preparation for the milling and eventual distribution of the wheat,” WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel explained.

“We will need to send more workers and technical experts to the mills in due course and send supplies to the team now working at the site.”

He noted that in order for works to continue, “ongoing safe access to the Mills, which lie close to sensitive frontline areas” is needed.

In March, the WFP distributed food to more than 10.6 million people in Yemen, the largest number ever reached in a single month.

“We are scaling up to support 12 million people in urgent need of food in the coming months. WFP Operations in Yemen are the biggest for WFP in the world,” the spokesperson added.

WFP explained on its official website that its Deputy Executive Director Amir Abdulla traveled to Yemen on a three-day mission.

He first traveled to Aden, where he met with the legitimate government of the country’s premier and other senior officials before heading to Sanaa, where he met UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths and leaders from the Iran-backed Houthi militias, the statement said.

China finally puts Terrorist Tag on Pakistan’s Masood Azhar

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

On its new stand on global terror tag for Masood Azhar, China makes 3 points

The renewed focus on blacklisting comes against the backdrop of the Pulwama suicide bombing in February that killed 40 CRPF soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir. Masood Azhar’s Jaish-e-Mohammed had claimed responsibility for the terror attack.

WORLD Updated: Apr 30, 2019 21:11 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Masood Azhar,terror tag for Masood Azhar,China
A day before the UN sanctions committee is to decide on a global terrorist tag for Masood Azhar, China on Tuesday signalled a sharp change in its stand on blacklisting the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief.(AFP File Photo)

A day before the UN sanctions committee is to decide on a global terrorist tag for Masood Azhar, China on Tuesday signalled a sharp change in its stand on blacklisting the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief. Beijing, which has blocked four attempts by the United Nations Security Council over the last decade, on Tuesday spoke about the “positive progress” that had been made.

“This problem can be properly solved,” the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said to a question on media reports that Beijing was finally ready to lift its technical hold on blacklisting the Jaish terror group founder.

Hindustan Times had first reported on Monday that China is likely to go along with the terrorist tag for Masood Azhar. In the past, Beijing has cited both lack of evidence and consensus on why it had stood in the way.

The renewed focus on blacklisting comes against the backdrop of the Pulwama suicide bombing in February that killed 40 CRPF soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir. Masood Azhar’s Jaish-e-Mohammed had claimed responsibility for the terror attack.

Read | ‘Positive progress made’: China on global terrorist tag for Masood Azhar

At its media briefing on Tuesday, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson made three points.

One, that China supports the issue of listing which Beijing said, should be through political consultation within the framework of the world body’s sanctions committee.

“I think that is also the consensus of the overwhelming majority of the members of the Council,” the official said, pointing that “relevant consultations” were underway in the sanctions committee.

“Within the framework. And positive progress has been mad,” the foreign ministry said.

“Thirdly, we believe in the joint efforts of all parties. This problem can be properly solved,” the spokesperson said.

Also Read | Masood Azhar: Inside the mind of a global terror merchant

The statement and its language are seen as a contrast to its previous ones. Before China had last blocked the move, it had underlined that it would adopt “a responsible attitude act responsibly and continue to participate in discussions”.

The development infuriated the US and its allies, which circulated a draft resolution on listing Azhar among the UN Security Council’s members to force China’s hand.

In backroom negotiations, China conditioned its support to blacklist Azhar on India carrying out a military de-escalation on the border and resuming bilateral dialogue with Islamabad on all outstanding issues including Kashmir.

Azhar was released on December 31, 1999, in a hostage swap at Kandahar airport after an Indian airliner was hijacked by Pakistani terrorists. He has been accused of masterminding some of the most heinous terror attacks in India. Before Pulwama, the JeM was responsible for the 2016 attack on Pathankot airbase, the 2001 attack on Parliament, the Jammu and Kashmir assembly attack the same year, and a series of assaults against security forces in Kashmir.

First Published: Apr 30, 2019 19:50 IST

Mozambique: Cyclone Kenneth: Entire villages wiped out, says UN

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Cyclone Kenneth: Entire villages wiped out, says UN

Media caption Eye witness captures moment Kenneth hits northern Mozambique

A powerful cyclone has “entirely wiped out” villages in Mozambique, according to a UN official.

Gemma Connell, the head of the regional Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said it looked from the air like areas had been “run over by a bulldozer”.

Cyclone Kenneth struck on Thursday with winds of 220km/h (140mph).

It came barely a month after Cyclone Idai killed more than 900 people across three countries.

In a video posted on Twitter after flying over the affected area, Ms Connell pledged to work with local authorities “to get people the supplies they need”.

“The weather is still bad, it is still raining,” she said. “But thankfully the winds have died down.”

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The BBC’s Pumza Fihlani reports that damage to power lines in parts of northern Mozambique is making communication difficult.

Almost 20,000 people have taken shelter in makeshift displacement centres, including schools and churches, our correspondent adds.

A UN spokesman said a total of five people have now died, quoting Mozambique’s government, according to reports.

One person was earlier reported to have been killed when Cyclone Kenneth struck after being crushed by a falling tree. The storm also killed three people on the island nation of Comoros.

Is this unusual for the region?

UN weather experts say it is unprecedented for two cyclones of such intensity to hit Mozambique in the same season.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) also said that no previous records show a cyclone striking the region as far north as Kenneth.

It said a fact-finding mission would examine the “impact of climate change and sea-level rise on Mozambique’s resilience” to extreme weather.

Family displaced by Cyclones Idai and KennethImage copyrightAFP
Image captionFamilies have been left displaced by the cyclones

Amnesty International’s secretary general Kumi Naidoo said the two storms were “exactly what climate scientists warned would happen if we continue to warm our planet beyond its limits”.

“There is one inescapable and burning injustice we cannot stress enough,” he said, adding: “The people of Mozambique are paying the price for dangerous climate change when they have done next to nothing to cause this crisis.”

What was Kenneth’s impact?

Kenneth made landfall on the northern province of Cabo Delgado on Thursday evening, with wind speeds equivalent to a category four hurricane.

Winds eased on Friday, but France’s meteorological agency said up to 800mm of rain was expected to land on Mozambique over the coming days – nearly double the 10-day accumulated rainfall that flooded the port city of Beira during Cyclone Idai.

The UN’s World Food Programme said it was working on an “emergency preparedness plan” with the Mozambican government and other humanitarian groups.

“The most difficult thing is transportation – we don’t have helicopters yet,” Capt Kleber Castro from a Brazilian rescue team said. “We need a lot of support.”

Mozambique’s National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC) said 30,000 people had been evacuated from affected areas.

What is the affected area like?

Cabo Delgado province is not as densely populated as the area hit by Cyclone Idai, and there is apparently more high ground there.

But reports said many thousands of homes had been flattened by the winds, and the area has been hit by militant Islamist violence in recent months, which could complicate humanitarian operations.

Thousands of people had already fled their homes to seek shelter from violence in camps for displaced people.

What about other countries in the region?

Comoros is still reeling from damage caused by the cyclone, and in some southern areas of neighbouring Tanzania, authorities have ordered schools and businesses to close.

People stand by damaged houses and fallen trees in ComorosImage copyright GETTY IMAGES
Image caption Cyclone Kenneth has already devastated areas of the island nation of Comoros

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies shared images of the damage on social media. In a tweet, the group confirmed it had volunteers on the ground assisting communities.

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Despite Zimbabwe being further inland, officials there said they were also putting their disaster management agencies on alert.

“Drawing lessons from Cyclone Idai we cannot take chances any more,” said Department of Civil Protection director Nathan Nkomo.


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Algerian, Tunisian Meeting Addresses Libyan Crisis, Terrorism

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Algerian, Tunisian Meeting Addresses Libyan Crisis, Terrorism

Friday, 26 April, 2019 – 09:30
A general view shows part of Tunis, the capital of Tunisia [Reuters]
Tunis, London – Mongi Saidani, Asharq Al-Awsat
Algerian Foreign Minister Sabri Boukadoum visited Tunisia Thursday on his first foreign visit since assuming his position following the political change in his country.

The visit aims at supporting security and military coordination to counter the dangers of terrorism, in light of political instability in Libya, and comes after an invitation from Tunisian Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui.

Prior to Boukadoum’s visit to Tunis, Jhinaoui revealed that he discussed with Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar putting an end to the clashes in the country. Haftar informed Jhinaoui that he doesn’t reject calls for dialogue with representatives of the Government of National Accord (GNA).

Haftar noted that as the LNA commander, he is required to fight terrorist organizations.

In a related context, Jhinaoui said that he also spoke with the GNA Foreign Minister, stressing that his country deals with all parties, and does not line up with any Libyan party, at the expense of the other.

Earlier, Jhinaoui called on his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian to push the five permanent countries at the UN Security Council to have a unified stance toward the ongoing fighting in Libya.

Le Drian informed Jhinaoui that France is working with the Security Council member states to put an end to the fighting in Libya.

Both ministers discussed also the need for an immediate ceasefire in Tripoli and for the political process to resume under the auspices of the UN.

In other news, Tunisian security forces stopped the broadcast of Nessma TV channel for violating laws of the audio and visual sector.

The Interior Ministry confirmed that the Communications Authority issued the order to stop the broadcast of the channel, and security forces had entered the network’s offices and confiscated equipment.

“On April 15, the Communications Authority issued an order to seize the network’s broadcasting equipment since the channel is operating without legal basis,” the ministry stated.

The Commission seized the channel’s equipment on the grounds that the company licensed since 2009, did not abide by the new laws since the call to do so in 2014.

Head of the Commission, Nuri al-Lajmi, explained that authorities waited for four years for the channel to settle its status, although the law obliges it to do so within a period not exceeding one year.

Nessma officials said security forces had stormed its Tunis offices on Thursday morning and cut the network’s transmission. The staff gathered in front of the channel’s building and chanted against the government.

The channel also claimed the Commission’s decision was politicized, which Lajmi denied asserting that no political party influenced the government’s order.

The ministry denied the channel’s assertion that security forces had assaulted Nessma employees.

Libyans ‘Ignore’ War To Make Municipal Elections A Success

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Libyans ‘Ignore’ War to Make Municipal Elections a Success

Sunday, 21 April, 2019 – 10:45
A group of members of the Central Committee for Municipal Elections are seen during an election simulation in local school, Tripoli, Libya February 3, 2019. REUTERS/Hani Amara
Cairo – Jamal Jawhar
Municipal elections were held on Saturday in seven cities south Libya despite humanitarian suffering caused by fierce military battles in the capital Tripoli between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and forces loyal to the internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).

Fifty-nine polling stations were opened from nine am to six pm to receive some 138.61 voters in Brak al-Shati, Edri al-Shati, al-Rahibat, Ubari, al-Garda al-Shati, al-Shwairif, and Zelton.

The Central Commission of Municipal Councils Elections (CCMCE) tweeted that the voting process continued throughout the day without obstacles or crises amid a remarkable turnout of citizens.

UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame hailed Saturday the keenness of Libyans to hold municipal elections despite the current conflict in the country.

Seven municipalities held elections, Salame tweeted on his official twitter account, lauding their persistence to take part in these elections.

CCMCE held municipal elections in nine municipalities in southern and western Libya in late March, the first in five years. The participation rate back then exceeded 40 percent and was under the supervision of the GNA Presidential Council.

Libyan journalist Idris Jabaji, who lives in the southern city of Sabha, wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday that the city’s municipal elections will take place on April 27, announcing his support for one of the competing lists.

The CCMCE had complained about the lack of funds needed to hold the elections and called on the government to provide 50 million dinars ($36 million).

Holding these elections was the first phase of the UN road map, which was supposed to precede adopting a permanent constitution and holding presidential and parliamentary elections before the outbreak of war in Tripoli.

The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) called on the government to provide funding for the municipal elections while it has been providing technical support along with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to the CCMCE since March 2018.

Notably, there are 120 local councils in Libya all of which have begun operating in 2013 to replace the councils established by Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. Some of them held elections in 2014.

The municipal council is composed of seven members, who in turn elect their president internally.