Information round to clock

    • Monday 07 May
    • ZTE petitions US government to lift sanctions

      - 11h48

      Chinese telecom giant ZTE has asked the US government to lift a ban on sales to the company, which threatens its survival and has added to trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.

      The telecom equipment and handset maker said in a filing Sunday that it has submitted a request to the US commerce department for a stay of the export ban, along with supplemental information.

      The ban prohibits US companies from selling crucial hardware and software components to the company, with one Chinese investment bank estimating ZTE had only one or two months supply of those items on hand.

      Trading in ZTE shares in Hong Kong and Shenzhen has been halted since the US announcement last month.

      The tough sanctions come as the battle over technology takes centre stage in a US spat with China over trade and industrial policy.

    • Pakistan interior minister recovering after gun attack

      - 11h45

      Pakistan’s interior minister was recovering in hospital Monday after being shot in a suspected assassination attempt possibly linked to blasphemy, with the attack seen as an ominous sign for security ahead of nationwide elections.

      Ahsan Iqbal, 59, was shot in the right arm as he prepared to leave a public meeting in his constituency in Punjab province late Sunday.

      A man identified by police only as “Abid” and said to be in his early 20s was wrestled to the ground by officers and bystanders as he was preparing to fire a second shot. He has been taken into custody.

      Police are still investigating the attack, but local deputy commissioner Ali Anan Qamar told AFP that the shooter said he was inspired by a controversy last year in which a small amendment to the oath that election candidates must swear had to be hastily reversed after it was linked to blasphemy.

    • Friday 04 May
    • Death toll in Libya election commission attack rises to 14

      - 09h41

      Libya’s health ministry said Thursday that the death toll from the suicide attack against the headquarters of the electoral commission in Tripoli a day earlier had risen to 14.

      Six others were wounded in the attack claimed by the Islamic State group (IS), which saw two assailants open fire at guards and officials before blowing themselves up.

      The death toll had previously stood at 12 killed and seven injured.

      The attack has been strongly condemned by the United Nations, the European Union, France, the United States, Britain and Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).

    • Somalia identifies suspect in kidnapping of German nurse

      - 09h40

      A security guard employed by the International Committee of the Red Cross was involved in the kidnapping of a German nurse working for the organisation in Mogadishu, the Somali government said Thursday.

      The nurse, identified as Sonja Nientiet, was abducted from the ICRC compound at around 8.00 pm local time (1700 GMT) on Wednesday evening when unidentified armed men entered its premises.

      Security ministry spokesman Abdiaziz Ali Ibrahim said one of the Red Cross security guards was involved, after local staff reported the gunmen had easily managed to sneak Nientiet out through a back entrance into a waiting vehicle.

      “She was kidnapped by a member of ICRC’s own security guards in Mogadishu, the kidnapper’s name is Mohamud Mohamed Alas,” he said.

      “We particularly request the family of the kidnapper to work with the security agencies and inform them of the whereabouts of their son.”

    • Nigeria’s Buhari stops in London on return from US

      - 09h39

      Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has made a “technical stopover” in London after meeting US President Donald Trump in Washington, his spokesman said on Thursday.

      The 75-year-old former army general spent months in the British capital last year for treatment to an unspecified illness, raising questions about his fitness to govern.

      His government was criticised for failing to update the public on his condition and repeatedly insisted the president was “hale and hearty”.

    • UN chief calls for calm in C. African Republic

      - 09h35

      UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called for calm in Central African Republic, where at least 24 people were killed in attacks in the capital Bangui targeting a church and a mosque.

      Guterres condemned Tuesday’s attacks, which also left about 170 people wounded, and “urges all actors to cease violence and work together to bring peace and stability to the country,” his deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said in a statement.

      “The Secretary-General calls for calm and urges the Central African Republic authorities to investigate these repeated attacks and quickly bring those responsible to justice.”

    • Thursday 03 May
    • 13 killed as cattle rustlers attack Nigerian village

      - 13h25

      Thirteen people were killed in prolonged clashes between cattle thieves and local civilian militia in northern Nigeria’s Zamfara state, police said on Thursday.

      The militia and cattle thieves fought a gun battle Tuesday through Wednesday in the remote village of Fankashi in the Maru district of the state, police spokesman Mohammed Shehu told AFP.

      “Our men recovered 13 dead bodies from the criminal gang and the vigilantes from the village after the fight,” he added.

      The village was attacked by the bandits, resulting in the fight with the militia, who were armed with locally made, single-shot muskets.

    • 100 killed as powerful storms ravage north India

      - 13h24

      Powerful dust storms tore across northern India killing at least 100 people and injuring more than 140 as they flattened houses in their path and warnings were made Thursday of more chaos to come.

      Winds of more than 130 kilometres (80 miles) per hour ravaged Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab states and the death toll was expected to rise, officials said.

      The dust storms brought down feeble mud houses, killing people as they slept.

      Walls, trees and electricity pylons were all torn down by the winds which were followed by fierce lightning storms.

      Similar storms kill hundreds of people each year in India, but these were some of the most severe in recent decades.

      Shivam Lohia, who owns a resort hotel in Alwar district of Rajasthan, said he abandoned his car on the road ran for his life after it was almost blown away.

    • Wednesday 02 May
    • Kanye West sparks new outrage in calling slavery ‘choice’

      - 12h54

      Rapper Kanye West, on the receiving end of criticism in the music world after backing President Donald Trump, sparked fresh outrage Tuesday when he called slavery “a choice.”

      The rapper, never shy about expressing himself, made the comments in passing during one of two free-flowing interviews he gave as he promotes two upcoming albums.

      “You hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years? That sounds like a choice,” West told TMZ Live, the broadcast wing of the celebrity gossip site.

      West elaborated

    • 109 in custody after Paris May Day violence: police

      - 12h53

      French police said 109 people were in custody on Wednesday after violent May Day protests in Paris, correcting an earlier figure of 209 given by Interior Minister Gerard Collomb.

      Hooded youths had torched a McDonald’s restaurant and several vehicles after joining the traditional May 1 union-led demonstration for workers’ rights.

      Collomb, who gave the wrong figure in a television interview, promised to boost policing at future protests after facing accusations that the government had been caught unaware by 1,200 trouble-makers.

      “For the next demonstrations there will be even more security forces, this time with the intention of totally separating protesters from those who have come to smash things up,” he told France 2 television.

    • S. Korea: US troop withdrawal not linked to possible peace treaty

      - 12h50

      South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday dismissed claims that US troops stationed in the country would have to leave if a peace treaty was signed with the North.

      Seoul and Pyongyang have remained technically at war since the 1950s but Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed at a landmark summit last week to work towards a permanent treaty to replace a 65-year-old armistice agreement.

      “US Forces Korea (USFK) is a matter of the South Korea-US alliance. It has nothing to do with signing a peace treaty,” Moon said, referring to the agreement that sees 28,500 US forces based in the South.

      Moon’s comments came after a presidential adviser publicly suggested the presence of US soldiers, sailors and airmen would be called into question if a peace treaty were to be agreed with Pyongyang.

    • Netflix producer accuses Weinstein of persistent sexual assault

      - 12h49

      A Netflix series producer has filed court documents in New York alleging disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein raped, sexually assaulted and verbally abused her over a five-year period.

      Alexandra Canosa, an associate producer of “Marco Polo”, had initially filed a $10 million suit in December, and this week amended it to further detail her allegations against the 66-year-old father of five.

      She said Weinstein “constantly threatened” her and “made it clear that if she did not succumb to his demands for sexual contact or if she exposed his unwanted conduct there would be retaliation, including humiliation, the loss of her job and loss of any ability to work in the entertainment business,” according to documents filed Monday.

    • Macron warns over China dominance in Indo-Pacific

      - 12h48

      No country can be allowed to dominate the Indo-Pacific, the leaders of France and Australia said Wednesday, as regional capitals fret over the rise of an increasingly assertive China.

      French President Emmanuel Macron said the two nations — alongside fellow democracy India — had a responsibility to protect the region from “hegemony” — a veiled reference to Beijing’s growing might.

      “What’s important is to preserve rules-based development in the region… and to preserve necessary balances in the region.

      “It’s important with this new context not to have any hegemony,” he added through an interpreter.

    • Friday 27 April
    • Bill Cosby found guilty of sexual assault

      - 11h42

      US television icon Bill Cosby was convicted of sexual assault Thursday in the first celebrity courtroom battle of the #MeToo era — a combative retrial that capped his fall from grace and offered vindication to scores of women who accused him of abuses.

      The frail, 80-year-old Cosby — once beloved as “America’s Dad” — risks spending the rest of his life behind bars when he is sentenced for drugging and molesting Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia mansion in January 2004.

      Cosby sat emotionless in the packed courtroom in Norristown, just outside Philadelphia, as the verdict was read out to stifled sobs and gasps in the gallery. Cosby’s attorney vowed to appeal.

    • New US envoy Pompeo takes Trump spending message to NATO

      - 11h40

      President Donald Trump’s brand new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will spend his first full day in office Friday hammering home one of his boss’s oldest themes — demanding that NATO allies pay their way.

      Within hours of being sworn in, America’s new chief diplomat boarded a plane to Brussels for a meeting of some of his new counterparts, the western alliance’s foreign ministers.

      The message he will carry is a now familiar one: Trump wants NATO member states to increase their military spending and thus reduce the burden placed on the alliance’s biggest member.

      Some allies, most notably wealthy Germany, are reluctant to meet a commitment made at a NATO summit in Wales in September 2016 to spend two percent of their GDP on their military.

    • S/Africa: Caster Semenya rebukes IAAF’s hate with Twitter post

      - 11h39

      South Africa’s world and Olympics champion runner Caster Semenya has told the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) that she is aware that the organisation does not “like” her.The star athlete made headlines on Thursday after the IAAF issued new eligibility regulations for female classification, which will greatly impact Semenya, among others.

      But Semenya is not letting any of that “hate” affect her.

      She tweeted on Thursday: “I’m 97% sure you don’t like me. But I’m 100% sure I don’t care.”

      Semenya fans and the South African government have come out in full support of the athlete after the IAAF, the world’s athletics governing body, announced on Thursday that some female athletes, who have naturally high testosterone levels would have to race against men or change events if they do not take medication to lower their levels.

    • North and South Korea hold historic summit

      - 11h37

      The leaders of the two Koreas held a landmark summit Friday after a highly symbolic handshake over the Military Demarcation Line that divides their countries, with the North’s Kim Jong Un declaring they were at the “threshold of a new history”.

      Kim said he was “filled with emotion” after stepping over the concrete blocks, making him the first North Korean leader to set foot in the South since the Korean War ended in an armistice 65 years ago.

      At Kim’s impromptu invitation the two men briefly crossed hand-in-hand into the North before walking to the Peace House building on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom for the summit — only the third of its kind since hostilities ceased in 1953.

    • Nigeria: Six killed in Boko Haram’s attack

      - 11h36

      The Nigerian Police have confirmed that six persons were killed in an attack coordinated by Boko Haram insurgents at Jidari Polo area of Maiduguri on Thursday night.The Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Edet Okon, said on Friday that the victims included three civilians, a member of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) and two female suicide bombers.

      Okon disclosed that two men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and seven other persons sustained injuries from gunshots and explosions in the attack.

    • Thursday 26 April
    • 13 children dead after train hits school bus in India

      - 15h09

      At least 13 children were killed and five critically injured Thursday after a train smashed into a small school bus in northern India, an official said.

      The students, all aged below 10, were being driven to class in Uttar Pradesh state when a passenger train collided with their vehicle at an unmanned railway crossing.

      The impact of the crash lifted the bus several metres into the air, killing 10 children instantly, district chief medical officer Akhilesh Kumar Singh told AFP.

      “Three succumbed to the injuries at the hospital and five remain critical,” he added.

    • U.S. accuses Nigeria of human rights abuse

      - 14h22

      The United States Government has accused the Nigerian Government of failing to adequately investigate widespread human rights abuses and impunity.According to the report released on rights abuses, the U.S. said Nigeria had not punished those responsible for the abuses.

      In its Country Report on Human Rights Practices For 2017, the U.S. State Department said although Nigeria took steps to investigate alleged abuses, it took fewer steps to prosecute officials who committed violations, whether in the security forces or elsewhere in the government.

      “Impunity remained widespread at all levels of government.

    • Court nullifies bill tinkering with Nigeria’s election sequence

      - 14h16

      The Federal High Court in Abuja has nullified the tinkering with the election sequence by the National Assembly.The 2019 general elections sequence planned by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was upturned by the lawmakers, causing a constitutional crisis.

      The Presiding Judge, Justice Ahmed Mohamed, on Wednesday nullified clause 25, section 15 of the Electoral Amendment Bill passed by the National Assembly.

      The court also ruled that the 1999 Constitution empowers INEC to organize and supervise elections, including fixing dates and sequences, therefore, the National Assembly does not have the powers to over-ride the actions of the commission.

    • Japan court upholds damages over student tsunami deaths: report

      - 14h15

      A Japanese appeals court on Thursday upheld a ruling awarding millions of dollars in compensation to families of children swept out to sea by the massive 2011 tsunami, local media said.

      In 2016, the Sendai district court ruled two local governments should pay a combined 1.43 billion yen ($13.7 million) to 29 plaintiffs — parents of 23 children who were killed in the disaster.

      The victims, from the public Okawa Elementary School in the city of Ishinomaki, were among a total of 74 children who perished in rising waters after being told to wait for more than 40 minutes in school grounds with teachers, 10 of whom also died.

      The plaintiffs argued their children would have survived if they had been evacuated in time.

    • 16 people killed again in Nigeria’s Benue state

      - 13h18

      Sixteen persons have been killed by suspected herdsmen in fresh attacks after the killing on Tuesday of two Catholic priests and 17 worshippers in Nigeria’s Benue state.The latest attack took place in Ali Agundu and Tsav council wards of Guma Government Area (LGA).

      The separate attacks, which were carried out on both settlements simultaneously, took place barely one day after two priests and 17 other persons were killed in Gwer East Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.

      The Chairman of Guma LGA, Mr. Anthony Shawon, confirmed that the attacks occurred in the early hours of Wednesday.

    • Wednesday 25 April
    • Taiwan veterans clash with police in pension protest

      - 15h08

      Taiwanese military veterans on Wednesday scuffled with police as they tried to storm parliament in the latest of a series of protests against planned pension cuts.

      Hundreds gathered outside the legislature’s main entrance and some threw smoke bombs and water bottles at police guarding the building in central Taipei.

      They also unsuccessfully tried to hurl an empty wooden coffin into the parliament compound’s courtyard, television footage showed.

    • Indonesia oil well explosion kills 18, injures dozens

      - 15h07

      The death toll from a blaze at an illegal Indonesian oil well on Wednesday has jumped to 18 with dozens injured, authorities said, warning there could be yet more victims.

      Images from the accident showed a towering flame shooting some 70 metres (230 feet) above homes and palm trees dotting a small community in Sumatra island’s Aceh province.

      Firefighters on Wednesday afternoon were still battling the blaze sparked by an oil spill at about 1:30 am in a residential area. Several homes were destroyed.

      “We’re still unable to control the fire,” said Syahrizal Fauzi, head of the local disaster mitigation agency.

    • Kenya: Economic performance dips by one percent in 2017

      - 15h06

      Kenya’s economy is estimated to have expanded by 4.9 per cent in 2017 compared to a revised growth of 5.9 per cent in 2016, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) said on Wednesday.KNBS blames the slowdown in the economic performance on the uncertainty associated with a prolonged electioneering period last year, coupled with effects of adverse weather conditions.

      According to the ‘’Economic Survey 2018”, released in Nairobi, key macroeconomic indicators largely remained stable and, therefore, supportive of growth in 2017.

      Additionally, the report noted that interest rates declined due to the impact of their capping that became effective in September 2016.

    • Indian court jails popular guru for life over teen rape

      - 15h04

      An Indian guru with millions of followers was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for raping a teenage devotee on the pretext of ridding her of evil spirits, his lawyer said.

      Asaram Bapu, one of India’s most charismatic and controversial “godmen”, was given the maximum sentence at a closed jailhouse hearing in Rajasthan state, where hundreds of police were on high alert for any backlash from his disciples.

      “Asaram has been sentenced for life until death,” Rajendra Singh, a defence lawyer, told AFP outside the court in the western city of Jodhpur.

      The white-bearded guru, 77, has always denied raping the then 16-year-old in 2013 during a spiritual retreat at his ashram in Jodhpur. His lawyer said they would appeal the sentence.

    • French tycoon held for second day in Africa corruption probe

      - 15h03

      Billionaire French industrialist Vincent Bollore was held for a second day of questioning by anti-corruption police on Wednesday over allegations his company helped two African leaders win elections in return for lucrative contracts.

      The 66-year-old head of the Bollore Group was taken into custody Tuesday in the Paris suburb of Nanterre as part of an investigation into how its African logistics subsidiary secured contracts to run Lome port in Togo and Conakry port in Guinea.

      Prosecutors are looking into whether Bollore Group’s communications arm, Havas, undercharged Guinean President Alpha Conde and Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe for work on their campaigns as a sweetener for the contracts, Le Monde newspaper reported.

    • Tuesday 24 April
    • S/Africa govt urges end to crippling bus strike

      - 09h47

      The South African government has appealed to those involved in the current bus strike talks to end the industrial action which has crippled public transport, leaving commuters stranded.The nationwide bus strike has entered its sixth day and trade unions have called for it to be intensified until their wage demands are met.

      “Transport is an important sector in growing our economy. Notwithstanding the fact that constitutional rights provide workers right to strike, I want to appeal to everybody to do it within the law.

      “We appeal for tolerance, particularly to the taxi industry, to allow commuters to pool transport during this period,” Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) acting Director-General Phumla Williams said.

      The bus strike, which started last week, has left thousands of commuters stranded all over the country, with citizens worried about losing their jobs for being absentees at their workplaces.

    • Gambia’s Barrow makes good governance vow

      - 09h46

      Gambian President Adama Barrow has vowed to realize an administrative success story that will be a permanent template for democracy and good governance in his country.President Barrow was speaking on Monday at a high level peace-building commission advocacy meeting at the UN headquarters in New York ahead of an international conference on the same subject in Brussels.

      He said from the onset his government, had embarked on a number of initiatives with a view to consolidating the democratic gains and good governance cognizant of the urgent need for peace-building and sustaining stability.

      “With the adoption of our new National Development Plan 2018-2021, the priorities of my government are geared towards economic growth and transformation with emphasis on peacebuilding and sustaining peace,” he stated.

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