CAR Prime Minister Firmin Ngrebada and cabinet resign

Firmin Ngrebada, prime minister of the Central African Republic (CAR), has resigned along with the entire cabinet, the latest political crisis to hit the war-weary country. The development on Thursday came during a turbulent week after France announced it was suspending military operations with its former colony. Ngrebada said on Twitter he handed over his and the government’s resignation to President Faustin- Archange Touadera, but a presidential spokesman told the AFP news agency the prime minister could be tapped to lead a refreshed administration. “We will know within a few hours if the president keeps the prime minister on,” Albert … Continue reading CAR Prime Minister Firmin Ngrebada and cabinet resign

Nephew of Fetullah Gulen seized and brought back to Turkey

Turkish security services have detained a nephew of exiled cleric Fetullah Gulen overseas and brought him back to Turkey, local media have announced. Selahaddin Gulen has been accused of belonging to an outlawed organisation headed by his uncle. The announcement did not say where he was detained. But his wife Serriye, a teacher in Kenya, said in a video on social media that her husband had gone missing in Nairobi in early May. Turkey’s Anadolu news agency published a photograph of Mr Gulen in handcuffs, with Turkish flags on each side of him. The outlet did not say if his … Continue reading Nephew of Fetullah Gulen seized and brought back to Turkey

Outcry as Belarus diverts flight, arrests opposition figure

A founder of a messaging app channel that has been a key information conduit for opponents of Belarus’s authoritarian president has been arrested after a passenger plane on which he was travelling was “forcibly” diverted to the capital, Minsk, following an alleged bomb threat. The presidential press service said President Alexander Lukashenko personally ordered a MiG-29 fighter jet accompany the Ryanair plane, which was en route from Athens to Vilnius to the Minsk airport. The Belarusian Interior Ministry said Roman Protasevich was arrested at the airport. Protasevich, 26, is a co-founder of the Telegram messaging app’s Nexta channel, which Belarus … Continue reading Outcry as Belarus diverts flight, arrests opposition figure

Russia now requires all smartphones and devices in the country to be pre-installed with the country’s software

Russia now requires all smart devices, including smartphones, computers, and smart TVs, in the country to be pre-installed with Russian software, in what some locals have called a “law against Apple.” The new came into force on Thursday, applying to all devices bought in the country from that day onwards. Reuters noted that Russia views it as a way to help Russian software companies compete with international ones. The outlet added that the law had been an issue for Apple, with many in the country calling it a “law against Apple.” But Apple agreed last month to allow people to … Continue reading Russia now requires all smartphones and devices in the country to be pre-installed with the country’s software

Germany to step up surveillance of far-right AfD

Germany’s domestic intelligence agency will step up its surveillance of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) on suspicion it espouses “extremist” positions that threaten democracy, Der Spiegel Magazine reported. A spokeswoman for the BfV intelligence agency declined to comment on the unsourced report published Wednesday. If confirmed, this would be a setback for the party before an election in September in which polls forecast a loss in support over its opposition to lockdown measures during the coronavirus pandemic. A decision by the intelligence agency to monitor the party nationally would entail the surveillance of all its leaders and lawmakers in … Continue reading Germany to step up surveillance of far-right AfD

US secretary of state who helped end Cold War dies

George Shultz, a former US secretary of state who significantly shaped foreign policy in the late 20th Century, has died at the age of 100. He died on Saturday at his home in Stanford, California, the Hoover Institution think tank said. He served three Republican presidents – Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan – in various roles. Under Mr Reagan, Mr Schultz spent much of the 1980s trying to improve relations with the Soviet Union. The Hoover Institution, where Mr Schultz worked as a distinguished fellow, said the statesman had been instrumental “in changing the direction of history by using … Continue reading US secretary of state who helped end Cold War dies

Canada governor general quits amid bullying claims

Canadian Governor General Julie Payette has resigned amid claims she created a toxic work environment for her staff, the representative of the head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, quit amid reports a highly critical workplace inquiry would be made public. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed he had received her resignation, he had recommended the appointment of the former astronaut in 2017, though her exit has no immediate implications for his Liberal government. The government had launched a third-party investigation of harassment claims after CBC News reported last July, that several staff members felt bullied by Ms Payette. “Everyone has a right to … Continue reading Canada governor general quits amid bullying claims

Kazakhstan scraps death penalty after nearly 20-year moratorium

Kazakhstan has abolished the death penalty, making permanent a nearly 20-year freeze on capital punishment in the Central Asian country, according to a notice on the presidential website. The notice published on Saturday said President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev had signed off on parliamentary ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – a document that commits signatories to the abolition of capital punishment. Executions were paused in Kazakhstan from 2003 but courts continued to sentence convicts to death in exceptional circumstances, including for crimes deemed “acts of terror”. Ruslan Kulekbayev, a lone gunman who … Continue reading Kazakhstan scraps death penalty after nearly 20-year moratorium

Chilean president handed $3,500 fine for mask-less selfie with stranger on beach

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera was slapped with a $3,500 fine on Friday after posing for a selfie on the beach with a bystander without wearing a mask as required during the coronavirus pandemic, health authorities said.© Agencia Makro/Getty Images Piñera was fined after a selfie emerged showing him not wearing a mask, as required by Chile’s strict rules. Chile has strict rules on mask wearing in all public places and violations are punishable with sanctions that include fines and even jail terms. Pinera apologized then turned himself in shortly after the selfie surfaced on social media in early December. The president explained … Continue reading Chilean president handed $3,500 fine for mask-less selfie with stranger on beach

Bhutan parliament decriminalizes homosexuality, to delight of activists

Houses of Parliament of Bhutan in Thimphu, Bhutan. A joint sitting of both houses of Bhutan’s parliament approved a bill on Thursday to legalize gay sex, making the tiny Himalayan kingdom the latest Asian nation to take steps towards easing restrictions on same-sex relationships. Sections 213 and 214 of the penal code had criminalized “unnatural sex,” widely interpreted as homosexuality. Lawmaker Ugyen Wangdi, the vice chairperson of a joint panel considering the changes, said 63 of the total 69 members of both houses of parliament had voted in favor of amending the code to scrap the provision, six members were … Continue reading Bhutan parliament decriminalizes homosexuality, to delight of activists

Australia may prosecute soldiers over Afghanistan war crimes

Australia says it will appoint a special investigator to consider prosecutions over alleged war crimes by it’s soldiers in Afghanistan. In recent years, reports have emerged alleging unlawful killings of civilians and prisoners by Australian soldiers. A report into findings from a four-year military inquiry will be published next week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned it would bring “difficult and hard news for Australians”. “There is a significant number of incidents or issues to be investigated further and that investigation will be inherently complex,” he said on Thursday, Mr Morrison said the office of the special investigator would have powers … Continue reading Australia may prosecute soldiers over Afghanistan war crimes

Book pulled in New Zealand after author criticizes Maori tattoo

A New Zealand author’s book has been pulled from an online store after she criticized the foreign affairs minister’s traditional Maori tattoo, Olivia Pierson had tweeted that facial tattoos on a female diplomat was “ugly and uncivilized”. Nanaia Mahuta is the first female MP in New Zealand to have a Maori facial tattoo. She was appointed as minister in a recent cabinet reshuffle. Ms Pierson’s tweet sparked anger and calls for her book to be pulled, in response, prominent online retailer Mighty Ape said it had withdrawn her book and “would not be making it available again”. Some New Zealanders … Continue reading Book pulled in New Zealand after author criticizes Maori tattoo