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Amid political crisis Maldives to hold presidential poll in September

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Male, Feb 23: The first round of presidential elections in the Maldives will be held in early September and preparations for the polls have already begun, the Elections Commission has announced.

It said on Thursday that a second round, if necessary, would be held within 21 days from the election day.

The President’s Office in a statement said it welcomed the announcement and encouraged all relevant stakeholders to offer the Elections Commission their full, unreserved support for the conduct of their work.

“Free, fair and credible elections are the foundation of our democracy and it is essential for continuity of our nation’s growth, stability and prosperity,” the statement said.

“The government of the Maldives extends its invitation to all international stakeholders to observe the electoral process and… urges the international community to provide support in bringing back normalcy in the Maldives.

“It also requests the international community to refrain from any actions that could hinder resolving the situation the country is facing,” the President’s Office said.

It further said that the government recommended all political parties and politicians alike to work towards, making the upcoming elections free and fair, rather than engage in a battle to topple the government and to destabilize the nation.

The Maldivian Parliament earlier this week approved extending the state of Emergency in the country by 30 days following a request by President Abdulla Yameen.

Yameen had requested for an extension “as the threat to national security had not diminished” following the Supreme Court ruling on February 1 ordering the release of detained opposition leaders, including self-exiled former President Mohamed Nasheed.

The President had first declared a 15-day state of emergency on February 5 after the Supreme Court ruling, which was, however, rescinded shortly after the declaration of the state of Emergency.

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Third US judge rules against Trump’s bid to end DACA

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Washington, April 25: A third US federal judge based here has ruled against President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme (DACA).

John Bates, Judge of the District of Columbia Circuit, on Tuesday gave the Department of Homeland Security 90 days to come up with better explanation for winding down the program, else he would enter an order reinstating DACA in its entirety.

DACA is an American immigration policy that allows undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children to receive a renewable two-year deferral from deportation and become eligible for a work permit.

After the White House announced its plan to end DACA in September, federal judges in New York and San Francisco also ordered the Trump administration to resume accepting new applications for protection under DACA.

“Each day that the agency delays is a day that aliens who might otherwise be eligible for initial grants of DACA benefits are exposed to removal because of an unlawful agency action,” Bates wrote,

He also called the Trump administration’s move to end DACA “unlawful”, “capricious”, and “virtually unexplained”, Xinhua news agency reported.

In February, the US Supreme Court had declined to hear the administration’s appeal of the San Francisco ruling.

Some 700,000 undocumented immigrants, most of them brought to the US as children, had signed up for DACA introduced by the then Barack Obama government in 2012.

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Trump warns ‘bigger problems’ if Iran restarts n-programme

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Washington, April 25: US President Donald Trump warned on Tuesday that Iran will have “bigger problems” if it restarts its nuclear programme.

Meeting with visiting French President Emmanuel Macron at the White House, Trump said “it won’t be so easy for them to restart” the programme.

“They’re not going to be restarting anything. If they restart it, they’re going to have big problems, bigger than they ever had before,” he said, Xinhua reported.

When asked whether he would be willing to stay in the Iran deal, also known as JCPOA, Trump said the deal was “insane,” “ridiculous” and “should never have been made.”

The JCPOA, short for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is an international agreement reached on July 14, 2015 between Iran and six world major countries, namely China, France, Russia, Britain, the United States and Germany, plus the European Union.

The West pledged to relieve sanctions on Iran in exchange for a halt in Tehran’s efforts to develop a nuclear weapon.

In January, Trump set 120-day time for US lawmakers and the European signatories of the deal to fix the deal’s “terrible flaws”.

Trump has stressed that the United States and its European allies involved should fix the “Sunset Clauses” in the deal by May 12, otherwise he would withdraw from the agreement.

The “Sunset Clauses” stipulate when restrictions imposed on Iran’s nuclear program expire, which critics say would allow Tehran to advance its programme.

However, Macron who arrived Monday in Washington for the first state visit since Trump took office last year is expected to persuade Trump to stay in the deal.

“The Iran deal is an important issue but we have to take a far broader picture which is security in the overall region,” Macron said.

He added that “what we want to do is to contain Iran and its presence in the region.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday urged the European parties to help protect the nuclear deal against Trump’s threats.

“European leaders should encourage President Trump not just to stay in the nuclear deal, but more importantly to begin implementing his part of the bargain in good faith, Zarif tweeted. “It’s either all or nothing … there’s no Plan B on JCPOA.”

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Trump says Kim Jong Un wants to meet ‘as soon as possible’ and that he’s ‘very honorable’

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  • President Donald Trump continued his recent trend of praising North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday by saying he was “very honorable” and “very open.”

  • Trump has a habit of mixing praise of Kim with threats, but has lately taken to praising the North Korean leader.

  • Trump is set to become the first US president to ever meet face to face with a North Korean leader after Kim made a set of stunning concessions and appeared to cave to US demands, but experts are skeptical.

President Donald Trump continued his recent trend of praising North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday by saying he was “very honorable” and “very open” ahead of a planned meeting between the two leaders.

“Kim Jong Un – he really has been very open and, I think, very honorable from everything we’re seeing,” Trump said to reporters, as French President Emmanuel Macron visited the White House.

Trump has proven eager to meet with and conduct diplomacy with Kim despite spending almost all of 2017 threatening North Korea with nuclear annihilation and responding to Pyongyang’s own threats.

But since the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea, and sweeping rounds of US-led sanctions after intercontinental ballistic missile tests and a massive nuclear test, Kim has opened himself up to diplomacy.

First North Korea offered to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in, then made the same offer to Trump, and then Kim unexpectedly went to Beijing to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Trump reportedly accepted the offer to meet Kim without consulting his secretary of state at the time, Rex Tillerson. South Korea’s Moon was less eager, but ultimately agreed when Kim agreed to meet his conditions.

Trump previously said he’d be “honored” to talk to Kim, which he now looks likely to achieve.

He’s also expressed admiration for Kim’s leadership of North Korea, despite the fact that the regime runs labor camps that have been likened to Auschwitz in Nazi-controlled Europe.

“Not many 27-year-old men could go in and take over a regime … Say what you want, but that’s not easy – especially at that age,” Trump told ABC News before his inauguration in January 2016.

“How many young guys – he was like 26 or 25 when his father died – take over these tough generals, and all of a sudden … he goes in, he takes over, and he’s the boss,” Trump said. “You gotta give him credit.”

Trump is set to become the first US president to ever meet face to face with a North Korean leader after Kim made a set of stunning concessions and appeared to cave to US demands.

But experts warn Business Insider that North Korea has entered into and backed out of talks with the US before, and may simply be working to gain sanctions relief as the country’s economy falters.

 

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