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AU calls on world powers to respect Syria’s territorial integrity

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Addis Ababa, April 16: The African Union Commission (AUC) has called on world powers to undertake international efforts to solve the Syrian civil war that respects the territorial integrity of Syria.

The statement by the AUC chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat on Sunday said while he condemns the use of chemical weapons, primacy should be given to international efforts to find lasting political situation for Syrian civil war solely based on the interests of Syrian people, Xinhua reported.

“Africa expects the United Nations Security Council members (UNSC), especially those that are permanent, to put aside their differences and spare no efforts in the pursuit of global peace and humanity’s common good, in line with the responsibilities conferred upon them by the United Nations Charter,” said the AU statement.

“AU is strongly committed to multilateralism, underlines that any response to such acts ought to be based on incontrovertible evidence gathered by a competent, independent and credible entity and comply strictly with international law, including the primacy of the UNSC for any recourse to force,” further said the statement.

On Saturday morning, the US, France and UK conducted airstrikes on Syrian government targets following reports of alleged chemical weapons use in Douma, near the capital city Damascus on April 7.

The Syrian government has strongly denied the allegation, calling for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to send a fact-finding mission for investigations. However, the three nations carried out the strike on the day the mission just arrived in Damascus.

Key Syrian government allies Iran and Russia have condemned the strikes calling it a flagrant aggression of international law.

World

Yellow vest protests : Macron to address nation

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Emmanuel Macron

Paris, Dec 10:Ahead of his televised address to the nation Monday evening, French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday met key trade union leaders, businessmen, senior ministers , employers’ organizations and local elected officials to address rising discontent in the country amid the violent “yellow vests” protests that have challenged his grip on power.

The French President is facing criticism with demonstrators marching against the rise of living costs, the scrapping of the “fortune tax” and accusations that the former banker has done little to address the inequality in French society.

The emergency meeting took place at the Élysée Palace in the morning and saw Macron, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe and trade union leaders to attempt to come up with solutions to growing social unrest.É

We are ready to make any gesture” that works, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told RTL radio on Monday. “What is important now is to put an end to the crisis and find peace and unity in the country again.”

The General Confederation of Labour’s (CGT) Director Phillipe Martínez, who attended the meeting, said in a statement that he would not be used by the government to project an image of dialogue when it wasn’t acknowledging the plight of the people, Efe news reported.

The CGT went on to say that it expected a proposal of specific measures that could be put into place immediately, in particular, a 20 per cent rise of the minimum wage bringing it up to 1,800 euros ($2,052) per annum, a hike in pensions and a “social justice” reform to re-establish a wealth tax.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Mair said that the government rejected a 1.8 per cent minimum wage.

The “gilet jaunes” (“yellow vests”) demonstrations started as a protest against plans to hike of fuel taxes but grew into broader anti-government protests over time.

Macron put the fuel increases on hold but the protests were not abated. About 1,723 people were taken in for questioning and 1,220 were taken into custody during last weekend, said the Interior Ministry.

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Theresa May likely to delay vote on Brexit deal

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Theresa May

London, Dec 10 UK Prime Minister Theresa May is likely to postpone Tuesday’s key parliamentary vote on her Brexit plan, the media reported on Monday, amid predictions that she would suffer a “significant” defeat that could threaten to end her premiership and topple the government.

British media reports cited government sources as saying that May would inform MPs in the House of Commons about the delay in a statement later in the day. However, Downing Street insisted that the vote would go ahead.

The pound fell sharply following the reports, shedding 0.5 per cent versus the US dollar to stand at $1.26. Against the euro, the pound was 0.8 per cent down at 1.10 euros, the BBC reported.

May’s Commons address will be followed by a statement from the leader of the House, Andrea Leadsom. Later, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay will also make a statement on Article 50 — the legal mechanism taking the UK out of the EU on March 29.

According to the Guardian, a vote could take place next week or even be delayed till early January. The ultimate deadline for the vote is January 21.

The deal has been agreed with the EU, but it needs to be backed by the UK Parliament if it is to become law ahead of the UK’s departure.

The news followed the European Court of Justice’s ruling earlier in the day that the UK could cancel Brexit without the permission of the other 27 bloc members.

The court in a statement said: “When a member state has notified the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the EU, as the UK has done, that member state is free to revoke unilaterally that notification.”

“That possibility exists for as long as a withdrawal agreement concluded between the EU and that member state has not entered into force or, if no such agreement has been concluded, for as the two-year period from the date of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU, and any possible extension, has not expired,” stated the ruling tweeted by the court.

The judges ruled that this could be done without altering the terms of Britain’s membership. The court rejected arguments from both the UK government and the European Commission that Article 50, the two-year-long process that triggers a member state’s departure from the EU, could not be revoked unilaterally.

The case was brought to the European Court of Justice by a cross-party group of Scottish lawmakers.

The court ruling matched legal advice given to the court last week by its Advocate General Manuel Campos Sánchez-Bordona, who said as a sovereign country Britain could reverse its decision even at this stage.

This legal decision was significant because it meant Britain can prevent a no-deal Brexit from happening if it wanted, even if May’s deal was voted down by MPs.

May, whose Conservative Party executive wields a minority in the Commons, enacted Article 50 on March 29, 2017, meaning the UK is due to withdraw from the EU on March 29, 2019, with or without a deal.

She is due to attend a meeting of European leaders on Saturday, at which the parliamentary impasse over Brexit is likely to be top of the agenda.

European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday ruled out the possibility of further negotiations with London, saying that the draft deal has already been unanimously adopted by member states.

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London’s Westminster Court orders extradition of Vijay Mallya to India

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Vijay Mallya

London, Dec 10: London’s Westminster Magistrates Court on Monday ordered the extradition of fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya to India.

Chief Magistrate Judge Emma Arbuthnot has found prima facie a case against Mallya for fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.

The matter of extradition of Vijay Mallya to India has been referred to the Secretary of State.

The Central Bureau of Investigation welcomed the UK court orders.

Reacting to the verdict, the CBI spokesperson said that “We hope to bring him soon and conclude the case. CBI has its own inherent strengths. We worked hard on this case. We are strong on Law and facts and we were confident while pursuing extradition process”.

The Court announced the verdict following a prolonged litigation involving Mallya, who fled India in March 2016.

The development took place came six days after British national and alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, Christian Michael, was extradited to India from Dubai.

Mallya has repeatedly denied fleeing from India and said he was ready to pay back the money he owed to Indian banks.

Proceedings are on in the Mumbai Special Court against the businessman under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act.

Last year, India filed extradition proceedings against Mallya which he has contested. He is currently on bail in London.

WeForNews 

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