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UN condemns Myanmar over Rohingya abuses



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United Nations, The UN General Assembly has approved a resolution condemning human rights abuses against the Muslim Rohingya community and other minorities in Myanmar, it was reported on Saturday.

The UN resolution was passed on Friday by a total of 134 countries in the 193-member world body, with nine votes against and 28 abstaining, the BBC reported.

It expressed alarm at the continuing influx of Rohingya to Bangladesh over the past four decades “in the aftermath of atrocities committed by the security and armed forces of Myanmar”.

The resolution also highlighted the findings of an independent international mission “of gross human rights violations and abuses suffered by Rohingya Muslims and other minorities” by Myanmar’s security forces, which it described as “the gravest crimes under international law”.

Reacting to the resolution, the UN ambassador for Myanmar, Hau Do Suan, called it “another classic example of double-standards (and) selective and discriminatory application of human rights norms”.

He said it was designed to exert “unwanted political pressure” on Myanmar and did not attempt to find a solution to “the complex situation in Rakhine state”.

Friday’s development comes after Myanmar State Councillor and de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi rejected allegations of genocide at the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ), the BBC reported.

The Gambia brought the Rohingya case to the ICJ on behalf of dozens of other Muslim countries. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled Myanmar since the military operations began.

As of September 30, there were 915,000 Rohingya refugees in camps in Bangladesh. Almost 80 per cent arrived between August and December 2017. In March, Bangladesh said it would accept no more.


Trump downplays chances of new China trade deal

In January, Trump had signed the phase one trade deal with China that focused on increasing US exports of agricultural, energy and other products.





Washington, July 11 : US President Donald Trump has downplayed chances of a new China trade deal as he slammed the Asian giants handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the media reported.

Addressing reporters aboard Air Force One on Friday, the President said that the US” relationship with China has been “severely damaged”, adding that he has “other things in mind” than a second trade agreement, known as phase two, Politico news reported.

“They could have stopped the plague, they could have stopped it, they didn”t stop it,” he said, referring to the pandemic, which had first emerged in China”s Wuhan city last December.

“They stopped it from going into the remaining portions of China from Wuhan… They could have stopped the plague, they didn”t,” the President was quoted as saying in the Politico news report.

In January, Trump had signed the phase one trade deal with China that focused on increasing US exports of agricultural, energy and other products.

This is not the first time Trump has slammed China over the pandemic.

In recent weeks, Trump has described COVID-19 “kung flu” and the “Chinese virus”.

Top administration officials like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have called it the “Wuhan virus”.

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Pressure mounts on Priti Patel to grant asylum to Sudanese girl




London, July 11 : UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has been urged by former judges and politicians to grant asylum to an 11-year-old Sudanese girl who would be at high risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) if taken abroad.

Around 300 people including politicians, judges and activists have signed an open letter to Patel.

The case of the Sudanese girl, Jasmine, gathered enormous support since it was reported by the The Guardian newspaper last week that she remained at risk of deportation to Sudan via Bahrain despite being the subject of an FGM protection order.

Labour MP Helena Kennedy, former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal and more than 30 MPs have added their names to the letter published by the the Good Law Project, a not-for-profit membership organisation.

The letter is spearheaded by activist Hooda Ali who herself is a victim of FGM and has witnessed life-changing consequences after being cut aged seven.

Ali said: “Jasmine will be aware of FGM because her mother has been cut, her aunties died after being cut. She will have been taught in school that her body belongs to her… But at home she hears of risk of FGM, that is incredibly confusing and scary.”

Patel mounted a legal challenge around the case, which was dismissed at a hearing last month in the court of appeal.

Kennedy said: “This case has been fought hard by the Home Office because it lives in terror that if it becomes too easy to flee FGM and get asylum, the UK will be flooded with applicants. But every case should be decided on its own merit. It is very important our courts take a tough position on Female Genital Mutilation, which is a form of torture.”

Jasmine was brought to the UK at the age of three by her mother, who is also a victim of FGM and whose two sisters died after being cut in their native Sudan.

The single mother”s claim for asylum failed but inquiries by the family court into her daughter”s welfare led a judge to conclude: “It is difficult to think of a clearer or more serious case where the risk of FGM is so high.”

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Trump commutes long-time aide’s jail sentence

Mueller did not find evidence to charge Trump campaign associates with conspiring with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election, but found that the campaign welcomed Moscow”s interference efforts.




Donald Trump

Washington, July 11 : US President Donald Trump commuted the jail sentence of long-time aide Roger Stone after the former campaign adviser was sentenced to three years and four months in prison in connection with former special counsel Robert Muellers Russia probe, the media reported.

Friday”s decision came roughly an hour after an appeals court denied Stone”s motion to delay the start of his prison term, scheduled to begin on July 14, reports The Hill news website.

Stone, 67, had claimed he suffered from health conditions that put him at serious risk of dying if he went to that prison, which is experiencing a coronavirus outbreak.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany issued a statement on Friday evening, saying: Today, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Grant of Clemency commuting the unjust sentence of Roger Stone, Jr.”

The statement described Stone as “a victim of the Russia hoax that the Left and its allies in the media perpetuated for years in an attempt to undermine the Trump presidency”.

McEnany said that Trump had signed an executive grant of clemency commuting his “unjust” sentence.

“Roger Stone has already suffered greatly. He was treated very unfairly, as were many others in this case. Roger Stone is now a free man,” she added.

Stone, who has maintained his innocence and tried to appeal his conviction, was the last of six Trump associates to be charged in connection with Mueller”s investigation into the Trump campaign”s contacts with Russia that dogged the President”s first two years in office, said The Hill news report.

Mueller did not find evidence to charge Trump campaign associates with conspiring with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election, but found that the campaign welcomed Moscow”s interference efforts.

Justice Department leadership moved to reduce Stone”s sentencing recommendation in February in a highly controversial move, leading all four career prosecutors working on his case to quit.

Stone was convicted last November by a jury in Washington, D.C., of all counts he was charged with, including lying to Congress in connection with its separate investigation into Russian interference, witness tampering and obstructing an official proceeding.

Friday”s development has been criticised as damaging to the rule of law and an abuse of presidential power.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who leads the congressional panel to which Stone lied, sharply criticized the decision as “among the most offensive to the rule of law and principles of justice”.

Meanwhile, House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler and House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney said they would seek an “immediate briefing” from the White House counsel”s office on the circumstances surrounding Stone”s commutation.

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