Amina Souafi

USA: Trump’s administration under close surveillance.
Americas

USA: Trump’s administration under close surveillance.

After President Donald Trump fires the US intelligence inspector general late on Friday night. The top US federal regulatory body vowed to continue to pursue “strict” independent oversight of government agencies.

“Michael Atkinson, who was fired by Trump, was known for his “integrity, professionalism, and adherence to the law and independent oversight.” Michael Horowitz, Justice Department’s General Inspector, said in a statement.

In a letter to Congress on Thursday, Trump said he would fire the US intelligence chief, who had a role in conducting the president’s accountability investigation last year within 30 days.

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The dismissal came at a time when the general inspectors responsible for independent federal bodies’ oversight were recently tasked with extensive oversight of the Corona pandemic plan, including spending the historic financial budget of 2.3 trillion dollars to reduce the epidemic’s economic impact.

“The general inspectors will continue to carry out strict independent oversight of the bodies we monitor,” Horowitz said in a statement, Atkinson said that the report which disclosed the secrets in achieving Trump’s accountability was credible concerning Trump’s misuse of his position in an attempt to seek Ukraine’s interference in the2020’s US elections for his personal benefit.

The Democrat-led Representatives’ House voted after controversial party hearings, to approve Trump’s accountability as a prelude to his removal, but the Republican-led Senate cleared these charges in early February.

Poland ,Hungary and Czech Republic EU trial for 2015 migrants case
Europe

Poland ,Hungary and Czech Republic EU trial for 2015 migrants case

By refusing to welcome refugees in 2015, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic found their files in the European court, which considered on Thursday April 2nd, that these three countries did not respect the European Union’s law in that matter, at a time when high numbers of migrants had arrived, applied for asylum and been relocated from Italy or Greece.

In its judgment, the EU Justice Court (EUJC) considered that the three countries had “failed to fulfill their obligations” by not respecting the decision taken collectively by the EU to accept a quota of refugees.

The European Commission had seized the EUJC at the end of 2017, noting that the three countries had refused their refugee’s reception quotas decided within the distribution program’s framework divided by member state, counting tens of thousands of asylum seekers from Italy and Greece, launched in 2015 and which ended in September 2017.

“This decision will have no consequences. As the quota policy has lapsed since long, we have no obligation to take asylum seekers, “said Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga. “We lost the dispute, but it doesn’t matter. What is important is that we have nothing to pay, “added Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis. “The fact is that we will not accept any migrants because the quotas have expired.” The Commission can now only request fines against the three countries.

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Poland and Hungary have not hosted any refugees, with the Czech Republic receiving only a dozen before withdrawing from the program. Warsaw and Budapest considered that they had the right to avoid their obligations under their responsibility for “maintaining public order” and “safeguarding internal security”. However, for the argument to be admissible, the two countries should have “been able to prove the need to use this argument”.

For its part, Prague argued that the program was not effective to justify its refusal to apply it. A “unilateral assessment” which cannot be used as an argument for not applying an EU decision, the Court stressed.

Algeria to sue FRANCE24 over defamatory statements
Europe

Algeria to sue FRANCE24 over defamatory statements

Javier Driencourt ,The French Ambassador to Algeria, was summoned on Tuesday, March 31, by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sabri Boukadoum following the false, hateful and defamatory statements with regards to Algeria, held on a show in the French television channel FRANCE24 , indicates a press release from the Algerian foreign affairs Ministry FAM.

The Ambassador of France to Algeria had a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who informed him of the strong protests in Algeria following the false statements made by a French researchers working in spain Regarding Algeria and its authorities, where he accused military generals of diverting medical giving by china to Algeria ,to a military hospital during a political show broadcasted on many French public television channels.

While asking the French Ambassador to Algeria to bring these protests to the highest authorities in his country, the Minister of Foreign Affairs warned him that if this denigration of Algeria persists at a time when all efforts must converge on the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic,then serious measures will be taken.

The Algerian embassy in Paris “had been instructed to take legal action against FRANCE24 and the individual who made the abusive remarks about Algeria”.

All these tensions occurred because of the statements of Francis Ghilès, researcher at the Center for International Relations in Barcelona, on the the French channel “France 24”, in which he affirmed that “the material and the sanitary protections received from China were taken to Ain Naadja military hospital in the capital city Algiers upon arrival instead of being distributed to civil hospitals on affected cities like Blida or Boufarik.

The Chinese embassy has condemned in an official statement the remarks made by the Researcher

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Taliban refuses negotiations with the selected by the  Afghan government
Asia Pacific Focus

Taliban refuses negotiations with the selected by the Afghan government

A Taliban spokesman said that the Taliban would not negotiate with the team announced by the Afghan government, in a possible setback in the US-brokered peace process.

The spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said that the movement refuses to negotiate with the team selected by the Afghan government because it was not chosen in a way that includes “all Afghan factions”. The Afghan government announced the formation of a team late on Thursday, which was praised by US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and described as “complete”.

In February the United States signed an agreement with the Taliban requiring the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, but progress required toward negotiations between the movement and the Afghan government has been delayed by differences between Afghan politicians and a dispute between the Taliban and the government over the prisoners’ release and a possible ceasefire as preconditions for talks.

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Mujahid said that the Afghan government’s announcement of the negotiating team had “violated” its agreement with the United States and that all parties had not agreed on the team.

“In order to reach a real and lasting peace, the aforementioned team must be agreed upon by all Afghan actors,” he said.
In response, Najia Anuri, a spokesperson for the Afghan Peace Affairs’ Ministry, said, “This team was formed after wide consultation with the different classes of Afghan society.”

So far, Abdullah Abdullah, political rival to President Ashraf Ghani, has not confirmed whether he accepts the delegation, a move diplomats say is gaining in importance due to his team’s strong influence in north and west Afghanistan.

On Friday, Abdullah’s spokesman declined to confirm or deny whether he would support the negotiating team. His spokesman did not respond, and the US embassy in Kabul did not respond to two requests for comment on Saturday.

Leader of Iranian opposition killed in Istanbul
Middle East & Africa

Leader of Iranian opposition killed in Istanbul

Two senior Turkish officials told press that two intelligence officers at the Iranian consulate in Turkey incited on the killing of an Iranian dissident in Istanbul last November, he was criticizing the Islamic Republic’s military and political leaders.

Masoud Maulvi Wardanjani was shot dead on a street in Istanbul on November 14, 2019, just over a year after he left Iran, according to the Turkish officials.

A police report on the killing, published two weeks ago, stated that Wardanjani was working in the electronic security of the Iranian Defense Ministry and turned into a strong critic of the Iranian authorities.

The report added that Wardanjani posted a message on social media criticizing the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in August, three months before he was killed.

“I will eradicate corrupt mafia leaders,” the message said. “I hope they won’t kill me before I do so.”

The situation of Wardanjani at the Iranian Defense Ministry or his posts on social media could not be verified. No one at the Iranian embassy or consulate in Turkey responded to calls to comment on the background or the killing of Wardanjani.

In response to a question about the possible involvement of the Iranian government in his killing, a spokeswoman for the Istanbul police said the investigation was continuing. She declined to comment further.

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The Turkish government has not openly accused Iran of involvement in the killing of Wardanjani. But the two senior Turkish officials have said that the government will talk to Iran about his death. One of them said that Turkish prosecutors were also following the case.

The first official said that the suspected gunman and several other suspects, including Turks and Iranians, had been arrested in the weeks following the incident, informing the authorities that they had acted on the orders of two intelligence officers at the Iranian consulate.

The second official said that evidence that included the suspects’ accounts indicates that “Iranian citizens played a dangerous role in incitement and coordination” in the killing.

The officials said that Ankara would soon provide Iran with an official response regarding the killing of Wardanjani and the role played by officials holding diplomatic passports.

Two Iranian security sources said that Wardanjani defied a Revolutionary Guards warning against cooperating with Turkish companies in projects related to drones, without further details. They said he also called the United States and European countries to work with them.

One of the Iranian sources said that Wardanjani published documents on the Internet that he carried out as an electronic infiltration or obtained information from contacts in Iran and that he ignored requests to contact the Iranian embassy in Ankara and met with Americans and an Israeli diplomat. The source did not give details about the documents or its meetings.
The second Iranian source also said that Wardanjani had been warned about the consequences of his contacts with foreign diplomats.

The Turkish officials said that the companion who was walking with Wardanjani established friendship with him after his arrival in Istanbul from Tehran in June 2018 and conveyed information about him to Iranian intelligence.

The morning before his death, this friend, who reports to the Turkish police and two Turkish officials that his name was Ali Esfanjani, went to the Iranian consulate. The two officials said that he later met with the gunman to discuss the details of the operation.

The police report describes Esfangani as the team leader who carried out the assassination of Wardanjani.

The first Turkish official said that Esfangani was transported across the border to Iran three days later, as a copy of a bus ticket he used under a pseudonym appears to reach the AGRI area on the eastern border of Turkey. He was transferred with the help of an Iranian smuggler.

American warship crosses the Taiwan Strait amid tensions with China
Americas

American warship crosses the Taiwan Strait amid tensions with China

The US and Taiwan armies said that an American warship passed through the Taiwan Strait amid escalating tension between Taiwan and China, tensions that reached a level that prompted the Taiwanese Air Force recently to send its fighters to intercept Chinese fighters.

A statement of the Taiwan Defense Ministry said on Thursday that the ship passed through the strait and was under the control of the Taiwan armed forces.

The ministry described the vessel’s passage as a “normal mission”, indicating that there was no cause for concern.

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The ship is the McCamble destroyer with guided missiles, which conducted a “routine crossing of the Taiwan Strait on March 25th (local time) in accordance with international law,” said Anthony Junko, spokesman for the US Seventh Fleet.

“The ship’s passage through the Taiwan Strait reflects the commitment of the United States to the freedom and openness of the Indian Pacific region,” he added. The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate missions anywhere permitted by international law. ”

In recent weeks, the Chinese Air Force has carried out several missions near Taiwan, prompting the Taiwanese army to send fighters to intercept and warn Chinese aircraft.
Taiwan described the Chinese exercises as provocative and called on China to focus on fighting the outbreak of the Coronavirus instead of its threat.

French researcher Roland Marshall freed.
Europe, Middle East & Africa

French researcher Roland Marshall freed.

A French presidential official said that the Iranian authorities had released French researcher Roland Marshall, who had been imprisoned in Iran since June 2019. The official added that Roland is scheduled to arrive in France around noon on Saturday.

He indicated that French President Emmanuel Macron urged the Iranian authorities to also release French citizen Fariba Adelkha, who is still imprisoned in Iran. Adelkhah also holds Iranian citizenship.
Iranian media said that Iran and France had agreed to swap Marshall Mahbous for an Iranian convicted in Paris on violating US sanctions on Tehran’s charges.

Iranian state radio and television said that France had released Jalal Ruhullah Ahmadinejad, an Iranian engineer wanted by the US authorities, on charges of violating the sanctions.

France had called on Iran to release Marshall, a senior researcher at the Paris Institute for Political Studies (Science Po), and Paris announced his arrest in mid-October.
In May, a French court agreed to surrender Ruhullah Ahmadinejad to the United States to face charges of attempting to illegally transfer US technology for military purposes on behalf of an Iranian company, which US officials say is linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

This complicated much more the relations between France and Iran at a time when Macron was seeking to defuse tensions between Washington and Tehran.

The Revolutionary Guards have arrested scores of dual nationals in the past few years, most of them on espionage charges.

Ivory Coast: constitutional revision adopted.
Middle East & Africa

Ivory Coast: constitutional revision adopted.

“It is true that constitutional revisions arouse distrust and suspicion, because of the recent history of our country and that of many others have shown that they have often been used as a pretext to perpetuate a power or to exclude political adversaries from the electoral race”, had warned the Ivorian president Alassane Ouattara before the deputies and the senators met in a session on March 5th. A two-thirds majority of the 344 deputies and senators was necessary for the revision to be adopted.

Ivoirian president added“I want to reassure you: the draft revision of the Constitution that I will submit to you is not in this light. However, it appeared necessary to undertake some adaptations in the Constitution of the Third Republic, in order to improve this constitution and to perpetuate a model of executive function which has demonstrated its success and its effectiveness”. It seems that the message was well received by the two chambers. Out of 248 voters, 246 voted for,and only 2 parliamentarians voted against, there were no abstentions during this congress held in Yamoussoukro, the Ivorian political and administrative capital. The opposition boycotted the vote in the Assembly and the Senate. “We, the opposition, are against touching a comma in the Constitution a few months before the presidential election,” NGoran Djedri of the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast said, “It’s a masquerade. None of the elementary rules were respected for this modification ”. He added
The project wanted by President Alassane Ouattara affects all powers, the executive, the legislative and the judiciary.

Elected in 2010, re-elected in 2015, the 78-year-old head of state had, in theory, the possibility of hanging on since the 2016 Constitution made it possible to run for a new presidency term. But Alassane Ouattara chose to hand over. A decision that did not convince the opposition, which threatens to boycott the October presidential election in Côte d’Ivoire. Alassane Ouattara, who announced that he would not run again and wants to give the illusion of his departure, while retaining control of the main governance levers said Henri Niava, president of a small party, during a press conference bringing together the main Ivorian opposition parties on March 12th.

The political climate is tense in Ivory Coast seven months before the presidential election, which will take place ten years after the post-electoral crisis of 2010-2011 which left 3,000 dead. The 2018 municipal and regional elections were marked by a lot of violence and fraud.

US officials respond to a Reuters report about the secrecy of the discussion on Corona.
Americas

US officials respond to a Reuters report about the secrecy of the discussion on Corona.

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States said before the US Congress that the public health officials had discussed information about the Corona virus in halls to discuss secret matters on numerous occasions. But he said that this information was not treated as confidential.

In a report on Wednesday, Reuters quoted four administration officials as saying the White House had ordered federal health officials at the Department of Health and Human Services to consider private high-level meetings on the virus.

Officials said that dozens of these meetings were held since mid-January in the heavily fortified hall of the secret meetings of the Health Ministry, which oversees the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and that workers who did not obtain security clearances were excluded from their attendance.

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After the report was released, National Security Council spokesman John Elliot sent an e-mail to Reuters on Wednesday evening saying that “the White House has not issued any orders” to treat high-level Corona virus meetings as confidential, “as stated in the report.

“This report is fake news,” he wrote.
“We are holding them in secret rooms, but the nature and content of these talks is not secret,” Dr. Robert Redfield, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director, was asked about the Reuters report.

The Vice President’s office sent a joint statement from Health Secretary Alex Azar and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien saying that they were “surprised” by the Reuters report and that the meetings of Vice President Mike Pence’s working group are taking place in the White House emergency room and are not confidential.

However, the Reuters report did not address the vice president’s working group, which Pence began to lead in late February. “We are sticking to our report,” a Reuters spokeswoman said.

The Reuters report focused on the meetings that took place at the Health Ministry, and sources said that it was held in a secret room with restrictions on those present, such as banning the use of most mobile phones.

The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that they could not describe the deliberations in these rooms for their confidentiality, but said that the research topics included the extent of the virus, quarantine issues and travel restrictions.

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa said his office had called the White House to ask about the Reuters report because he was concerned about the possibility of excessive confidential information, an issue he had previously raised.

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Diplomat: America has not coordinated or notified the European Union regarding the travel ban.
Americas

Diplomat: America has not coordinated or notified the European Union regarding the travel ban.

A European diplomat said that the United States did not coordinate with European officials on a widespread travel ban from Europe to limit the spread of the Corona virus before US President Donald Trump announced the decision.

The diplomat, who was not authorized to speak about the matter publicly, said that Trump said in a televised speech that his government was in constant contact with US allies over the 30-day travel ban but the bloc officials had not received notification of the decision before it was announced, adding, ” There is no prior notification or coordination as the president claimed. “

The European Union mission to Washington has not commented on the decision yet. Trump’s decision to ban travel from Europe to the United States, with the exception of Britain, from Friday, may complicate already tense trade ties between Brussels and Washington. On Wednesday, Phil Hogan, the European Union’s trade commissioner, canceled his planned visit to Washington.

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The US President, Donald Trump, announced in a speech addressed to the Americans, that the United States will prevent travel to European countries except Britain from Friday for 30 days, and Trump made clear that measures have been taken to reduce the impact of the virus crisis on Americans.

Trump said that the United States is able to cope with the Corona virus, adding that a decrease in the number of infected people has been recorded in the past days.

Trump pointed out that the European Union has taken real steps to prevent the spread of the Corona virus, and Washington has taken serious steps also in this regard, and Trump added that his country has allocated more than $ 8 billion to confront the Corona virus, and to help those affected by the epidemic.

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