Grace Young

Joint Statement by Cyprus, Greece, and Egypt angers the Turkish Foreign Ministry
Middle East & Africa

Joint Statement by Cyprus, Greece, and Egypt angers the Turkish Foreign Ministry

Turkey already having disagreements and conflicts with Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt, however adding on to the already sour relationship, a joint statement by Cyprus, Greece, and Egypt was announced on Thursday, denouncing Turkish activities in northern Cyprus and the eastern Mediterranean. However, Turkey’s foreign ministry has dismissed the joint statement.

On Thursday, the ministry stated that it “harshly denounces the declaration bearing outlandish allegations and claims.” 

The Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, and the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis urged Ankara to stop its infuriating activities in the eastern Mediterranean during a trilateral regional summit in Nicosia on Wednesday. 

The joint statement also pressed Turkey to acknowledge Cyprus’ invitation to negotiate for an agreement about the maritime border. Greece and Cyprus have consented to a maritime border with Egypt while rejecting a similar agreement that Ankara marked with Libya’s Tripoli-based government.

The joint declaration attacked Ankara as opposed to supporting harmony and strength in the region, Turkey’s foreign ministry stated. 

It rehashed that Turkey’s position and cooperation could only occur with the inclusion of Turkish Cypriots in the war-partitioned island.

According to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Deputy Prime Ministry and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The political answer for being found to the Cyprus issue is the key factor to ensure the rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey on the Island and to add these rights on a strong foundation. Continuation of the solid and autonomous presence of the Turkish Cypiots is an absolute necessity to arrive at a final decision, and the relations between the TRNC and Turkey are composed likewise. 

“We will proceed with confidence to save and protect our privileges and the rights of Turkish Cypriots in the eastern Mediterranean.” 

Relations between the two nations have further exacerbated this year. In February, Turkey had allowed an enormous number of migrants to cross the fringe into Greece and the European Union, enraging the latter. 

For quite a while, Greece and Turkey have contrasted over rights on the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean, which is enriched in gas and oil deposits. 

Turkey and Greece have twice disagreed throughout the last weeks – first when Turkey changed the prominent 1,500-year-old Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque, and later over the opportunity to explore hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean sea. 

The summit occurred amid high strains between NATO allies Turkey and Greece over oceanic fringes and energy rights, The Associated Press detailed.

Greece and Cyprus have consented to the maritime border treaty with Egypt, while Turkey has marked a similar agreement with Libya’s Tripoli-based government.

Pompeo threatens sanctions following U.N. arms ban against Iran expires
Middle East & Africa

Pompeo threatens sanctions following U.N. arms ban against Iran expires

Iranian authorities have welcomed the lifting of a 13-year old UN arms ban on their military and called it a ‘groundbreaking day’, asserting they were happy to be free to purchase and sell weapons in order to establish their nation’s security. 

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed gratitude towards his country for the showing resistance and diplomatic efforts despite constant US pressure since the past four years, and this uncalled-for ban is lifted.” according to analysts, decade-long sanctions have badly impacted Iran’s economy.

On Sunday, the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cautioned nations that if any individual or nation will help Iran’s weapons program then we will slap sanctions on them. This stand would probably add more to the pressures between Washington and Tehran. 

Pompeo said in a statement, “For a decade, nations have shunned from selling weapons to Iran under various UN standards. Any nation that currently challenges this prohibition will be choosing to fuel strife and pressure over-improving harmony and security.” 

Under the U.N. arms ban, the trade of certain conventional arms to Iran was a violation under the U.N. Security Council.

The United Nations had restricted Iran from purchasing major foreign weapon systems in 2010 amid pressures over its atomic program. A previous ban focused on Iranian arms exports. 

The U.N. Security Council declined in August to support the U.S. effort to expand the arms ban on Iran. In response to the announcement of the recent lifting of the arms ban, last month Washington had unilaterally re-imposed U.N. sanctions on Tehran.

According to critics, the ban lift would be a huge risk to many nations as Russia and China are the two nations that are likely to help Tehran. 

The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency projected in 2019 that if the arms ban ended, Iran probably would attempt to buy Su-30 warrior planes, Yak-130 trainer airplane, T-90 tanks, and also S-400 anti-aircraft missile system from Russia, and China additionally could sell Iran’s arms, DIA added. 

The U.N. arms bans, nonetheless, didn’t prevent Iran from sending weapons assault rifles and ballistic missiles to Yemen’s Houthi rebels. However, Tehran continues to deny providing arms support to the Houthis, weapons experts, and international powers consistently linked Iranian weapons to the rebels, AP detailed. 

The US has straightforwardly dismissed the ban lift and said in a statement that the US is ready to utilize its domestic authorities to sanction any individual or nation that buys, sells, or help supply raw material to or from Iran. Including those who will help provide specialized training, financial aid, and other help related to weaponry. 

The US State Department cautioned all nations and organizations not to exchange arms with Iran or might have to face sanctions from the US Treasury Dept. 

The arrangements set in UN Resolution 2231 and the JCPOA would permit Tehran, starting Oct. 18, to purchase conventional weapons, Ballistic missiles, and related technology, from tanks to heavy artillery, and from fighter planes to cutting edge submarines. However, this could assist Iran to expand its controversial nuclear program while fueling more tensions in the West.

Lebanon: Saad Hariri’s chances of becoming the next PM are high
Middle East & Africa

Lebanon: Saad Hariri’s chances of becoming the next PM are high

Having resigned from the post of Prime Minister of Lebanon, almost a year back due to protests, Saad Hariri is presently in the race to head the nation once again. Lebanese President Michel Aoun has called for a meeting with parliamentary blocs on Oct 15, to name for a new PM and form a new government.

Monday’s meeting between President Aoun and Hariri was excellent. On Thursday, in an interview on MTV Hariri stated that he was a potential candidate for PM, including that he would be ready to strike a deal with IMF and implement policy reforms in the nation.

Beirut has witnessed a series of protests after the massive blast that impacted thousands of lives. Around 300,000 individuals lost shelter and are in dire strait situation amid loss of job. Such a disaster is humongous for an economy that is nearing a economic collapse. Indeed, even before this catastrophe, Lebanon was requesting for a USD 5 billion credit from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to face the progressing financial crisis in the nation. 

In comparison to 2019, the latest protest after the port blast reveals a total loss of confidence of the citizens in Lebanon’s political establishment. Last year’s protests were triggered due to additional taxes, corruption, and unemployment that later depleted the economic and political conditions even further. 

The administration’s failure to address these issues head-on and start policy reforms has expanded the misery of Lebanese people and their annoyance against the current regime. 

The Lebanese government drastically failed to bring any reform or find solutions to resolve issues confronting the nation. As per critics, one cannot deny the corruption and inefficiency of government that lead to the current state of misery.

Hassan Diab took over as the Lebanese PM on January this year, amid demonstrations that were seething three months after his forerunner Hariri resigned in October 2019. The main task of Diab was to address the concerns and demands raised by the dissenters. 

The coronavirus outbreak and the Beirut blast further worsened the economic situation of the nation. The current caretaker government run by Diab also failed to prevent Lebanon’s crumbling infrastructure.

Soon on August 12, Diab resigned due to a developing dissent by angry residents over the Beirut blast, unemployment, homelessness, fragile health care system, falling of currency rates and the corrupt regime politics.Currently, Diab is a caretaker PM until a new government is formed.

The final decision of the former Lebanese PM, Saad Hariri, to run for the post indeed relies upon the parliamentary bloc’s readiness to support him, a senior source in the Future Bloc stated. Asharq Al-Awsat reported. 

Hariri stated that he supports the initiative taken by the French President Emmanuel Macron, who urged political parties to accelerate actions and form a new government and put aside their disparities to spare the nation from financial breakdown. If Hariri is chosen, it would be his third term to serve as the Prime Minister of Lebanon.

China is pushing its territorial claims in the East and the South China Sea amid the pandemic, says Japan
Asia Pacific Focus

China is pushing its territorial claims in the East and the South China Sea amid the pandemic, says Japan

According to Reuters, Japan’s annual defense review blames China for East and the South China Sea territorial claims and spreading disinformation, propoganda, and confusion during the coronavirus episode.

The Diaoyu archipelago (also recognized as the Senkakus in Japanese) is an isolated chain of islands in the East China Sea claimed by Taiwan, Japan, and China.

Due to a long-standing dispute over the islands’ possession the relationships between China and Japan have soured. Lately, the growing presence of Chinese and Japanese vessels close by waters has raised worries about potential conflicts between the two nations.

In the South China Sea, Beijing was stating regional claims by setting up administrative districts around the controversial islands, which compelled nations to react amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to Japan’s defense review.

Japan announced in the defense white paper endorsed by the Japanese government on Tuesday that China is continuously trying to change the state of affairs in the East and the South China Sea. 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government also doubts Beijing of disinformation and spreading propaganda while it gives medical aid many nations to battle the spread of the virus. The white paper stated relentless meddling in waters around the archipelago declared by both the countries.

New Zealand’s MP Hamish Walker steps down after confessing he leaked Covid-19 cases details to media
Asia Pacific Focus

New Zealand’s MP Hamish Walker steps down after confessing he leaked Covid-19 cases details to media

Hamish Walker, from the center-right National Party, admitted that he leaked the confidential details of active Covid-19 cases of various nations’ to the media, and steps down from standing in September’s election. He also stated that he was the source of the private data about the 18 cases, which were given to few media houses recently.

On Wednesday, Walker apologized in a written statement that he did this to uncover the administration’s inadequacies, and was told that his actions were not unlawful. He truly regretted his actions and offered no further comment, The Guardian reported

According to The Guardian, Michelle Boag, a former leader of the National Party stated in an announcement uncovering that she had been the individual who was behind the list of details – in her powers as an acting CEO of an Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, she had passed the information to Walker. Boag resigned from her job and expressed she repents her actions and didn’t foresee that Hamish would decide to pass it on to media.” 

The New Zealand Government also announced an independent investigation into the leak earlier this week. Todd Muller, the new leader of the National Party, stated that he had urged Hamish to recognize this blunder to Michael Heron QC. Completely cooperate with the investigation into how the data made it to the media. Muller told the Radio New Zealand that he had also requested the Party to fire Walker for such a serious blunder. 

Bryce Edwards, a political analyst, stated that the National Party was presently defenseless against claims as it had a reputation of unethically leaking stuff to the media. 

The leaking of confidential Covid-19 active cases to the media was indeed an embarrassment and incredibly terrible news for Muller and his Party. Lately, the National Party had been making news about battling the Covid-19, but the sudden scandal news dampened the party’s attempt to contain the pandemic.

UN Chief praises South Korea for tracking down corona and restricting the spread
Asia Pacific Focus

UN Chief praises South Korea for tracking down corona and restricting the spread

On Thursday, South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated in an announcement that in the past 24 hours, only 4 imported cases took the nation’s aggregate to 10,765 positive cases, 247 deaths and 9,059 recovered. South Korea tracked the virus by using new technologies and showed that it is possible to contain the coronavirus without shutting down the economy.

The number of new coronavirus cases in the nation increased from a dozen to around ten thousand from February to March. South Korea increased tests and utilized new apps, which helped in tracking individuals’ who came in contact with coronavirus patients. They were able to monitor detailed information on infected individuals, providing immediate treatment, and even alerting people who came in close vicinity of the patient. South Korean citizens strictly adhered to physical distancing measures with the help of the app as it alerts ed them to maintain distance from infected people.

South Korea has been successful in flattening the curve of Covid-19 without performing on China’s restrictions and movement advice. South Korea neither attempted the economically damaging lockdowns measures, which was utilized by different countries. By quick action, rapid testing, treatment and contact tracing, and required cooperation from residents, Korea was able to reduce the Covid-19 cases.

South Korea, in contrary to the rest of the world, stayed open even amid Coronavirus pandemic. The United Nations chief stated he hopes other nations will also follow the “remarkable example” of South Korea. They have been incredibly successful in tracking the coronavirus pandemic and also planning to tackle the challenge of climate change while continuing to recover from COVID-19.

Washington-Taliban agreement rocked by new wave of violence
Americas, Asia Pacific Focus

Washington-Taliban agreement rocked by new wave of violence

Taliban militias have killed at least 23 Afghan soldiers and nine civilians on Monday, according to officials. At a time when Afghanistan is witnessing a new wave of violence despite the agreement concluded by the rebel movement with Washington in Doha and the crisis of the new Corona outbreak that is getting worse every day.

These attacks threaten the fragile security situation and the increasingly complex scene, even under negotiations led by Washington with the hard-line movement, in preparation for a comprehensive peace agreement ending the longest conflict in the history of the United States.

Under the terms of the agreement between the United States and the Taliban, it was assumed that the movement and the Afghan government had now ended the prisoner exchange process and began talks aimed at achieving a comprehensive ceasefire between the two parties in conflict.

However, many problems impeded the prisoner exchange process, as Kabul reported that the Taliban were demanding the release of very dangerous elements which was not a part of the previously signed agreement and which is politically unacceptable.

The movement attacked Sunday night in Takhar province, an army base for the army, killing 16 soldiers and two police officers, according to police spokesman Khalil Aser.

State spokesperson Muhammad Jawad Hajri confirmed the attack and accused the Taliban, noting that it had killed 19 people. In the south, the movement attacked a police checkpoint near Tarin Kowt, the capital of Uruzgan province.

“Five policemen were killed and three wounded,” the governor said, a toll confirmed by the head of the Uruzgan Regional Council, Amir Muhammad.

In Balkh province in the north of the country, the rebels killed nine civilians who resisted the militias’ attempt to blackmail them to get money, according to district governor Saeed Aref Iqbali.

The Taliban have not commented on the attacks, but the movement has complained that its militias have been targeted by government and US forces.

Violence is widespread, especially in rural areas and small towns. According to the agreement of understanding between Washington and the Taliban, it avoids carrying out any attacks in cities or against civilians.

The agreement also provides for the withdrawal of all foreign forces by July 2021, if the rebels adhere to various security guarantees and hold peace talks with the Afghan government and commit to the negotiations until reaching an agreement to end the war and violence in Afghanistan.

However, the fighting continues even with the spread of the new Corona virus across the country. 1,026 cases and 36 deaths have been recorded and it is feared that the actual numbers will be much greater in the poor sides of the country which does not have adequate testing equipment and an effective health system capable of facing the spread of the deadly virus.

Donald Trump to stop funding WHO, claiming mismanagement during the Covid-19
Americas

Donald Trump to stop funding WHO, claiming mismanagement during the Covid-19

On Tuesday, President of the United States, Donald Trump announced that he would stop funding the World Health Organization as it failed in its role to contain the spreading of the coronavirus. He held the WHO accountable for their role in mismanaging and covering up of the covid-19 pandemic, in the White House press briefing.

Hours after the President’s announcement Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State, also said on Tuesday night that the WHO is supposed to perform its duty by making sure that the world has right, appropriate, fair, valid information on what’s happening on in the global health space, Fox News reported.

President Trump himself has been under criticism for acting slowly in restricting the travel bans from China, also downplaying the crisis, ignoring warnings by his own administration about the severity of the disease. As per critics, Trump has put the blame elsewhere, including WHO and the media, CNN reported.

The United States has been funding the WHO yearly for $400 million to $500 million, whereas China contributes around $40 million or less. Adding, had the WHO acted adequately, he could have announced the travel ban on China much earlier, Trump stated in the press briefing.

But just days before Trump announced the travel restrictions from China, he also praised the country on 24 January in his tweet, (quoting Tweet from President Trump’s official Twitter handle) “China has been working very hard to contain the coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!” BBC reported.

Later, Trump went on to criticize the WHO for being bias towards China and especially noting Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus’s praise of China’s ways to contain the coronavirus despite its global widespread.

Article Credit: BBC News/CNN/The Hill

UAE sends aid aircraft to Ethiopia to help combat the global pandemic
Middle East & Africa

UAE sends aid aircraft to Ethiopia to help combat the global pandemic

The United Arab Emirates sent an aid plane to Ethiopia to help flatten the curve of the global coronavirus pandemic. Despite the attacks by the Farmoja Government. The UAE continues to cooperate with all countries amid the global crisis.

The UAE aid plane carried 30,000 healthcare workers, along with 33 metric tonnes of medical aid for assistance. The WHO, too, provided 27 tonnes of relief to Ethiopia. Lately, the UAE government also delivered 15 metric tonnes of aid to Ethiopia and metric tonnes to the African Union.

Ethiopia has recorded 74 coronavirus positive cases, three deaths, and 14 cured patients. Ethiopian Government announced five months state of emergency to fight the pandemic.

As per the State Minister of Health for Federal of Ethiopia, Lia Tadesse said, “the nation is preparing to boost its ventilators reserve.”

The WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, and other senior officials praised UAE for its efforts in supporting countries in need during the fight towards containing the global coronavirus pandemic.

The UAE Envoy to Ethiopia also praised UAE’s commitment towards humanity that upholds emergency relief in countries in need. He added we are proud of the partnership with the WHO in facilitating the delivery of critical aid to Ethiopia. Notably, for assisting in the fight toward the Covid-19 pandemic.

Usain Bolt’s ‘social distancing’ photo of 2008 Olympics goes viral on social media
Middle East & Africa

Usain Bolt’s ‘social distancing’ photo of 2008 Olympics goes viral on social media

The greatest sprinters of all times, Usain Bolt’s post of 2008, Olympics 100m final went viral over the social media, with 90,000 retweets and half a million likes.

In the photo, In 2008, at the Bird’s Nest stadium, Usain is seen crossing the finish line making a historic Olympic world record of 9.69sec. He was lane four ahead of his disappointed competitors trailing two paces behind. The AFP photographer Nicolas Asfouri took this photograph in the 2008 Olympics.

The 33-year-old, 11 times world champion, has been sharing photographs and videos of him exercising at home on social media and encouraging Jamaicans to self-quarantine during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Jamaican sprinter won 8 gold medals. He became the first man after the American sprinter Carl Lewis to make a world record of 9.58 seconds in 100-metre, 19.19 seconds in 200-metre, and 9.58sec in 100m races. The historical record of three straight wins at the Olympic Games is still unmatched.

His golden shoes and “lightning bolt” pose became popular among fans all around the world. He took retirement from athletics after the 2017 world championships.

Article Credit: The Deccan Chronicles/Olympic.org/Encyclopaedia

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